Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

What Curve Card’s email yesterday about ATM cash machine usage means

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

(EDIT:  Curve has changed a lot since this article was published.  Please do not rely on the information here.  Instead, please click here to read our detailed 2020 Curve review, which includes a promo code for a free £5 credit when you sign up.)

If you have a Curve Card, you will have received an email from them yesterday which you may have found a little confusing.

There is a big Curve announcement coming this week which I will cover on Thursday morning.  If you don’t know about Curve, I will run a full explanation in that article.  You can also learn more in this HFP article.

I spoke with Curve’s CEO yesterday to get an understanding of what is going on.

Curve card ATM changes

As many Curve cardholders have discovered, Curve has a decline rate which is higher than standard credit cards

A key reason for this is that all Curve transactions carry the same merchant reference code.  Standard credit card transactions are coded based on the type of retailer or, for big companies, the exact retailer name.  Unfortunately, when your underlying credit card issuer sees transaction after transaction coming through marked as ‘general’, it can trigger fraud concerns.

In order to improve acceptance, Curve transactions will now carry a merchant reference code which reflects the underlying transaction.  Your underlying credit card company will now see a mix of retailer types coming through instead of just ‘general’, ‘general’, ‘general’ etc.

Another upside here is that it will trigger sector-based and, for large retailers with their own merchant code, company-based promotions.  For example, the HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard – until the end of the month – offers a £20 Uber credit for a £500 airline transaction.  A bonus like this should now trigger if you paid with Curve as it would now carry an airline merchant code.

However …..

As part of this recoding, ATM withdrawals made using Curve will now be identifiable as cash transactions by your card issuer.

It is important to note that, short term, my understanding is that there should NOT be charges for making ATM withdrawals with Curve.  However, over time, it is possible that individual credit card companies will make changes to treat these transactions as cash withdrawals.

ATM withdrawals made using Curve when it is linked to a debit card will continue to be free regardless.

We have seen the same thing happen with Revolut.  Some credit card companies have changed their terms and conditions recently to treat Revolut transactions as pseudo-cash, and so incurring cash withdrawal fees.  Other credit card companies have not, so you can load your Revolt card from those credit cards and have it treated as a purchase, earning miles and points.  Our main article on Revolut including a HfP special offer for applying is here.

Conclusion

For now, you should be able to continue making £200 per month of ATM withdrawals with Curve Card and have them treated as a purchase, earning miles and points on the underlying card.  Keep an eye on your emails and card statements, however, as you may receive notice from your underlying issuer that this will change.

You can find out more about Curve in this article.  The company is still paying you £5 for trying it out if you use my referral code (see this article) and the card itself is free.


Want to earn more points from credit cards? – June 2021 update

If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are our June 2021 recommendations based on the current sign-up bonus

You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here. Here are the other top current deals:

British Airways American Express card

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and a companion voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

BA Premium Plus American Express card BAPP

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable credit card perk – the 2-4-1 companion voucher Read our full review

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Virgin Rewards Plus credit card

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

15,000 points bonus and the most generous non-Amex for day to day spending Read our full review

Earning miles and points from small business cards

If you are a sole trader or run a small company, you may also want to check out these offers.

Amex American Express Business Gold card

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

Amex Platinum Business American Express

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

Earn both Avios and BA On Business points with your business spending Read our full review

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard for a limited company Read our full review

Comments (273)

  • Mark2 says:

    I am amazed that people are getting so excited about cash advances.
    I thought cash was going out; I am 71 and very rarely use cash!

    • swhostring says:

      It’s the Tesco points. MS. Etc.

      No real need here for cash these days, £15/ week for my daughter for her taxis & that’s about it.

  • Tel says:

    How do you recycle pts out of Revolut?

  • tm84 says:

    Curve is going to be pretty redundant to me now since MBNA’s Horizon has come on the scene. It is cheaper to use that card than Curve abroad and now that you have to carry another card for cash withdrawals it’s probably not worth the hassle.

  • Sammy says:

    Love the curve card… use my promo code to get £5 extra .
    My promo code is : C4JHS ,
    Thanks in advance for using my code

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.