What Curve’s email yesterday actually means

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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.

Curve card changes

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.)


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 miles and points from credit cards?  Click here to visit our dedicated airline and hotel travel credit cards page or use the ‘Credit Cards Update’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

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  1. After these many posts, still no conclusion of Amex inclusion in Curve in near future?

  2. In practice it seems to be possible currently to withdraw more than £200 using Curve from cash machines without actually being charged for doing so. Or at least so far I have withdrawn £300 or £400 in a month in usually two withdrawals and not seen any fee added to the transactions above the cash withdrawal value.

    I only need a maximum of about £370 per month in cash (and in some months less than this) so hence why I may perhaps come within their grey area between someone withdrawing more than £200 per month and someone clearly exceeding the permitted Fair Use level who deserves to be charged.

    Still if cash withdrawals go too then I won’t see much point left in Curve given that I already have an exchange rate levy fee free visa and mastercard credit card (the former is only fee free in the EU) and an exchange rate fee free mastercard debit card that works at cash machines within the EU.

    Of course I’m not one of those complicated souls who tries to use Curve to manually pay one credit card bill with another credit card, which in any case I feel sure contravenes the spirit if not the letter of Curve’s Ts&Cs regarding cash recycling.

  3. Lots of talk about a £200 per month ATM limit. My Curve app clearly shows a:
    £1,000 Daily limit
    £20,000 Last 30 day window limit
    £40,000 Last 365 day window limit

    I have exceeded £200 per month on several occasions without any charges.

    • Brian the fair use policy states

      ATM credit card withdrawal fair use
      You can use your Curve card to withdraw up to £200 (or currency equivalent) per calendar month, using your credit cards. After this Curve may charge you 2% for such withdrawals. This limit does not apply to ATM debit card withdrawals.

  4. I withdrew cash on Monday before being notified about these charges. My MBNA online account shows that these have been categorised as follows:

    I’ve also had my 0% introductory rate on purchases applied.

  5. 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.

  6. How do you recycle pts out of Revolut?

  7. 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.

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

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