Curve introduces 0% foreign exchange fees – and more change to come

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(EDIT:  Curve has changed since this article was published.  Please do not rely on the information here.  Instead, please click here to read our detailed 2019 Curve review, which includes a promo code for a free £5 credit when you sign up.)

Curve Card has announced a new benefit for cardholders today – 0% foreign exchange fees.

(There is another major announcement to come in around 8 weeks, but you will have to wait for that one.)

Curve has always been a good deal for making payments abroad.  Historically it levied a 1% fee on foreign transactions, which it recharged to any linked Visa or Mastercard.  If you didn’t have a separate 0% FX fees credit card then using Curve was better than paying 3% to your standard credit card provider.  Even if you did have a 0% FX fees credit card, it was often more valuable to pay Curve’s 1% fee and pick up miles or points from your linked credit card.

From today, Curve will drop its foreign exchange fee to 0%, albeit with a small weekend surcharge.  It is important to note that it is using the interbank rate and NOT the official Visa / Mastercard rates – which are a tiny bit away from the spot rate – so there is absolutely no FX loss at all.

This means:

If you currently have a 0% FX fees credit card which comes with no rewards, you should definitely consider switching to Curve

If you currently have a 0% FX fees credit card with 0.5% cashback (Aqua or Tandem), you should consider switching to Curve if you have a Visa or Mastercard credit card with more valuable rewards

If you currently have the 0% FX fees Lloyds Avios Rewards Mastercard, you should consider switching to Curve when your Lloyds Avios Rewards card is closed (the replacement you will get charges a 3% FX fee)

Curve introduces 0% foreign exchange fees

The only snag is that Curve is imposing limits if you have the free card:

If you have the free Curve Blue card:

You can spend £500 per month in foreign currency at 0% FX, after which a 2% fee applies

You can withdraw £200 per month from an ATM in foreign currency at 0% FX, after which a charge of 2% or £2, whichever is higher, applies

Like Revolut, there is a weekend surcharge of 0.5% for £, $ and € (1.5% for other currencies) to reflect the currency risk taken by guaranteeing the closing Friday rate

If you have the £50 one-off fee Curve Black card:

You can spend an unlimited amount (subject to a potential fair use charge of 2% beyond £15,000 per year) in foreign currency at 0% FX

You can withdraw £400 per month from an ATM in foreign currency at 0% FX, after which a charge of 2% or £2, whichever is higher, applies

Like Revolut, there is a weekend surcharge of 0.5% for £, $ and € (1.5% for other currencies) to reflect the currency risk taken by guaranteeing the closing Friday rate

Curve Card 0% foreign exchange fees

If you are abroad a lot, the £50 Curve Black card now looks attractive.

Let’s imagine that you have £10,000 of annual foreign spending.  You would be paying £300 in fees on a standard credit card.  You could use a 0% card with 0.5% cashback like Tandem and receive £50 back.  Alternatively, you could a premium Mastercard or Visa – at the top end, the Virgin Atlantic Reward+ card – and pay 0% in FX fees and earn 15,000 Virgin Atlantic miles.

This new Curve benefit is also a good way of helping to trigger a long term spending bonus, such as the free night on the IHG Rewards Club Premium Mastercard (requires £10,000 of spending) or the 2-4-1 vouchers on the new Virgin Atlantic credit cards (require £10,000 – £20,000 of spending).

If you were thinking of upgrading to Curve Black, I recommend doing it sooner rather than later.  This card will see a substantial change to its benefits package and fee in a few weeks, but by upgrading now you will be locking in the £50 fee for 6 months.

Curve Card 0% FX fees

What is Curve?

If you’re not familiar with Curve, this is how it works.  Curve is a Mastercard DEBIT card that recharges every purchase you make to a linked Visa or Mastercard credit or debit card.

This is why Curve Card is worth having:

You make your debit card purchase – including tax payments – using Curve Card

Curve recharges it to your linked Visa or Mastercard credit card

It goes through your linked Visa or Mastercard credit card as a purchase

It therefore earns points from your linked Visa or Mastercard

You have just earned credit card points from making a debit card transaction

And the best bit is that Curve Card is free.  In fact, it is better than free – Curve Card will pay you £5 for taking it out.

It actually gets even better, due to two additional Curve Card benefits:

You can withdraw £200 of cash per month from an ATM and have it charged to your credit card as a purchase – this means it earns miles and points.  This benefit may go away soon as credit card companies can now see what you are doing following a change in how these transactions are processed, but for now it is business as usual.

Foreign currency transactions made on Curve are recharged to your linked Visa or Mastercard in Sterling with a 0% foreign exchange adjustment as we discussed above.  This makes it a better deal than using the underlying card which is likely to have a 3% FX fee.  There ARE FX fees for transactions at weekends and if you go over £500 per month.

One thing you CANNOT do with Curve is pay a financial services institution.  As with Billhop, HMRC is NOT treated as a financial services institution so you are fine.

Curve Card has an annual payment limit of £50,000.  This is fine for most people.  You won’t get this ‘out of the box’ however – you need to use the card for a few months until your limits build up as the company begins to trust you.

The Curve Card is FREE so there is no harm in trying it out.  If you use a refer-a-friend code when you sign up – my code is OQB4J – you will receive £5 off your first transaction with the card.  You must use a referral code to get the £5 credit.

The Curve website is here if you want to know more.  You need to download the Curve app for your phone and order a card from there if you want to try it out.

Conclusion

Depending on whether £500 per month covers your foreign currency spending or not, this new development is either a major benefit or just a small tweak to the Curve package.

If you are a heavy foreign spender who would benefit from the £15,000 per year of 0% FX spending – and you have a suitably rich Mastercard or Visa rewards card to recharge your spending to – then you may want to upgrade to Curve Black for £50.

As I said earlier, there are other fundamental improvements to Curve coming in a few weeks which will be of strong interest to Head for Points readers, so it is definitely a product to keep on your radar if you do not have one already.

(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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Comments

  1. BlueHorizonuk says:

    If a card provider charges a handling fee would this show up immediately or at month end?

  2. I am right in reading between the lines, that a higher annual curve limit card will be issued? Will this be unlimited? Will daily monthly limits be increased? I am desperately wanting a high limit curve card. It is a great card but sadly the limit is just not enough for my spending. Just wondering, as I have hit my limit, if I cancel and reapply, I assume my curve limits will be reset?

  3. Will anything they do bring Amex back to Curve ?

  4. Folks slightly OT but just signed up for curve and planning to pay my personal tax bill linking it to my VA CC but looking to see how I’d go about paying my VAT and Corporation tax in my limited company this way too. Can you pay these in your personal accounts or is it better to take out a Credit card in the limited companies name and pay in that way? Looking for the most tax efficient way. Cheers

    • You won’t get a rewards credit card in your company name.

      • Ah I see. Thanks for the reply. Is there a way to do this through my personal account then?

        • Just pay it via Curve and your personal card.

          As long as you don’t have an outstanding balance to yourself on your company year end date, which would probably require some kind of directors loan statement being made in the accounts, your accountant is unlikely to care.

  5. The unique thing from curve was you could withdraw cash from a low apr credit card and have until tje statement date to pay it off. Very useful feature. But i’ve seen this on their website
    “Please note that we pass through merchant category code (MCC) information to your card issuer, so they can also see whether or not you have withdrawn cash. Please be aware of cash withdrawal or cash advance fees applicable to your payment card. We recommend checking your card issuer’s terms and conditions for whether any fees apply.”

    So whats the point of this card? I will be charged interest immediately and pay hefty interest a very useful feature that looks like its gone! If i’m in the UK i cam just use the card directly so no need for
    this. I gather that means foreign credit card withdrawals have gone too. Its all very well offering free fx but soneone has to pay for it somewhere.

    Also does the black card have an annual fee? I thought it was a one off fee. Worth getting in before it changes as unlimited fx and gigher cash withdrawal limit? What was a simpke 1% has now tuned in to a plethora of fees and weekend markups.

    The biggest loss if true and a dealbreaker will be if you can’t withdraw cash on a credit card and charge it as a transaction. Can anyone cnfirm f its changed? This website is as clear as mud.

    • the black curve doesn’t have unlimited fx. it’s capped at 15k, after which a fee of 1% or 2% applies…

    • I personally wouldn’t use it for cash withdraw any more just in case it goes through as cash advance.

    • Read our articles from last week.

      • What article? If the credit card thing is lost then I don’t see the point in this.
        “But by upgrading now you lock in the fee of £50” isn’t the black card meant to be a one off £50 fee. You state that at the top and then contradict yourself by saying its for six months. Also if you got black now could you potentially be avoiding an annual fee as an original black member? Can you confirm MBNA and HSBC is classed as a transaction when you withdraw from an atm. I want to like this card bt its all over the shop at the mo

        Many thanks

        • The impression I got is that your one-off £50 fee will turn out not to be one-off.

          HSBC seems ok so far. Can’t tell with MBNA as Horizon is free anyway for cash withdrawals.

  6. “You can withdraw £200 per month from an ATM in foreign currency at 0% FX, after which a charge of 2% or £2, whichever is higher, applies”

    Does this mean if I withdraw say £500 in currency equivalent that i pay a £2 charge or does it mean I pay a 2% fee with a minimum amount of £2 which would mean a £10 charge but minus the free allowance of £4 making it £6? It seems a funny way of wording it but I gather it means 2% fee with a minimum charge of £2. At first I thought it was 2% or £2 whatever is the greater charge. Any news on the MBNA cash on a credit card yet?

    • You pay £2 or 2% per withdrawal once you’ve gone above £200. I imagine that if you did a £500 withdrawal having done nothing else in the month you would pay £6.

      What seems to be happening, by the way, is that pseudo-cash transactions are being caught by the daily cash withdrawal limit on your credit card, usually £250. This happens even if they are not being charged as cash. People who are saying they cannot use Curve to pay x or y should try £200 – which will be inside every credit cards daily cash withdrawal limit – and see what happens.

  7. I have £100k annually on fx which I currently use Lloyds Amex for.

    Will Curve offer an alternative when Lloyd’s stops?

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