BREAKING: Amex suspends its relationship with Curve Card, just 36 hours after functionality launched

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(EDIT:  Curve has now published a lengthy blog post explaining how the split with American Express occurred.  I copied it into a separate article here.)

Here’s something I didn’t see coming.  After launching with much fanfare on Monday, American Express suspended its relationship with Curve Card on Tuesday night.

This came just 36 hours after Amex functionality was launched to the public.  Amex cards had, however, been activated for a test group of Curve Card users for a few months before this.

If you look on the Curve website, none of the cards are showing the option to link to American Express.  This means that the company is effectively back to the position it was in before Monday.

American Express sent me a statement last night which said:

American Express participated in a limited Curve beta test where we enabled a small number of Card Members to load funds onto an e-wallet using their Amex Card in the Curve app. Following this beta test we informed Curve that we would not participate in the further roll out of the Curve e-wallet.”

I spoke with Curve’s CEO early this morning and, whilst for legal reasons I don’t want to repeat what he said, he confirmed the position with American Express.

Curve has sent the following to users:

“We are extremely sorry that the top-up functionality for your Amex wallet is currently disabled.

Like thousands of other UK merchants, Curve has a valid merchant agreement to accept Amex payments into its e-wallet. However, on Tuesday evening, Amex decided to terminate this agreement and block all Amex transactions to Curve with immediate effect.

Amex has given no good or fair reason for their decision and we feel it is entirely disproportionate and discriminatory to Curve and all our (joint) customers. UK payment regulations clearly state that Curve should be allowed to access the Amex payment network on a level-playing field with every other fee-paying and legitimate merchant.

Rest assured that you can still spend the funds that you have already topped up to your existing Amex Wallets. If you have contacted us for support, we apologise for the delay in response and will endeavour to do so as soon as possible. We will update you as soon as we have any further information.

With our customers interests in mind, and our mission to deliver to you a truly innovative product, Curve intends to fight Amex’s decision with its full might. We believe financial freedom is the future and we are prepared to fight for yours.”

If there is any more news during the day I will drop it into this article.

TechCrunch has decent take on the subject here if you want to read more.  It is worth noting that the Amex statement given to TechCrunch – 18 hours after my statement – is a bit different:

“We participated in a limited Curve beta test in which we explored enabling Card Members to load funds onto an e-wallet using their Amex Card in the Curve app. A very small number of Amex Card Members participated in the test. Based on the results, we communicated to Curve that we would not participate in the further roll out of Curve because of concerns related to the overall American Express Card Member experience. Subsequently we terminated our contract with them.”

PS.  In a separate (or perhaps not entirely separate) note, payment company Billhop – we covered Billhop here – sent the following email to users yesterday:

“Due to guidelines from American Express you will no longer be able to make payments to private accounts with an American Express card regardless if the purpose of the payment is related to a business transaction. This change will come into effect on the 7th of February 2019.

You will still be able to use a MasterCard and/or VISA card for transactions to private accounts relating to business transactions including, but not limited to, payroll, housekeeping, rent, nanny services, etc.

Please note that peer-to-peer remittance is still not allowed regardless of card.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you.”

Note that this only covers payments to sole traders.  You can continue to use Amex via Billhop to pay a company, local authority, HMRC etc.

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Comments

  1. Anyone else have curve payments from 28/29th still showing as pending on Amex. All my other transactions from these days have cleared

    • Graham Walsh says:

      I can’t see any history of transactions as my wallet is zero so it wants me to top up.

    • Yes, my Curve top-up of £100 on 29/01 is still showing as pending in my AMEX account. All other transactions from that day have cleared.

      The £100 top-up has also been used through Curve and my AMEX wallet balance in Curve in only 30p.

    • Yes, I’m just on the phone to Amex as I have had £100 pending since Monday and am £90 away from a gold sign up bonus!

      • CS saying it’s waiting for Curve to take the money, they can’t understand why it’s not gone through. I pointed out that the money left the Curve wallet on Tuesday and has been with the two recipients since then; she was unable to explain it and said she would monitor it for a couple of days then send it to the back office if it hasn’t cleared. Looks as though there may be quite a few payments in limbo then if there’s been a total breakdown between Curve and Amex. Only an issue I guess if you’re waiting to trigger a bonus or voucher!

        • same problem here, limbo since monday on a £300 top up, need to trigger the bonus quick. Guess I will book a refundable hotel just in case.

        • I have also spent the money with curve and the recipients including hmrc are showing as paid. Am I correct to assume that as they have been paid, this is a matter that curve and Amex must sort out? In other words curve can’t try to get money back from the recipient

  2. Richard Branson says:

    You don’t need an amex card – get the virgin credit card, fantastic rewards and on the best airline going …none of this curve/amex kerfuffle required

  3. Amex pending curve payment totally disappeared…no longer pending or charged…anyone else?

    • Same here! I suspect Curve will need to pay all these from their own pocket – could be millions of £££ in losses for them

    • Yes, £100 pending seems to have disappeared into the ether. Clearly I now owe this money to Curve but there doesn’t seem a way to send it to them on the app so will have to wait and see what their reaction is.

  4. Chris Baker says:

    I am still waiting for my £150 to for the useless metal card to be refunded. Has anyone got a refund yet?

    • Nope…they been ignoring me for a week now, considering how cheeky they are, they are probably waiting for the 14days cooling off period to end and then be like, ohh too late now. I am livid!

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