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American Express suspends its relationship with Curve Card, just 36 hours after launch

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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.


Want to earn more points from credit cards? – November 2020 update

If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are my November 2020 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.

British Airways American Express card

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up, no annual 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:

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

Disclaimer: Head for Points is a journalistic website. Nothing here should be construed as financial advice, and it is your own responsibility to ensure that any product is right for your circumstances. Recommendations are based primarily on the ability to earn miles and points and do not consider interest rates, service levels or any impact on your credit history.  By recommending credit cards on this site, I am – technically – acting as a credit broker.  Robert Burgess, trading as Head for Points, is regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as a credit broker.

Comments (793)

  • guesswho2000 says:

    I couldn’t quite believe this when I got the email earlier. I assume everyone’s gone nuts loading their cards, expecting to be able to use the loaded cash on Curve as they have previously, and complained to Amex when it didn’t work.

    Either that or the millions of MR points Amex had to issue in five minutes displeased them!

    • Alan says:

      Although they’ve received their fee for issuing those MR point (on spend that wouldn’t otherwise have gone to them) so I don’t see what the issue would have been?

      • John says:

        Not happy about people who might otherwise choose to pay their 3% forex fee?

        An lawyer-accountant acquaintance of mine who is privy to some HMRC “secrets”, suggested that Amex may be thinking of launching its own Curve-like product

        • Alan says:

          Yep I think the forex side may have some legs – interesting re that other titbit though!

  • Polly says:

    Lots of comments onPart 1 article…

    Rude awakening Rob…v annoying for you, as lots of hard work went into this Beta trial…

  • Ruth4325 says:

    Funny that …I tried to set up my BA Amex as my initial card in curve metal yesterday and kept getting an error. Now I know why,,,

  • Kiran says:

    Could this be the end of curve? After all, I guess their big push to be profitable was the subscription fees and who would subscribe now with no AmEx benefit. I can’t see many takers purely on the grounds of increased foreign atm withdrawals or the weak insurance offer.

  • Chris says:

    I guess there no change at Billhop if you’re paying a business account?

  • Frenzir says:

    Hello Rob,

    How is our money in the amex wallet protected again?
    Do I need to rush and spend it?

  • Bob says:

    Ah!

    Are the fintech going to last for ages?

  • Roger says:

    I have my limit already exhausted, have applied for Metal, haven’t received the card yet.
    I have paid annual £150 / year already.
    Can I ask for the refund?