If you have any self-assessment income tax to pay by 31st January, or any VAT to pay in early February, don’t forget that the last day to make HMRC payments for free with a Curve Card is 23rd January.
Unless you have Curve Metal, a 1.5% fee will apply to all HMRC payments made from 24th January if your Curve Card is linked to a credit card
(If you applied for Curve Card after 26th November, you are already paying for Curve Card payments to HMRC. This article is only for legacy cardholders who applied by 26th November.)
Details of this change can be found on the Curve website here.
If you have tax to pay, I strongly recommend that you pay as much as you can via Curve Card over the next four days. You are, of course, restricted by your daily and weekly payment limits which can be found in the app.
(If you don’t know anything about Curve Card, you may want to read my introduction here before continuing.)
From 24th January, is it worth paying 1.5% to use Curve with HMRC?
It is pointless (sic) paying a 1.5% fee to pay HMRC via Curve Card. There are very few scenarios where the underlying miles and points earned will be worth that.
The only exception may be if you have a Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard, earning 1.5 miles per £1.
Your miles would be costing you 1p each. This is not a great deal but some people may find it acceptable. I don’t.
Should you upgrade to Curve Metal?
Curve Metal customers will not pay a fee from 24th January. This is intriguing. Curve Metal costs £14.95 per month or £150 per year. If you have substantial tax bills, the upgrade may be attractive.
Let’s run some numbers …..
GREAT DEAL – Pay £50k of tax per year on a Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa card (1 Avios per £1) = 50,000 Avios for £150 Curve Metal fee
GREAT DEAL – Pay £40k of tax per year on a Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard (1.5 miles per £1) = 60,000 Virgin Flying Club miles for £150 Curve Metal fee
AVERAGE DEAL – Pay £30k of tax per year on an IHG Rewards Club Premium Mastercard (2 points per £1) = 60,000 status-qualifying IHG Rewards Club points (valued by me at £240) for £150 Curve Metal fee
BAD DEAL – Pay £20k of tax per year on a HSBC Premier Mastercard (0.5 Avios or other miles per £1) = 10,000 Avios for £150 Curve Metal fee
Whether this works for you is a factor of BOTH how much tax you pay per year AND how generous your best Visa or Mastercard rewards card is.
The bottom line is that:
if you pay enough to HMRC each year, and
you have a large enough Curve limit (most people have £50,000 per rolling 365 day period), and
you have a generous-enough points-earning Visa or Mastercard credit card linked to Curve
…. then Curve Card via Curve Metal may still be an attractive way to pay the Inland Revenue from 24th January.
Don’t forget that Curve Metal has other benefits too
On top of the ability to pay unlimited sums to HMRC – subject to your Curve Card limits, which for most people are £50,000 of charges per year – your £150 annual Curve Metal fee comes with other benefits:
This page of the Curve website compares the three different types of Curve Card. With regards to Curve Metal:
Card: You get a funky 18g brushed metal card in red, blue or rose gold. I have the blue one and it is a bit boring to be honest so I’d recommend one of the others!
Foreign exchange fees: Unlimited transactions with no fee (0.5% fee $ or € and 1.5% fee for other currencies applies to transactions made on a Saturday or Sunday)
ATM withdrawals: Overseas: £600 per 30-day period for free, 2% thereafter / UK: £200 per 30-day period fair use cap
These are the key benefits. There are other benefits which I do not value highly but which some readers may find useful:
Travel insurance underwritten by AXA (this looks OK – you can see the policy document here as a PDF – and with an age limit of 70, although the rules are stricter than many policies in terms of, for example, sports you may not play on holiday)
Gadget insurance (maximum value £800 with a £50 excess)
Car rental CDW waiver coverage (I have this via Amex Platinum but if you do hire cars and don’t have a standalone policy this will be worth something to you – the car must be worth under £25,000 however)
Airport lounge access via LoungeKey (this is NOT free access, you will need to pay a fee of £20 per visit)
1% cashback from six premium retailers. This is on top of the rewards you will earn from your underlying card.
You won’t necessarily get £150 of annual benefit from this package, but you will get something. And, of course, you will be retaining the ability to make substantial payments to HMRC via Curve Card.
Final thoughts …..
If you have any tax due over the next few weeks, pay as much as you can via Curve Card by Thursday night.
From Friday, those of you with (say) £30,000+ of HMRC charges per year across VAT, PAYE, income tax etc should think about upgrading to Curve Metal, as long as you have a generous Visa or Mastercard credit card linked.
The losers are likely to be those with under £10,000 or so of HMRC payments. If this is you, it won’t be worth paying £150 per year for Curve Metal just to make these payments for free and it won’t be worth paying a 1.5% fee to use Curve Blue or Curve Black.
If you have read this article without knowing anything at all about Curve Card, read my introductory article here. As it explains, Curve Card is free at the basic level and Curve will actually pay you £5 for trying it out if you use my refer-a-friend code.
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.
British Airways American Express
5,000 Avios for signing up, no annual and a companion voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review
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
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
The Platinum Card from American Express
30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review
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
20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review
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
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.