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Time running out to pay your HMRC Inland Revenue tax bill with your Curve Card

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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.)

Curve introducing fee for HMRC payments

From 24th January, is it worth paying 1.5% to use Curve with HMRC?

No.

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?

Good question.

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.

PS …

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 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.)

Comments (159)

  • Tom says:

    Can you pay more to HMRC than you owe?

    Probably not, but would be one way of getting extra benefit.

    • Kenneth says:

      I just have.

      • Shoestring says:

        yes you can, with refund NOT sent back to the original card

        same trick on council tax and some gas/ elec cos etc

        • Genghis says:

          Not to be pushed too hard though with utility co’s. I’ve had a few tellings off so don’t do it now.

          • Shoestring says:

            agreed, I would keep it in reserve to hit a spend target if the deadline is looming, not use it just for MS

          • John says:

            Was that because you requested refunds from CC payments? I try to set my direct debit to £1 so I can get a DD tariff but still pay by CC.

          • Genghis says:

            Refund from overpaying with PayPoint. It’s easy to lose track of things…

        • DaveP says:

          Does HMRC send any refund due to an individual’s bank account where an overpayment is made?

          • Michael says:

            You can input details on your tax return of the bank account you wish the refund to be sent to. That said I had a small refund last year that they sent back to Curve. Curve then asked which of the multiole cards I had paid with I wanted credited.

      • MissLondon says:

        I paid both my Jan 2020 and July 2020 instalment payments on Curve in Dec 2019. Guess what. HMRC automatically refunded the July payment back to me. I called them to ask why and they said they always do this to avoid paying interest on early payments.
        Annoyingly, Curve processed the refund but didn’t adjust my monthly spending amount, so I lost out being about to use that spending elsewhere.

        • Rob says:

          They have done this to me before so now I don’t start paying before 1st January. Heaven knows why (unless it is the interest issue) because as I get virtually no interest I am happy for them to keep it as a deposit on the next lot. Stops me spending it ….

    • Rob says:

      Very easily. VAT always goes back via BACS in my experience.

      • Daniel says:

        Corp Tax does also, but you need to ensure your BACS details are on file otherwise you’ll end up with several cheques (depending on how many transactions/overpayments you make).

  • EwanG says:

    This article is not strictly correct.

    “..the last day to make HMRC payments for free with a Curve Card ***and a Credit Card as the underlying card*** is 23rd January.”

    Another Curve Support article on this matter states “When you use a debit card as your underlying payment card with Curve, no fees will be charged”

    I do sometimes use Curve with a business debit card as the underlying card, that way I can easily remember whether I have paid PAYE for that month. Yes I’m ‘wasting’ some of my Curve limits this way, but I’m only doing it for small amounts. For larger sums, I always link it to an underlying credit card.

  • Pking says:

    Maxed out my 20k monthly curve limit paying tax. Now just have to get round to actually filling the return!

    • JP-MCO says:

      Just get them to up it. I’ve contacted them so many times to have it adjusted that they‘ve now just increased it to 50k monthly and 500k annually. I’ll probably have to contact them again in 3 months or so but for now it’s working well. I charge mine to a Virgin Atlantic Reward+ card so to get round the points cap I’ve just got them to increase my credit limit to match Curve. They needed some evidence from me of earnings but that was fairly easy to provide. Having Curve Metal has been quite a gamechanger for me. If they ever get AMEX back onboard it will be amazing!

      • Alan says:

        What sort of transactions are you pushing through? They seem to be a bit picky on upping limits above 50k for many.

        • JP-MCO says:

          Personal tax of around £200k, hotels, air travel and general day to day purchases. We spend 2-3 months of the year abroad so being able to earn points and not pay a 3% transaction fee is great. I charge between two credit cards: Virgin Atlantic Rewards+ and HSBC Premier World Elite. They’ve never been difficult about upping my Curve limits – such just dropped them a quick email and they’ve sorted it same day or next at the latest.

  • AlexT says:

    OT but seemed more appropriate here than in the bits thread:

    I loaded cash into my Revolut account on 2 occasions last week on 2 consecutive days using my Virgin MC. The first transaction settled on Friday, the second did today. I wasn’t charged anything for the first, as usual. The latter incurred a 5% cash advance fee just this morning. Just an anecdotal warning that Revolut does indeed seem to be reconfiguring its merchant code.

    • Alan says:

      Oh interesting (and disappointing) – seems to make it a bit of a lottery whether charged or not! Any difference between the two topups? I’ve not been charged so far. Revolut accepted by HMRC BTW so this is another route so you’re still on topic 😉

      • AlexT says:

        No difference whatsoever. Both transactions done via the app, but one was coded as “Wire Transfer / Money Orders) and hence a cash advance.

    • Tom says:

      Same got stung with this today after a top up cleared over the weekend. Big top up as well.

    • jc says:

      Have you asked Revolut why (and/or demanded they rectify it?) They have promised their customers, via an article on their website, that these topups will NOT be coded as a cash advance to the credit card. https://www.revolut.com/help/getting-started/adding-money-to-revolut/with-card/what-cards-and-currencies-are-supported

      • Grant says:

        I also got it over the weekend with a 5% fee on a four figure top up. Went through with MCC Wire Transfer Money Order which I think is 4892, wheras all the others have gone through as 6012 – Financial Instituions – Merchandise and Services.

        I am in Chat with Revolut now.

        • jc says:

          4829* 🙂

          Please update us here with how that chat goes. And don’t back down — I hope the link I provided just above helps — they have promised you wouldn’t be hit with that 5%!

        • Grant says:

          Sorry – MCC for Wire Transfer is 4829

        • Grant says:

          First response was that “there is a challenge that we are facing right now with card top-ups and this is why the code was changed. Our relevant team is investigating the reason for it right now and it should be fixed as soon as possible”.

          I has asked for the transaction to be reversed and resent with MCC 6012 which they say they cannot do.

          “There is no timeframe for the problem to be fixed but it should be changed for next top-ups” – whatever that means.

          I have now asked for them to cover the cash advance fee (£130) since it was Revolut’s error that meant I was charged and, as per the advice on the website, it should have gone through as a normal transaction, not a cash advance.

          “as it is still being investigated, once the situation is confirmed, we may be able to refund, but for now, I can not guarantee anything as the situation is still in the process of being fixed”

          I have a complaint form.

          • jc says:

            Thanks for sharing. Personally I’d want extra compo on top — the fact you “had to take” a £2,600 cash advance will be reported to the credit reference agencies / appear on your credit report, so there’s more at stake than just the £130.

          • Grant says:

            Noted, thanks.

            It’s extremely frustrating that you can only contact them via online chat and the first level support struggles with anything like this.

          • Grant says:

            JC, did Colin Mck get a satisfactory resolution to his case?

          • Yuff says:

            I have a similar situation on my wife’s Hilton card but it gets better as not only have they charged mrs yuff;s account a cash advance, they’ve charged it twice albeit the duplicate charges are showing as pending but have taken her over her limit.
            I did have a message from compliance at revolut at the time about cash advances and using cards for points but it got resolved whilst I was in a meeting so didn’t think anything of it.

          • Alan says:

            Yikes not good. Agree their in-app support are pretty atrocious. Do let us know how you get on, weird that it’s flipping between MCCs like this.

    • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

      Same here. 4829 at Virgin. Transaction declined by Creation.

      • The Urbanite says:

        Revolut are not the only company that have done this – I think they want to stop the MSers as gentle warnings don’t really work!

  • Shaun says:

    I’ve ticked ‘Mastercard debit’ but I’m getting this error at the final stage of the process:

    Card number does not match card type. This might be because you’ve entered your card number incorrectly or selected the wrong card type. Check that both are correct.

    Any one faced this before?

  • Tilly says:

    Paid mine over the weekend. Small change probably compared to other readers on here but still wondering what my best options are for next year.

  • Courtster says:

    OT – been experimenting with 241 355 days out availability over the last week or so at midnight. It’s been going well, except yesterday and today for the 7th 8th Jan 2021 throws an error “There’s a problem with your request, please try later” This still persists, does anyone else have the same issue on these dates? It happens on my wife’s account too.

    • Matthew says:

      Getting same error too. I think it’s to do with peak/off peak change dates as 7th Jan onwards should be off peak. Can’t book anything on 7/8th either. I’ve seen it before and it randomly sorts in a few days so fingers crossed 🤞

    • Anna says:

      IME with BA.com, it’s always worth trying another browser. I always have a backup device to hand when making a T-355 booking which I don’t want to lose as BA’s IT seems very prone to throwing up errors!

    • Reeferman says:

      I’m having exactly the same issues – tried 2 different browsers and the App, but no success.
      Am assuming it’s yet another BA IT “glitch”.

  • Dave says:

    I’m still confused about whether Curve are charging 1.5% for National savings and investments, DVLA etc after the 24th. The original article said it would initially just be for HMRC as a trial period.
    Since then haven’t seen anything about when the trial ends, when they start charging etc

    • Genghis says:

      You’ll be notified (if it goes ahead).

      • jc says:

        Are you sure? They’ve given notice that it’s “happened”, we’re just currently in a free “trial” period, and that if you do get the 1.5% in future you can GBIT to a debit card and they’ll retroactively refund the 1.5%. That all suggests to me that they won’t be giving more notice. Just do it, keep an eye on the app, GBIT if you find the “trial” has ended.

        • stevenhp1987 says:

          Surely they would have to give us 2 months notice to include other merchants within the charge.

          They can’t just add them without said notice.

          Telling us they “may” add them at a future point does not constitute notice.

          • jc says:

            They haven’t said they may add it some time later, they’ve said they’re officially adding it from 24/1 — but for a trial time, which may end at any time, they may waive the fee to be nice. There is no obligation for them to give notice again when they want to end that trial.

        • EwanG says:

          They should do!

          I would work on the basis that they won’t give much notice (as they have already flagged it is coming) and you’ll probably hear about it from someone on here before you get informed by Curve.

        • Lady London says:

          I think “trial” may be Curve “trying it on”. Sounds like they are seeing how many good customers (as well as bad) they might lose with this new charge before they take the risk of widening it to other targets.