Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

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?


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)

  • Andy says:

    Can the curve card be used to pay individual self assessment tax return payments?

    I don’t seem to know how to do that if it is possible.

    Can someone share it with me. The options only seem to be bacs or with the use of a corporate credit card.

    • JenT says:

      I had no problem paying my bill with Curve, charged to IHG card. There was a drop down menu with plenty of card options when logging in to pay my bill. Perhaps try again?

    • Rob says:

      Yes. Just put it through as a Mastercard Debit.

  • idrive says:

    OT Amex offer: Spend £300 or more, get 3,000 Avios just arrived on my BA Prem

    • Nate1309 says:

      I have spend £300 at BA. Is that what yours is?
      Will this work on a BA holiday booking?

      • Anna says:

        Yes, works on BA holiday bookings. I now try to tie as many payments to these offers as possible as you can get quite a few bonus avios, plus the 3 per £1 for using a BAPP.

        • Nate1309 says:

          Thanks. That’s a good idea I will just pay off £300 and see if any more of these offers come up before August.

      • Nick_C says:

        Should work for stand alone car hire (and hotels?) booked through BA as well. I did an Avis UK rental through BA in November and s charged by BA with 3 Avios / £ on my BAPP

    • Andy says:

      Any idea if it’s cumulative spend?

  • Al Pal says:

    very interesting.I have the metal version. I think because my main shop and petrol is Tesco : I probably get 100 back per year from groceries and petrol.That also means that get clubcard points which I have opted to change into avious(I use the Tesco pay plus app so extra points on that) : so on the 10 k Tesco spend, probably get 15 k avios and 20 k hilton honors…

    So effectively paying 50 for the other ‘benefits’ but then have the hilton honors credit card.and get 100k points from the HMRC. I think overall benefit

    • Grant says:

      Why wouldn’t you use an Amex for the Tesco spend? As an example, using a BAPP for that £10k Tesco spend would get you a 2-4-1 voucher and another 15k Avios as base earning, plus any introductory bonuses that you might be entitled to.

      • Nick_C says:

        Once you’ve hit any spending targets, the best card to use in Tesco or Tesco filing stations is their own debit card. 2 CCP (4.8 avios) per £ spent. 0.9 extra Avios compared with the BAPP. (Tesco Bank are not currently offering current accounts though).

      • Al Pal says:

        I have churned the Amexs cards and have to amexabstinent for 24 months now :'(
        I get the Tesco bank suggestion and really cool.but yet to use the avios for even teh very first time still 🙁 so H honors suits me most. 1 x Waldorf Astoria Male night per year just from tax 😛 so every 2 years can have a nice 5 day waldorf astoria break or free

        • mark2 says:

          ‘ amexabstinent’

          the word of 2019/20

        • Nick_C says:

          If you are not finding Avios useful, you could go Tesco – Virgin Atlantic – Hilton.

          4000 Club Card Points equals 10000 Virgin Miles which you can convert to 15000 Hilton Honors.

          Virgin to Hilton is only in blocks of 10000 and you need to call Virgin to do it.

          Not the best use of CCP for most people though.

  • Ian_H says:

    I can get benefit from the metal as I pay a substantial HMRC bill each year, Hiwever I am on the legacy Black and know that if I upgrade there is no way back to the current legacy tier for me. Is it possible to keep the legacy black AND get a separate subscription Metal card? (or is there a secret way back to legacy black I dont know about?)

  • Neil says:

    I’ve recently upgraded to Metal from Legacy Black purely for paying HMRC – none of the insurance benefits are any use as I have an Amex Platinum.

    I’m currently in “discussions” with Curve over the Curve Rewards scheme as they’ve moved me from this to Curve Cash. However from their website and the Curve Community site it’s clear that Legacy Black card holders should stay on Curve Rewards when they move to Metal. Curve appear to now be go back on what they’ve stated on their website.

    From their website – “Customers who are on our original rewards scheme (who signed up before 16 February 2018), will keep their previous rewards scheme, regardless of what Curve card you have.” –

    Has anyone else moved from Legacy Black to Metal? What happened to your Curve Rewards?

  • Akkers says:

    Does this rule/charge only apply to HMRC payments, or other government agency payments (like student loan payments)?

    • jc says:

      Just HMRC first, but then everything else with MCC 9399 (misc government services) after a “trial period” which may end this week or any time after.

      So NS&I, student loan, etc. Slightly complicated by the fact that the government have been slightly rejigging their MCCs recently (e.g. taxes have now changed to 9311 “tax payments”)…

      But bottom line is Curve have given notice that they might charge for all govt stuff at any time – so just keep an eye on it, make sure you have a debit card loaded into Curve too, and if you do ever get the 1.5% you can “go back in time” switch it to the debit card for a refund of the 1.5%.

  • LewisB says:

    OT ish: Beware using Curve send linked to your Virgin mastercard, I’ve been hit with a cash advance fee. Assumed given Virgin treat cash withdrawals as a purchase that curve send would be no different.

    • stevenhp1987 says:

      Curve Send goes through as MCC 4829 (Money Transfer) which does process as a cash transaction.

      Got stung on this back in early December!

      The refund on the other end goes through as MCC 8999 (Professional Services) which can claw back any rewards if you use a reward card on the receiving end.

    • AlexT says:

      OT but probably of interest.

      Was just hit with the same cash advance fee while loading Revolut last week. A comparable load the prior day went through as a purshase.

  • ringingup says:

    Can you pay corporation tax for a certain period BEFORE having filed the return? I think the payment reference changes per period… is that right?

    • memesweeper says:

      yes your payment reference changes, but you can pay corp. tax for years that you’ve not yet filed. I started paying mine early this year, a month or two before the accountant was ready to file.

      • ringingup says:

        But what reference should I use if there reference changes?

        • jc says:

          The one provided in your online account when you click into the relevant period.

          • Daniel says:

            Use the same reference as the previous year, increment the digit by 1. That reference should also now be showing online anyway (if your company year end was December).

    • jc says:

      Yes very much so. In fact the deadline for paying is earlier than the deadline for filing. You’ll be paid interest, too.