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?

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)

  • Aleem Hussein says:

    Can you pay HMRC with the Capital on Tap Business Rewards card without suffering the 1.5% fees? Is there any need for the Curve Card if you carry the COT Business Rewards?

  • JH says:

    Incorrect use of sic.

  • Ian says:

    OT – Amex offer in Dec, 1 extra Avios per £4 spent up to 27 Dec. I have not been credited for any bonus Avios and Amex are saying the offer was 1 single Avios whenever I spent over £4. I had read the offer was a bonus avios for each £4, so spend £12 and get 3 bonus Avios. Which one is right? Has anyone received these yet?

    • Rob says:

      I spoke to Amex about this – the email implied 1 if you spend £4+ but Amex confirmed to me that it was 1 per £4.

      • Stu_N says:

        If it was the BA Premium it’s definitely 1 extra Avios for every £4 spent. I’ve not checked line-by-line but there are lots of different amounts of Bonus Avios and large transactions are easy to tie up (e.g. a £800 spend and a while later 200 Bonus Avios appeared).

        • Ian says:

          Cheers. Amex CS telling me porkies then and Zero bonus Avios showing on my account. Time for another chat!

    • George K says:

      I’ve had 1 bonus point per tranche of £4 (on the BA plus card), so what they’re telling you is not correct… All bonus points posted within a week of each transaction (but often a bit earlier)

  • lostforwords says:

    Anyone know why CURVE is not working with HMRC now, tried their customer support but it is very poor. You get multiple responses from different reps all on a different page with their answer.
    Examples-
    do you have credit?
    Have you checked with HMRC (thanks 1 hour of my life wasted)?
    Is your postcode correct ?
    it could be downtime
    it may be a glitch
    Curve should not be used just to pay HMRC
    etc…..
    Also have you thought about upgrading to metal!!!

  • Fred S says:

    OT: Update on Revolut fiasco. Online agent admitting there have been issues with Revolut systems but at the same time saying that it is the customer’s problem to take up with the Mastercard Card Company re ensuing charges and consequential interest etc!

  • ash says:

    If we don’t use Curve for HMRC, where is next best place to use to manufacture spends?

    I can pay the metal card but where to use it?

  • Chris says:

    My account restrictions page on Monese now shows ONLY cash top ups at the PO. So time to get rid of it – was good while it lasted tho. At least Revolut still works… for now…

    • AlexT says:

      Yeah, if you like being charged cash advance fees 🙂

    • TGLoyalty says:

      It always said cash top ups only.

      • Chris says:

        No. I could add £500 per day with any credit card via the PO. Worked on Friday, but not on Saturday…

        • The Urbanite says:

          TG is right. It always said cash only. It was never intended for the Post Office to accept card for top ups.

          • Chris says:

            Well my limits changed on the app. I was adding £3000 a week. They checked what I was doing and were fine with it in October last year 🤷‍♂️

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Because the system at PO knows no different (or atleast didn’t used to)

      • Jay H says:

        What is said and what works in practise is often very different! Managed to do around £800 a month until recently when was warned off by the friendly PO staff 🤐

  • Stephen says:

    WARNING – Virgin Atlantic credit cards are now treating Revolut top ups as Cash Advances (5% fee plus interest)