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How to pay your HMRC bill with a credit card using Curve by the 31st January deadline 

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This article is sponsored by Curve

The deadline for self assessment tax returns is approaching fast. You need to file your return by 31st January 2024 to make the HMRC deadline and avoid any penalties.

If you are a Head for Points reader you are very likely to be keen on the idea of paying your tax bill with a Visa or Mastercard credit card to earn extra points, or even just to manage your cashflow or spread the cost.

Unfortunately HMRC has blocked the use of personal credit cards since 2018. Corporate credit cards are still accepted, but carry a fee ranging from 1.7% – 2.8%.

There is, however, a workaround that makes it possible to pay HMRC with a personal or corporate credit card – and that’s Curve.

You can find out more about Curve here.

How to pay your HMRC bill with a credit card using Curve

What’s Curve? 

Curve is a smart digital wallet that connects your debit and Visa and Mastercard credit cards into one single payment card.

As well as offering cashback rewards and eliminating fees abroad, subject to payment limits, Curve has a unique feature in the form of Curve Fronted.

Curve Fronted enables you to make credit card payments at places where credit cards are not accepted, like HMRC, but debit cards are. You can also use Curve Fronted to pay utility bills, school fees and even rent when debit cards are accepted.

How does Curve Fronted work?

Since Curve operates as a Mastercard debit card, the transaction will be processed by HMRC as a debit transaction, even if a credit card is chosen within the Curve Wallet.

How to pay HMRC with a credit card using Curve

It’s a simple process:

  • 1. Download the Curve app 
  • 2. Link your Visa or Mastercard credit card
  • 3. Switch on the Curve Fronted feature 
  • 4. Pay HMRC with Curve

Earn thousands of extra credit card points

The costs for Curve Fronted vary depending on your Curve Card plan.

  • Curve Metal (£17.99 per month) allows you to pay £3,000 for free via Curve Fronted per rolling 30 days, with a 2.5% fee thereafter
  • Curve Black (£9.99 per month) allows you to pay £1,000 for free via Curve Fronted per rolling 30 days, with a 2.5% fee thereafter
  • The free version of Curve has a 2.5% fee for all Curve Fronted transactions

If you collect Avios on the Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard, earning 1.5 Avios per £1, you could earn 4,500 Avios per month via Curve Fronted on Curve Metal. This is a good return on your £17.99 Curve Metal fee, even before factoring in other Curve Card benefits which we will cover in a minute.

How to pay your HMRC bill with a credit card using Curve

On Curve Black, you could earn 1,500 Avios per month on the Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard via a £1,000 spend on Curve Fronted, for a £9.99 monthly fee.

Just be mindful of your fee-free limits and weigh up the pros and cons to decide whether or not it’s right for you.  If you have large tax bills then you could make a part-payment every 30 days to maximise your Curve Fronted fee-free limit.

If you want to use your corporate credit card to pay HMRC, using Curve Fronted can eliminate the fees charged by HMRC.

A lifeline for freelancers

The power to pay your tax bill with a credit card can be a lifeline for freelancers and self-employed contractors who may want to spread the cost of their tax bill, particularly if they have underestimated the amount owed, or find themselves chasing overdue invoices.

While the 2.5% fee may not always be “worth it for the points”, it may be worth it to help manage your cashflow and most importantly, avoid penalty fines from HMRC. These can reach 4% of your tax bill at Day 30 of non-payment.

If you are using Curve Fronted to help spread the cost of your tax bill, make sure you’re taking advantage of the interest-free period on your credit card to avoid paying sky-high interest rates. These would cancel out the benefits of using Curve Fronted to pay HMRC with a credit card. 

Eliminate credit card fees abroad

Most people don’t use their credit cards on holiday because they know they’re going to be hit with fees every time they tap their card or withdraw cash. Using Curve can actually eliminate fees abroad from all your cards – for good.

You can spend up to £250 per rolling 30 days with the free Curve Standard card. The savings really start ramping up when you look at the premium Curve Black and Curve Metal plans.

With Curve Black, customers can spend up to £2,000 per rolling 30 day fee-free and withdraw up to £500 without ATM charges in the same period. You will also earn Avios or other points on purchases from your underlying rewards credit card.

How to pay your HMRC bill with a credit card using Curve

If you’re using a debit or credit card charging 3% in foreign transaction fees and cash withdrawal fees, using Curve Black could save you up to £75 in fees abroad, every time you travel.

For Curve Metal customers there is no limit to how much you can spend abroad with no fees and you can withdraw up to £1,000 per rolling 30 days. This beats Revolut Metal’s £600 limit and Monzo’s £800 monthly limit. Again, you will also earn Avios or other points on purchases from your underlying rewards credit card.

Curve recently removed weekend surcharges for €, $ and £ transactions. Customers won’t be charged weekend fees unless they’re outside of these currencies.

What really sets Curve apart is the fact you don’t need to change your bank or add yet another credit card to your wallet. You can maximise what’s good about your credit cards (rewards) and offset what’s not so good (fees abroad).

Double up on rewards with cashback

As well as features like Curve Fronted that can help you earn points on your bills, Curve offers cashback, which you can earn on top of your current credit card rewards programs.

Even on the free standard Curve plan, customers earn instant cashback every time they shop at places like Argos, Primark, IKEA, Waterstones and more.

There are also one-off cashback offers that change regularly. You might get 8% cashback at Sainsbury’s one day, and 10% cashback at Costa the next. The good thing about Curve Cashback is that it all builds up neatly in one place – your Curve Cash card. You can save it up over time and spend it pretty much anywhere.

The cashback offering gets stronger as you move into premium Curve plans. Curve Black now offers 1% cashback at six retailers of your choice (up from three) and Curve Metal now offers cashback at 12 retailers (up from six). The list of available retailers includes all the major supermarkets from Aldi and LIDL to Marks and Spencers and Waitrose, your travel essentials like TFL, Trainline and Uber, and global retailers like Apple, ASOS, Amazon. If you have quite high monthly expenses, the 1% cashback alone can offset the cost of your Curve plan. 

Can I get Curve before the HMRC deadline?

Yes, you can download Curve and order your physical card in time to meet the HMRC deadline of 31st January.

Additionally, Curve offers a virtual version that can be added to your mobile wallet, supporting Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung, and Huawei devices.

Find out more about Curve here or download the app here

Comments (213)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Ken says:

    2.5% fee to plus curve fee plus and credit card interest when you can’t pay in early March or whenever ?
    To earn some points to pay a tax bill ? – it’s the economics of the madhouse.

    Forget about collecting points for a while and;

    Agree payments terms with customers upfront
    Get your invoices out on time
    Date the invoices correctly, don’t date them 17th of January for work done in December
    Get them to the right person- and confirm they have received them.
    Chase them BEFORE they are due. And this means speaking to someone, not just emailing a statement.

    If you have issues paying a tax bill (either companies or individual ), speak to HMRC to arrange a payment plan but be prepared that they may want say 50% of tax due paying.
    Don’t just bury your head in the sand.

  • VinZ says:

    Can you use fronted to pay other credit card bills?

  • Peter K says:

    Tried to pay HMRC yesterday with Curve (fronted was on) and the payment failed because the curve app told me I needed to use chip and pin with the retailer!!

    • memesweeper says:

      go into *any* shop and make a chip and pin transaction… I think this can happen on any card from time to time

      • Rob says:

        ALL cards are meant to insist on a chip and pin every [x] transactions.

        • TooPoorToBeHere says:

          Not for cardholder-not-present!

          • Rob says:

            If you have a new card, you can’t use if for CNP until you’ve done a chip and pin. I’m not sure, if your issuer decides its time to do a C&P, you can still keep doing CNP – it would defeat the object if you could.

        • RussellH says:

          I do not think that x is a constant though.
          And x also varies with card issuer.
          I seem to have to do a PIN transaction at least weekly with my Creation Marriott card, but it can be months before Amex asks for one

      • Peter K says:

        I actually went to a shop afterwards and forgot and did contactless by mistake and it worked!

    • rams says:

      This is a major issue. Amazing that curve have sponsored an article with an issue like this going on

      • TooPoorToBeHere says:

        Agreed. And also that their support function appears to be in a state of collapse with people waiting weeks for answers.

      • roger says:

        I am currently in middle of this saga. All 3D secure transactions are not working and curve is apparently aware of this issue per email I received when complaining to CEO.

      • Gosia44 says:

        I waited 5 weeks for someone to get back to me. Absolutely shocking level of customer service.

  • Julia says:

    Is the card acceptance based on wages or income? If income can we use it to fund and ISA? Thanks.

  • Corpt says:

    Has anyone used Curve Metal Fronted to pay other credit cards (up to £3k per month)? That seems to be a way to double up on credit card points?

    • John C says:

      Yes and when fronted dropped to £3k on rolling 30 days it just became to fiddly.

      There are to many limits and if’s and buts to using curve that you will probably end up paying additional fees, throw in removing all the insurances and I cancelled my card last week

      At £18 a month for 3000 points (or in the article (4500 but you have to pay the £20 to Barclaycard) save the money and buy points at 0.9p each like Avios balance booster early this month

      Also their customer service is the worse, controversially, I may have even stuck with them if they have an average customer service…

      • JDB says:

        @John C – if you are talking about 3000 vs 4500 Avios (for which you need a paid card) you should also put Curve at £15/month (£180/year rather than the more expensive monthly fee).

        Equally, with Barclays if you have (paid) Avios Rewards with the card, you get at least 1,500 Avios/month so it’s not quite as simple as just saying £20/month. For many high spenders (and if you are putting a genuine £36k p.a. through ‘fronted’ you are one of those), the extra BC Plus fee pays for itself.

        My wife and I each have a Curve Metal and each have over £36k tax to pay, so 54,000 Avios each plus effectively unlimited free FX for £180/year seems a no brainer (and neither of us find it “fiddly”).

        • Maciej says:

          Is using Fronted to pay other cards/loans/mortgages against usual T&C?
          Also, if you have 2 cards connected to Curve, you could easily just circulate money between them. This sounds like manufactured spend?
          Not saying you do this, just asking for your opinion.

        • John C says:

          @JDB nice story, but not the same scenario to the question that I replied to…different use cases

    • Qrfan says:

      Pretty sure curve pass back the MasterCard code so may not be points earning. I got stung once for fees when I used curve fronted to fund a transfer wise payment and the underlying card treated it as a direct fx purchase due to the mcc code.

    • daveinitalia says:

      Seem to recall something about a product called bendy that used to feed the seagulls or something.

  • Freddy says:

    Thanks for the heads up on the free curve fx limited to £250. Useless now

  • polly says:

    Has anyone used their Metal to pay HMRC with HSBC WE? Tax to pay, but no Barclaycard now. Only use WE with Metal. Noticed when l paid Aviva with it, no points given at all. Wonder if this is the same for HMRC? Tnx.

    • JDB says:

      HSBC hasn’t awarded points on HMRC payments for some years. This is a peculiar and unpublished HSBC policy – no points but also no cash advance fee on some of these cash type transactions will have been very effective in clamping down on the practice.

      • polly says:

        Tnx JDB, for the reminder. This is a one off tax bill, so had to remind myself of the rules.

      • David says:

        Yes and I think this article should mention that many cards do not give points for HMRC spend. Looks like the same with my CRO card…

        I also find cash withdrawals abroad unreliable.

  • Mayfair Mike says:

    They also tightened up their UK ATM withdrawals…used to be quite generous c. 1k/m in batches esp as I was sending another few k thru bona fide transactions. Now the second u withdraw £1 over the 150 monthly limit, you’re stung.

    Like others I cancelled curve metal too, tho the old card still works on my free profile. Tbf it’s a nicely crafted card to hold vs the plasticy generic lot.

    • TooPoorToBeHere says:

      I loathe metal cards. They’re never as responsive on contactless terminals as plastic ones (and make you look like a right arse at the gates on the tube when there’s a queue), and they’re more likely to mis-feed and be retained at ATMs.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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