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Curve card is the worst thing to happen to the points game

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  • Comrade Chag

    It’s all JDB’s Mr X’s fault.

    Thank you for the erroneous mention. This thread amazes me, seeking to ascribe blame to Curve when it is the twats who have not only gamed the system to excess but then, with great hubris, shouted from the rooftops about their dodgy activity which not only had the effect of highlighting it to card providers but also attracted a raft of very amateur and super clumsy MS players. The combination of the two became intolerable, hence the tightening of rules.

    Although the big players seem much lauded here, MS and similar activities remain very anti-social as the innocents caught up in Creation closures can attest, as can those who still have the card but can’t use Curve to avoid FX fees, and those of use paying higher Amex fees to pay for all the (non) retention bonuses, BAPP upgrade/downgraders and many other victims.

    As I am sure the vast majority of of HfP readers may not speak up but nevertheless believe in doing the ‘right thing’ someone needs to speak up for them.

    I, for one, fully support and agree with you. You are a very welcome antithesis in a vast sea of ‘miles at any cost’ attitudes in the echo chamber of HfP.

    Sam

    It’s all JDB’s Mr X’s fault.

    Thank you for the erroneous mention. This thread amazes me, seeking to ascribe blame to Curve when it is the twats who have not only gamed the system to excess but then, with great hubris, shouted from the rooftops about their dodgy activity which not only had the effect of highlighting it to card providers but also attracted a raft of very amateur and super clumsy MS players. The combination of the two became intolerable, hence the tightening of rules.

    Although the big players seem much lauded here, MS and similar activities remain very anti-social as the innocents caught up in Creation closures can attest, as can those who still have the card but can’t use Curve to avoid FX fees, and those of use paying higher Amex fees to pay for all the (non) retention bonuses, BAPP upgrade/downgraders and many other victims.

    As I am sure the vast majority of of HfP readers may not speak up but nevertheless believe in doing the ‘right thing’ someone needs to speak up for them.

    I, for one, fully support and agree with you. You are a very welcome antithesis in a vast sea of ‘miles at any cost’ attitudes in the echo chamber of HfP.

    Hear hear

    memesweeper

    Although the big players seem much lauded here, MS and similar activities remain very anti-social as the innocents caught up in Creation closures can attest, as can those who still have the card but can’t use Curve to avoid FX fees, and those of use paying higher Amex fees to pay for all the (non) retention bonuses, BAPP upgrade/downgraders and many other victims.

    As I am sure the vast majority of of HfP readers may not speak up but nevertheless believe in doing the ‘right thing’ someone needs to speak up for them.

    You may be right that extreme mickey takers hastened the closure of the Creation card, but frankly Creation could have used a dozen other methods to clamp down on abuse. They were completely caught napping and then lashed out against every part of their own customer base that had ever used Curve. That’s a ludicrous overreaction, and whilst it’s arguably anti-social to rinse Creation quiet so comprehensively as some folks did, it wasn’t a blatant violation of Creation’s contract, which Creation’s reaction, in many cases, mine included, has been. If Creation deserved any sympathy it disappeared with the withheld vouchers and points IMO.

    The fact that some people “game” Amex does not mean everyone else pays more for Amex. Amex, I’m sure, sets it’s fees and interests rates as high as the market will bare. Whatever is left after costs is their margin. If they did a cost-plus model I reckon the Gold card would be free indefinitely and the Plat might be a hundred or more quid a year, tops. If their costs go up slightly from the gamers that does not mean you pay more. If the gamers provide enough volume and interest in the products, of course, they might not cost Amex anything. They might just not be quiet as profitable as other customers. Most people renew products like cards, insurance and energy without thought or a market test, which is foolish, am I abusing their loyalty by shopping around whenever I can?

    memesweeper

    You may be right that extreme mickey takers hastened the closure of the Creation card, but frankly Creation could have used a dozen other methods to clamp down on abuse.

    Oh, and a Curve card wasn’t even required to totally rinse Creation if that was your objective. Their IT was set up so badly it was unbelievable.

    (For the record, I didn’t ever send money round in circles with Creation, or anyone else for that matter. I spent a lot of money on the card per annum, but it wasn’t some large multiple of my income, which I believe some folks managed.)

    JDB

    @memesweeper I was in Brighton today and they don’t exactly see life as you suggest! Essentially, the abuse of SUBs, BAPP upgrades/downgrades, people lying to get retention bonuses and often then cancelling anyway etc. etc. are like shoplifting. It’s not practical or proportionate to stamp it out completely, so it is tolerated to a certain degree, but all the proper cardholders pay for it in cash and worse customer service. The excess publicity and increasing scale of these activities means that change is looking inevitable.

    Lady London

    Well said @memesweeper. Whilst I join with @JDB and yourself in lamenting how some people took unacceptably large advantage, Creation were incompetent, have reacted unprofessionally and unfairly, and deserve any remedy that can be imposed on them for the way tbey’ve treated customers.

    My doubts about the undermining of justice in the UK by powerful political and business interests and the incompetence of the FOS, are a separate issue.

    Lady London

    Speaking as a user of their free card, who uses it only overseas, I don’t think Curve is long for this world. It’s free product has been substantially downgraded and their promotion of alternative currencies doesn’t bode well.

    Yeah someone here said pretty much that, very firmly around 3 weeks ago. If their backers are clear where they are in tbe cycle, are furious efforts going on in the background on a sale?

    Nate1309

    It’s sole purpose for me was to pay HMRC via my CC. Which worked out nicely when there were no fees and I used my Amex.

    I’m still “legacy black” and have been toying with the idea of moving to metal to start paying HMRC with my HH barclaycard.

    Are any of you on the metal tier and do you find it value for money?

    memesweeper

    @memesweeper I was in Brighton today and they don’t exactly see life as you suggest! Essentially, the abuse of SUBs, BAPP upgrades/downgrades, people lying to get retention bonuses and often then cancelling anyway etc. etc. are like shoplifting. It’s not practical or proportionate to stamp it out completely, so it is tolerated to a certain degree, but all the proper cardholders pay for it in cash and worse customer service. The excess publicity and increasing scale of these activities means that change is looking inevitable.

    It’s not like shoplifting! Shoplifting is theft, plain and simple. It’s illegal. It’s a crime.

    I don’t lie to Amex. I don’t constantly churn their products either. Nor do I meekly renew things without question. I used to work in the online gambling industry… our signup bonus “abuse” cost was staggering. I’d happily talk to Amex about what we did to identify and stop non-profitable sign up bonuses.

    But my point remains: at the end of the day Amex are not a cost-plus business and the charges they levy *you* are not determined by the costs incurred in servicing other customers. They are not Tesco’s selling you beans in competition Sainsburys, where a shoplifter really does put a penny or two on your weekly shop.

    JDB

    @memesweeper I used the shoplifting analogy merely as a type of activity practised by a small minority the cost of which is borne by the majority.

    MS and similar are highly anti-social activities that are not criminal but are dubious practice that demonstrate a level of expediency and lack of integrity; fortunately the vast majority of people recognise this and don’t participate. Many are very quick to wave the ‘unfairness’ flag if some barrier is placed to stop MS but how fair is it for example for one person to pay £25 for their BAPP voucher when the majority pay £250? That is just one example.

    PS I never said you lied to Amex but a quite remarkable number of people on here openly admit to doing so.

    SteveJ

    MS I agree is anti-social.

    I don’t see SUBs at all in the same light. To me it’s no different to shopping around for Insurance or Broadband each year, never auto renew and get the best deal available for me. Same thing applies to SUBs and the like, those who auto renew are subsidising those who shop around.

    Michael C

    Curvelifters of the worldddd
    Unite and take o-verrrr!

    Aston100

    Curvelifters of the worldddd
    Unite and take o-verrrr!

    Haha, Curvelifting.

    dougzz99

    @memesweeper I was in Brighton today and they don’t exactly see life as you suggest! Essentially, the abuse of SUBs, BAPP upgrades/downgrades, people lying to get retention bonuses and often then cancelling anyway etc. etc. are like shoplifting. It’s not practical or proportionate to stamp it out completely, so it is tolerated to a certain degree, but all the proper cardholders pay for it in cash and worse customer service. The excess publicity and increasing scale of these activities means that change is looking inevitable.

    Surely it is proportionate and practical to stamp out things you as a company think cost you too much. SUB limited to once, record upgrade/downgrade on BAPP and issue no further cards. Offer retention bonus x months after not cancelling. All of which would of course impact the number of cards in use and reduce transactions through their network. Surely it’s just a financial decision for Amex. I can only offer I don’t believe the cost of my Amex would reduce, or the FX fee reduce if this activity ceased, Amex would just make more money.

    One thing I firmly agree with is that excessive publicity leads to change. Sites like this that passively promote said activities bring methods to a much wider audience and mean companies have to act to end these games once they believe it’s costing them too much.

    can

    I think @JBD has the right assumptions but the wrong conclusion. As he wrote “It’s not practical or proportionate to stamp [MS] out completely, so it is tolerated to a certain degree”. I think this is the key point.

    Who tolerates it? Credit card companies/banks.

    If all the MS stops today, do you think they’d reduce the fees? No.

    Did they have a million opportunity to block it immediately without too much fuss? Yes.

    Does the cost of MS be passed to low-spenders? Not really, I don’t think anyone spending <£1k would pay for a fee. Perhaps the cost is passed to “middle class” like the BAPP fee hike last year. Oh well…

    Blaming Curve is easy. Why don’t you blame the credit card companies who let us use Curve pay their bill?
    They don’t have to tolerate anything.

    And yes, I see Curve as a challenger to an ancient finance/credit card market.

    memesweeper

    @memesweeper I used the shoplifting analogy merely as a type of activity practised by a small minority the cost of which is borne by the majority.

    MS and similar are highly anti-social activities that are not criminal but are dubious practice that demonstrate a level of expediency and lack of integrity; fortunately the vast majority of people recognise this and don’t participate. Many are very quick to wave the ‘unfairness’ flag if some barrier is placed to stop MS but how fair is it for example for one person to pay £25 for their BAPP voucher when the majority pay £250? That is just one example.

    PS I never said you lied to Amex but a quite remarkable number of people on here openly admit to doing so.

    I felt the need to make the assertion I don’t fib to Amex because, as you rightly point out, others do.

    But you are IMO wrong to suggest someone getting the same product (eg a companion voucher) for less than you paid is morally wrong. Business and consumer relationships simply don’t work that way. Also some people getting a voucher cheaper doesn’t necessarily make it more expensive for anyone else. What do you think Amex pay BA for a companion voucher? Quite possibly the marginal cost is nothing at all. The revenue share is highly unlikely to turn on the number of vouchers issued (or used).

    memesweeper

    I think @JBD has the right assumptions but the wrong conclusion. As he wrote “It’s not practical or proportionate to stamp [MS] out completely, so it is tolerated to a certain degree”. I think this is the key point.

    Who tolerates it? Credit card companies/banks.

    If all the MS stops today, do you think they’d reduce the fees? No.

    Did they have a million opportunity to block it immediately without too much fuss? Yes.

    Does the cost of MS be passed to low-spenders? Not really, I don’t think anyone spending <£1k would pay for a fee. Perhaps the cost is passed to “middle class” like the BAPP fee hike last year. Oh well…

    Blaming Curve is easy. Why don’t you blame the credit card companies who let us use Curve pay their bill?
    They don’t have to tolerate anything.

    And yes, I see Curve as a challenger to an ancient finance/credit card market.

    The banks have happily allowed ‘balance transfers’ at 3% margin to them, thank you very much. Now Barclaycard don’t like it when consumers DIY the same transfer and ban the use of Curve. Hmmmm. Tad hypocritical in my view.

    TooPoorToBeHere

    The worst thing that happened to the points game was 3V packing up and banks ceasing to accept Royal Mint £5 coins for deposit.

    Curve is bigger numbers but those were richly, richly comic situations.

    Nearly did myself an injury carrying the backpack full of £5 coins to town to deposit.

    memesweeper

    The worst thing that happened to the points game was…

    YQ

    stevenhp1987

    @memesweeper,

    agreed! I’m loathe to pay £800+ pp in “taxes”…

    masaccio

    It’s sole purpose for me was to pay HMRC via my CC. Which worked out nicely when there were no fees and I used my Amex.

    I’m still “legacy black” and have been toying with the idea of moving to metal to start paying HMRC with my HH barclaycard.

    Are any of you on the metal tier and do you find it value for money?

    Picking your question out amongst all the “X are wankers because they killed my scam” moans…

    So far this year yes. I didn’t renew my travel insurance (200 quid), used it for 3 car rentals (about $200 saved), put a bunch of holiday spend through it onto OH’s Barclaycard Plus to very quickly hit the bonus spend, and I just paid my HMRC bill (not seen the Avios yet).

    trient

    If I told you what my “genuine” use was you’d get loads of numpties on here trying to replicate my business

    Others already pointed the obvious, but you come across as self-entitled.

    So you’re bashing Curve users here while lamenting on the HSBC thread that your (presumably non-Curve) “not so naughty” transactions are now charged fees. How is your business fundamentally different if the end result is still milking the points? How can you complain here with a straight face?

    The Urbanite

    It is what it is. Every value added activity has a shelf life. Curve wasn’t upsetting anyone in the beginning when it was issued as a business card with a credit card BIN – it was when the personal debit card was unleashed that it started. Barclaycard blocked the BIN for payments, Natwest and Tesco started stinging people for transacting through Curve and it became clear it wouldn’t be tolerated forever.

    Lo and behold Virgin put in several anti-MS measures, Creation clearly took someone on to stem the losses from their frankly comical operation of their cards and Lloyds BG / HSBC Premier / M&S / JL finally tightened up their cash advance logic. 4829 has become virtually useless as has 6012. Funnily enough Amex is one of very few issuers still paying out rewards at these merchants.

    I agree that the credit card issuers didn’t seem to care that much about MS before. Curve brought a lot of new people into the manufactured spend world – people who topped up Revolut then called up their card issuers asking for refunds on the cash advance fees when the MCC dancing started! When we saw pledges to refund the fees accrued by people doing cash like transactions, even though the card issuers hadn’t changed anything or do anything wrong it was clear the activity was attracting the wrong kind of attention, at a big enough scale to warrant such a policy being created.

    For a long time the card issuers turned much of a blind eye to it, it was more the emoney issuers who had a problem with MS. But Curve has changed that. It was plain as day to see and you could either take advantage and get your points while it was still possible, or take the moral high ground and be upset when the opportunities dried up!

    Andrew J

    Agree that all the MS with Curve and IHG was antisocial behaviour.

    The Urbanite

    The worst thing that happened to the points game was 3V packing up and banks ceasing to accept Royal Mint £5 coins for deposit.

    Curve is bigger numbers but those were richly, richly comic situations.

    Nearly did myself an injury carrying the backpack full of £5 coins to town to deposit.

    To be fair the points game continued beyond 3V!

    It was easy to generate £600 a quarter of Clubcard points by paying into NS&I. Amex spend, child’s play – could spend well into 5 figures in one fell swoop and have it back in your current account within 5 minutes. And no dealing with scarce gift cards or that dirty scratchcard coating either!

    The Royal Mint route was never lasting forever once it became public knowledge, I did enjoy reading the posts about it on FT though!

    I think the worst thing to happen to the game so far was the closure of the Swipe debit card. You could top it up with Visa, Mastercard or Amex. £16k a week per funding card. For free. And get 8% cashback on a few k a day spend when toddling down to the shopping mart and depositing into the savings account.

    Every time a completely unbelievable holy grail status route shuts down, something even more insane comes along. The volumes Curve permitted were crazy especially when they were paying cashback on a number of routes where it was easy to max out the daily spend limits.

    Periodically I sweep the market for new opportunities and every time, I find a ton of ways to generate points which I don’t see posted anywhere and piece things together to create new routes. That’s why there’s little point on dwelling on the low hanging fruit drying up, there’ll be other ways to earn points with a bit of imagination.

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