What is Curve?
The primary purpose of Curve is to collate all of your Visa and Mastercard debit and credit cards into one Mastercard debit card. You are then able to carry your one Curve card as opposed to multiple.
The app then allows you to switch between your cards before you use your Curve card to pay.
Your Curve card can then be added to Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, Fitbit Pay, Garmin Pay.
This can allow you to add cards which do not usually support a mobile wallet, for example, Monzo or Tesco can be added to Samsung Pay through the service.
Go Back in Time
One of the innovative features of Curve, is the ability to Go Back in Time. This allows you to switch the underlying card that was charged to another in your app after a purchase!
This is currently limited to 90 days after your transaction, after which you cannot switch the card.
The feature can even be used to change purchases on a debit card to a credit card after the fact, if you are short of money at the end of the month.
Curve Customer Protection
Unfortunately when using the Curve card, you lose traditional protection such as Section 75, meaning that your credit card provider is equally responsible for providing a service or refund.
However, Curve has their own programme which allows you to raise a claim for five different scenarios, usually covered by Section 75 protection.
This must be claimed within 120 days of the purchase date by contacting Curve support.
I have fortunately not yet had a need to use this service, however, it is excellent that Curve protects their customers in this additional way.
Which Curve card should I choose?
The card comes in three different tiers. There is the free Curve Blue, Curve Black which costs £9.99pm and Curve Metal which costs £14.99pm. The below features are those that differ among the different types of card on offer.
Curve Cash is the cashback scheme available to all users of the card. It offers an impressive 1% cashback, at a wide selection of retailers (full list here) that you must choose within the app.
The number of retailers and duration of cashback depends on the tier of your card.
It is important that you choose your retailers wisely, as you are not able to change these afterwards. However, there are some reports of users being able to change these by going through Curve support.
I have mine set to Trainline, Amazon and Tesco on my card as these are retailers in which I assessed that I spend the most money. I recommend going through your banking app and seeing where you spend the most, to determine which retailers to select.
For the Blue tier, Curve Cash is limited for 3 retailers for 90 days. The Black tier is also 3 retailers, for as long as you keep the subscription. Metal allows for 6 retailers also for as long as you have the card.
Tip: You can combine this cashback with that available from other services such as Complete Savings (review), Quidco, or TopCashback.
Curve Fronted is a feature that allows you to pay certain bills using a credit card, when this feature is not usually available.
This includes payments classified as government payments, such as HMRC and Student Loan Payments.
It additionally includes paying credit card bills, and other financial services such as money transfers using credit cards. The full list of transactions where this applies is available here.
For the Blue and Black tier, Curve Fronted costs 1.5% of the transaction. For Metal, this feature is free.
It is unfortunate to see Curve advertising this as a feature, as it did used to be free on all cards. However, this was understandable as large tax bills were apparently costing the startup significant amounts of money.
Curve uses the Interbank rate, set by CurrencyLayer, similar to Revolut. This is generally considered to be better than the Mastercard or Visa rate, as used by Starling or Monzo.
The Black and Metal card allow unlimited access to this preferential exchange rate on normal card purchases, such as in store or online. The free card, Blue, allows up to £500 of exchange using this rate, after which there is a 2% fee.
Foreign ATM withdrawals are fee-free monthly up to £200 for Blue, £400 for Black, and £600 for Metal. After this, there is a 2% fee or £2, whichever is higher.
However, even if you stay within these limits, Curve is not an excellent card for spending abroad due to the weekend fees.
At the weekend, if the card and transaction are in GBP, USD, or EUR, this fee will be 0.5%. For other currencies, the fee is 1.5%. These fees apply to all Curve cards, irrespective of the tier that you are on.
While Curve advertises the idea that their service is excellent for travel, these fees make the card hard to recommend if you are a regular traveler.
Instead you should likely go for another card, such as Starling, which offers unlimited fee free worldwide cash withdrawals, as well as unlimited purchases. They do however, use the Mastercard rate.
Worldwide travel insurance is included in both paid tiers of the Curve card.
You should check the terms here to ensure that you will be fully covered for any trip you are planning.
This bundled insurance appears to be quite thorough, however, do note that there is no option to extend the cover from AXA in any way.
Many sports and activities are covered, although if this is the sole purpose of the trip it will not be.
Again, it is always worth checking the terms of the insurance to ensure that it covers you.
Mobile insurance with a claim limit of £800 is a Metal exclusive perk.
While this may seem low, depreciations are made for wear and tear of a device, and therefore even if your phone is more new, then you will likely be under the £800 limit for a claim.
The cover includes loss, theft, and damage to your phone with an excess of £50 per claim. Unfortunately, you are only able to claim once per 365 days.
This is a nice perk for Metal users, however you do need to be mindful of the limits. It is likely a useful feature for those who rarely have problems with their phones.
However, if you often smash your screen or lose your phone, then you will likely find that the one claim per year period to be too limiting.
18g Metal Card
The final benefit, if you consider it such, of Metal is of course a metal card.
These do look very premium, and you can find many pictures of them online or on Curve’s Twitter.
I would not personally pay more simply to have a card made out of metal, however if this is important to you then it’s worth a consideration.
Curve is an excellent card for collecting all your cards in one and then using innovative features such as GBIT in order to extend the experience.
The value of each of the tiers very much depends on how much you are likely to use the different features.
In my opinion the limits of the overseas spending and high weekend fees, makes the card less useful abroad.
In addition, the limitations on the bundled insurance mean that sourcing your insurance may work out better and cheaper for you.
Although, if you are not likely to heavily rely on the mobile insurance, and want a metal card, then Curve Metal may absolutely be worth it to you.
For now, I shall be staying with my Blue card, as these tiers would not offer value to me, with how much I travel, need phone insurance or would earn back in Curve Cash.
Which card is best for you? Lets discuss what you would like to see come to the Curve tiers in the comments!