Home // Banking // Curve Card Review – A Metal Card With A Difference

Curve Card Review – A Metal Card With A Difference

What is the Curve card?

The Curve card is designed to be the only card you need to carry with you, as unlike other cards, it is not associated to a bank account, or a credit card provider. Rather, you connect all of your other cards to the Curve app, whether credit or debit cards, and then you can pay with the Curve card, and choose which of the underlying cards you wish to use for any particular payment.

The Curve card was launched in 2016, and as of 2021, they claim to have over 500,000 card holders. Currently available in the UK and the European Economic Union (EEA), Curve intend to launch in the USA in the near future.

Curve Card - The card that controls all your cards
Curve Card – The card that controls all your cards – Picture: iStock.com | valio84sl

Contents

How does Curve work?

The Curve card is essentially a Mastercard debit card, which is controlled by a smartphone app. Curve is in many ways like Apple Pay or Google Pay, but in a card form. You simply add all of your Mastercard and Visa debit and credit cards to the app, and then you can choose which of these cards you use for a payment for each purchase you make. This means you only need the Curve card with you, but you have access to all of your cards.

Curve offers 3 tiers of card, at various price points:

Curve Blue

Curve Blue is the free tier, and as such there are less extras on offer. However, with Curve Blue you still get:

Curve Customer Protectionup to £100,000
Go Back In Time30 days, up to £5000
Low Currency Transfer Ratesup to £500 per month
Fee Free Foreign ATM Withdrawalsup to £200 per month

Curve Black

Features:

Curve Customer Protectionup to £100,000
Go Back In Time30 days, up to £5000
Low Currency Transfer Ratesunlimited
Fee Free Foreign ATM Withdrawalsup to £400 per month

PLUS: 1% Cashback on up to 3 selected retailers and Worldwide travel insurance

Curve Metal

Features:

Curve Customer Protectionup to £100,000
Go Back In Time30 days, up to £5000
Low Currency Transfer Ratesunlimited
Fee Free Foreign ATM Withdrawalsup to £600 per month

PLUS: 1% Cashback on up to 6 selected retailers, Worldwide travel insurance, Mobile Phone Insurance, Airport lounge access, Premium metal debit card

Curve Notable Features

Add any card to the Curve app

You can add any Visa or Mastercard card, whether they are debit or credit cards, to the app. It is not possible to use American Express with the Curve system.

Go Back In Time

Curve gives you the ability to change the underlying card you made any payment with for up to 30 days. For example, if you paid for a particular item with a personal card, but you wanted to pay with your company card as it was a business expense, then you can go into the app and retrospectively change the card the payment went out from.

Anti-Embarrassment Mode

Once you activate this in the Curve app, you can ensure that you never have a payment declined again. Even if the card you use for the payment is declined, Curve will automatically pay via your designated fall-back card, ensuring you can always make the payment.

Metal Debit Card

If you subscribe to the Curve Metal plan, then you get a metal debit card.

Make any card mobile ready

Even if the card you use to pay with Curve is not compatible with mobile payment services such as Apple Pay or Google Pay, you can still use Curve to pay via these services with that card.

Add Loyalty Cards

You can also add loyalty cards such as the Tesco Clubcard to the app, so you can free up your wallet even more.

Who is Curve for?

Curve’s main aim is the simplification of one’s financial life. Instead of having multiple debit and credit cards which you have to carry around if you wish to use them to pay, you can just connect all of your other cards to the Curve card via their app, then just have the Curve card with you when you are out and about. Therefore, the Curve card is definitely attractive to people with small wallets! 

In addition to that, Curve can really make life easier if you have multiple cards, and you want a way to easily manage which payments come out of which card. With the ‘Go Back In Time’ function, you can even change which card is used retrospectively, so the flexibility is great.

Curve is available to users in the following countries:

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom (excluding Crown Dependencies: Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man).

Curve – Costs and Fees

Curve BlueFree
Curve Black £9.99/month
Curve Metal£14.99/month

Other Costs:

ATM Withdrawals: Curve offer free ATM withdrawals up to a certain amount, then charge a flat £2 or 2% fee (whichever is higher). On Curve Blue you can withdraw up to £200 fee free, on Curve Black £400, and on Curve Metal £600.

Spending Overseas:Curve allow fee free spending with your card outside of your home country up to a certain amount, and above that they charge a 2% fee. On Curve Blue you can spend up to £500 every 30 days fee free, on Curve Black £15,000 per year, and on Curve Metal £60,000 per year.

How to use Curve

To sign up with Curve is very simple.

First, download the app, create an account, and then decide which tier you want to be on. Your card will then be with you within 3-5 days, and you can then activate the card via the app.

You can then add the cards that you wish to use with Curve into the app. This is incredibly easy, simply use the phone camera to scan your cards, or enter them manually.

You are then ready to pay, via your Curve card, with any of the cards you have added to the app.

Is Curve safe?

Curve is not a bank, and does not at any time hold your money. Therefore, you do not have to worry about your funds.

In addition, a great advantage of Curve, is that merchants that you purchase from never get your actual credit or debit card details, but rather the Curve card details, which greatly reduces the risk of fraud.

Section 75:

Section 75 of the UK’s Consumer Credit Act gives consumers rights to dispute payments when they have paid with a credit card, if the amount paid is between £100 and £30,000.

With Curve, any payments that you make with the card are seen as being made via a 3rd party. Therefore, if you pay with your Curve card, and use a credit card as the underlying payment method, you will not be covered by Section 75. This is essentially the same as if you were to pay via other payment providers such as Paypal whilst using a credit card to fund the purchase.

Curve explain all of this here.

Section 75 does not cover debit cards, so if payments are made with the Curve card with a debit card underlying the card, then your rights would be the same.

Curve Card Reviews – What are people saying?

Curve have a score of 3.9 out of 5 – Great – on Trustpilot, from around 4500 reviews. 71% of the reviews give Curve 5 out of 5 – Excellent. These reviews are very focused on how useful it is to be able to use one card for all transactions, and the extra safety that is given from merchants not having access to the underlying card details.

However, 11% of the reviews rate Curve at 1 out of 5 – Bad. These reviews appear to almost exclusively be focused on attempted payments being denied or issue with the customer services not being responsive. It would make sense for any potential Curve customer to look through these customer reviews and making their own decision.

Curve Alternatives

Curve is actually a rather unique product. Whilst there are other products out there that offer similar functionality, there is no-one offering a directly competing product. On one side you have Fintech app banks, such as Revolut and Monzo, offer debit cards (including metal cards), that have similar payment features, but they are banks who you need to have funds with to pay, you cannot connect other sources of fund to their cards.

On the other side, you have payment services such as Paypal, Apple Pay and Google Pay, which you can fund with external funding sources and connect other cards to, but they do not offer a physical card, or give the flexibility of changing different source payment cards in real time.

In short, if the Curve functions work for you, then they are at this stage the only game in town in their space!

Curve Pros & Cons

Pros

Curve gives you the ability to empty your wallet of all other cards and just carry one.

Merchants never get your actual card details.

You can manage all of your payments after they are already made, and even move to different cards for 30 days after the payment.

Cons

It is not currently possible to use American Express cards with Curve.

Curve is not a bank and does not offer accounts, so you cannot use it to replace your existing banking arrangements.

Conclusions

A unique and innovative product, Curve have found a way to distinguish themselves within the ever more crowded Fintech market, by offering a handy way to simplify your financial life. If you have more than 1 credit or debit card (and most of us have far more than that!) then Curve is definitely worth looking into further.