This article was updated in February 2019.

I’ve been quite open about the fact that I’m a big Curve Card fan. I’ve had one since the beta version launched back in 2016 and it’s my go-to card when spending abroad.

And the good news is that Curve has now eliminated foreign exchange fees.

You can now use your regular debit/credit cards abroad – linked to Curve – with no foreign exchange fees. 

You can find the full details below. I’ve also included an overview of how Curve works for those of you who haven’t previously read our full Curve Card review.

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What you need to know

Curve traditionally charged a 1% fee on foreign spending. This was a big improvement over the 3% charge that most banks and card companies impose when you use your regular debit or credit card abroad.  But it still wasn’t quite as good as cards like the Barclaycard Platinum Travel and Halifax Clarity which have no foreign exchange fees. It also was marginally behind the likes of Revolut, Monzo and Tandem.

That gap has now been closed as Curve has moved to level things up with the removal of the 1% charge.

Here’s what the new fees setup looks like:

Curve Blue (free): Fee-free up to £500 abroad per month. Transactions over your £500 monthly ‘allowance’ will incur an additional 2% fee.

Curve Black: Unlimited free currency conversion (subject to fair use of £15,000 a year, an additional 2% of the transaction amount added thereafter).

On weekends, Curve is ‘going down the Revolut route’ and imposing a 0.5% charge for all transactions made in GBP, EUR and USD and 1.5% for all other supported currencies. This is to cover any currency fluctuations while the currency markets are closed over the weekend.


How does Curve work?.

Curve is an app-based debit card that allows you to link any of your Visa, Mastercard and American Express cards to a single Mastercard debit card. You then pay as normal using your Curve Mastercard and Curve will recharge that purchase to whichever underlying card you currently have selected within the app. You can change this selection at any point.

As I explain below, this is extremely useful at places that don’t accept credit card payments.


Why you should have one

Here are some of the key reasons why you should look at getting a Curve card:

Carry just one card

Initially, this was how Curve was marketed. A one-card solution to save you having to ‘lug around’ a full wallet of cards.

You can link an unlimited amount of debit or credit cards to Curve.


Save when you travel abroad

Most UK debit and credit cards add an additional 3% charge for using your card abroad.

When you make a purchase abroad on a Curve card, that transaction is recharged to the underlying credit or debit card in pounds (or alternative currency), thus avoiding any bank surcharges for spending abroad.

Curve now uses the interbank exchange rate and has no additional foreign transaction fees. You are able to use all of your regular UK cards abroad and earn reward points and avoid the usual 3% charge for doing so.


Use a credit card even when the vendor says no

Many places you encounter on a daily basis will accept credit cards, especially since January’s ban on adding additional fees for using credit cards.

Yet some online sites and smaller shops only accept debit cards. Here’s where Curve is super useful. As it’s a (Mastercard) debit card, you should be able to use it to pay the likes of HMRC, utility bills and your council tax without issues!

It might just help you to get around HMRC’s ‘ban’ on using personal credit cards for example…

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No credit cards…unless you’re using a Curve card of course

Travel back in time

Without a doubt my favourite Curve feature!

Curve’s ‘Go Back in Time’ feature allows you to switch the card that you paid with, up to two weeks after a purchase. Yes, you did just read that!

Curve 'Travel Back in Time'


Curve Cashback – instant money back

Curve also allows you earn 1% cashback on all your spending at three retailers of your choice for a three-month period:

The list of retailers to choose from includes:

  • Deliveroo
  • Transport for London
  • Virgin Trains
  • Netflix
  • John Lewis
  • Asos
  • Starbucks

Choose wisely though, because you can’t change this selection at a later date.

Curve Black (see below) cardholders can choose six retailers from a premium selection of retailers.


How much does it cost?

Curve Blue

Curve Blue card

Features:

  • Free
  • 0.65% charge to use a linked American Express card – this will often still be worth it.
  • 1% cashback at 3 retailers – valid for the first 90 days of your membership
  • Unlimited fee-free foreign exchange
  • Fee-free foreign ATM withdrawals – up to £200 /month
  • Go Back in Time up to 14 days*

Curve Black

Curve Black card

Features:

  • £9.99 per month
  • £1,000 of Amex top-ups fee-free each month – 0.65% charge thereafter
  • 1% cashback at 6 premium retailers – valid for the first 90 days of your membership
  • Unlimited fee-free foreign exchange
  • Fee-free foreign ATM withdrawals up to £400 /month
  • Go Back in Time up to 14 days*
  • Worldwide travel insurance – underwritten by AXA, more on this below.
  • Electronic gadget insurance – see below for more info

Curve Metal

Curve Metal cards

Features:

  • £14.99 per month or £150 per year if paid upfront
  • Unlimited Amex top-ups 
  • 1% cashback at 6 premium retailers – valid for the first 90 days of your membership
  • Unlimited fee-free foreign exchange
  • Fee-free foreign ATM withdrawals – up to £600 /month
  • Go Back in Time up to 14 days
  • Worldwide travel insurance – underwritten by AXA, more on this below.
  • Electronic gadget insurance – see below for more info
  • Rental car Collision Damage Waiver insurance – see below for more info
  • Worldwide airport LoungeKey access – not free aka Amex Platinum, fee per visit will apply.
  • Premium 18g brushed metal card – choose from Blue, Red (limited edition) and Rose Gold

Note that Amex functionaility is currently suspended. You can find more info in this article


Get a free £5 for trying Curve

It’s not just a free card, you can also get £5 of credit just for getting one.

Here’s how it works:

Firstly, download the Curve app. You can use the App Store or Google Play links below or visit the Curve website from your mobile and follow the instructions to download the app.

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Then use code SPACX (our referral code) when ordering your card within the app and you’ll receive a free £5 credit – applied to your Curve Rewards balance – after making your first purchase.

There is no credit check when applying for a Curve card. 


Verdict

As I’ve said, I’ve always believed Curve was worth it for me. Sure I was paying an extra 1% to spend abroad, but the flip side was that it allowed me to continue earning miles and points via my linked UK credit cards.

The tricky thing was that you’d always have to sell that argument to friends – friends who were usually keen on Revolut/Monzo etc.

Now that is no longer a problem. By moving to 0% foreign transaction fees, Curve has made themselves truly competitive.

You can apply for a Curve Card by downloading their app

Have you tried Curve Card?

4 thoughts

    1. Interesting. Do you mind to shed some more light on this – when have you been have been hit by a 3.5% fee? Unless you mean if you go above the cash withdrawal £200/£400 monthly limits plus the weekend surcharge?

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