The Curve Card is one of the most useful cards you can take with you on holiday. This nifty debit card featured in our 2019 update of the best cards to use abroad, but it’s worth giving this specific card the spotlight because it entails so many benefits for UK reward points collectors. Let’s take a look at the key benefits of the Curve card and how it can help you to maximise your miles and points.
What is Curve and how does it work?
First, it’s important to note that Curve is not a bank account like Monzo or Revolut. If you get a Curve card, you won’t be getting a current account. A Curve card also isn’t a prepaid currency card like a FairFX card. Essentially, a Curve card is an intermediary card, a Mastercard, which can be linked to all of your current Visa and Mastercard cards (both debit and credit). You get a physical smart card linked to the Curve app (which together combine all your bank cards in one). Using the app, you simply select which of your cards you’d like to be the underlying card when making your purchases.
Both the card and the app with the standard ‘blue’ account are free and the company even provides you with £5 to get you started. The premium Black Card Mastercard involves a one-off fee of £50 – and with this card, you’ll also get limited edition Curve TUMI wallet (worth £60).
For purchases abroad, there is a 1% fee, and for ATM withdrawals abroad, there is a flat £2 fee per withdrawal.
The benefits of the Curve card
There’s a whole host of benefits you can enjoy when using the Curve card:
- You don’t have to carry multiple cards around with you.
- You can link an unlimited number of cards to your Curve account.
- When you make a purchase using your Curve card, the transaction is recharged to the underlying credit or debit card in pounds (or alternative currency), which means you avoid any bank surcharges for spending abroad. (Most UK credit and debit cards an additional 3% charge for using your card abroad.)
- You can use all your cards abroad, avoiding the 3% surcharge, and earn your normal reward points and miles.
- Using the Curve app, you can block or unblock your card whenever you want. This is extremely helpful if it’s lost or you believe it’s being used fraudulently. The ability to reactivate the card with a push of the button is a key benefit, as no one wants to get in the position of cancelling a card thinking it’s lost, only to find it later and then unable to use it again.
- Some online sites and smaller shops only accept debit card. However, since Curve is a (Mastercard) debit card, you should be able to use to pay HMRC (which has banned payments via personal credit cards), utility bills, and your council tax without any issues.
- If you realise you made a purchase using the underlying wrong card, you can switch the card for up to two weeks since the purchase. This is known as the ‘Go Back in Time’ feature.
- You can enjoy 1% cashback on all of your spendings at three retailers of your choice, with available retailers including Deliveroo, Transport for London, Virgin Trains, Netflix, John Lewis, Asos, and Starbucks. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to change this selection again. Cardholders with a Curve Black account can choose six retailers.
What are the disadvantages?
There aren’t many disadvantages associated with the Curve card but a couple are worth highlighting. For example, depending on your card, you might not get the same level of purchase protection between the card issuer and the vendor when using your Curve card. This is because you lose the useful Section 75 protection you’d normally get when paying with your credit card. As a Mastercard debit card, purchases made using the Curve card are covered by the chargeback scheme, which offers some recourse in the case of situations like fraud and faulty goods but the protection is not as strong as that provided by Section 75. For this reason, you might want to use your credit card directly when making larger purchases.
There are also low spending limits (at least to begin with). These are initially:
- £2,000 spend per day
- £5,000 spend per month (rolling 30 days)
- £200 cash withdrawal per day
- £10,000 yearly (rolling 365 days)
In time, this can be increased to:
- £3,750 spend per day
- £20,000 spend per month (rolling 30 days)
- £1,000 cash withdrawal per day
- £50,000 yearly (rolling 365 days)
In spite of these slight disadvantages, the number and uniqueness of the benefits certainly make the Curve card a highly attractive choice. You can visit the Curve website to download the app and then use the code SPACX (our referral code) when signing up to receive a free £5 credit after making your first purchase.