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Curve Mastercard

Curve is a modern payment card that is managed by Curve application. Transactions are forwarded to a linked card selected by the user.

Curve Card: Is It Suitable for a Traveller?

  • By Finnoy Travel
  • Updated: 09/05/21 | June 12, 2021

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Table of Contents

  1. Curve Mastercard Review
  2. Is Curve a Credit Card?
  3. What Are the Benefits of the Curve?
    1. Benefit 1: Multiple Cards Management by Curve
    2. Benefit 2: Debit Fronted Credit
    3. Benefit 3: Clear Spending Statistics
    4. Benefit 4: Free Currency Conversions
    5. Curve Weekend Fee
    6. Benefit 5: Free Curve Cash Withdrawal
    7. Benefit 6: Curve Protections
    8. Benefit 7: Google and Apple Pay
  4. Future of Curve
    1. Curve Credit
  5. Curve Subscription Levels
    1. Curve Blue
    2. Curve Black Card
    3. Curve Metal Card
  6. Curve Cash
    1. Paying with Curve Cash
    2. Targeted Cashback Offers
  7. Curve Safety Features and Insurances
    1. Customer Protection
    2. Travel Insurance
    3. Electronic Gadget Insurance
    4. Rental Car Collision Damage Waiver
  8. Our Way to Use Curve Card
  9. Rating
  10. Where to Order Curve?
    1. Curve in the USA
  11. Bottom Line

Read the article to know how to earn cashback.

Curve Mastercard Review

We have been using Curve debit card already many years and been happy with its modern features. In this review, we tell about our own Curve experiences and analyse the card from a traveller´s point of view.

Is Curve a Credit Card?

Curve is not a credit card. You can't buy or pay anything with a Curve card alone, instead at least one right credit or debit card is needed to be linked with. Curve Blue is a free payment card that conveys a payment transaction to another card set in advance by the card user. For example, with the combination of Curve and Bank Norwegian credit card, the transaction is executed in Curve, which forwards the payment in real time to Norwegian's credit card.

Since Curve is not a traditional card, almost anyone living in the European Economy area (EEA) can get it by ordering online. A London-based company is behind this card, but Curve card is marketed in the EEA and soon avaiable also in the United States. Curve card is a genuine plastic or metal card bearing the same features as all bank cards have, it is PIN-code enabled and it has contactless payment feature. All the settings of the card can be managed easily thru the application installed into a mobile phone. The card can be used in the internet and physically in almost any Mastercard approved shopping site just like a regular card.

Curve is based in London, thus it declares some of the fees and limits in British Pounds. However, a user may select his/her card's transaction currency from multiple options. For example, residents within the EEA can set Euros as their payment currency which can be easily customized thru the Curve app.

What Are the Benefits of the Curve?

Someone might be wondering what are the additional benefits given by this card. Transferring a payment to another card is not in itself an added value, but benefits come from Curve's other features. We have been using Curve card for long time and based on our experiences, we will tell about Curve's benefits.

Benefit 1: Multiple Cards Management by Curve

To holders of multiple payment cards, Curve is an excellent tool. The card user can pay all purchases with Curve card and choose from the application to which preferred card should the transactions be sent. The selected card can still be changed or customized later in a case of change of mind or an honest mistake for choosing the wrong card while paying. The correction can be made within 30 days after the payment transaction. Let's simply put into this, you have set in your Curve application, that you have 3 payment cards, cards A, B, and C. You made a transaction that is supposed to be billed to Card C instead of Card A. No worries about this, you can still make corrections by simply using the Curve app. You have 30 days after the time of the purchase to make such a correction.

This feature of Curve card is useful especially for those who have their own credit cards, work cards and perhaps a common card among couples. You can always pay for a purchase with Curve, and choose from the application beforehand or afterwards to which card it will be charged.

Benefit 2: Debit Fronted Credit

With Curve, you can pay with a credit card even in stores that accept only debit payments. Curve itself is a debit card which is able to forward the transaction to an underlying credit card.

This feature comes with an extra 1,5% charge when paying government fees. See the latest fee information on the Curve website.

Benefit 3: Clear Spending Statistics

The Curve app provides clear statistics as to where money was spent. By using categories, the app shows how much money has been spent on, for example, travel, entertainment, groceries or food and drinks etc. At the point of purchase, the retailer forwards the information to which category the purchase belongs. Using this information, Curve knows how to make statistics about money spending by a particular card user.

Curve spending statistics

The Curve app gives a clear picture on money spending using different categories over the month.

Benefit 4: Free Currency Conversions

Curve does free currency conversions on the bank days. Normally, for purchases either with a debit or credit card, paying with a currency outside the card's home currency, the bank converts the amount into the currency of your bank card using the average exchange rate of the currency involved and the bank also charges a conversion fee of about 2%. Curve handles the conversion on behalf of the underlying card without any reward.

In our case, we are using cards issued by banks in Finland having euro as the home currency. When we travelled to Israel where the currency is Israeli New Shekel (a non-euro currency), Curve converted this foreign currency into euros using the current exchange rate and transferred the payment to the selected card in euros. No service or conversion fees were added to our bills from purchases made with the card.

We had Curve as our payment card during our travels recently in Croatia, Turkey and Israel. The application told us how much money was saved through free currency conversions. During our travels abroad, we have saved easily 2% of our travel budget without having to pay for currency conversion. This, of course, only applies to purchases outside your local currency.

We made a test at Split Airport in Croatia to see if Curve will not charge for the currency conversion. We picked up 300 Croatian Kuna from the same slot machine, first using the Bank Norwegian card and then the Curve card that redirected the charge to Bank Norwegian.

  • Bank Norwegian: 300 Croatian Kuna -> 41,34 euros
  • Curve: 300 Croatian Kuna -> 40,44 euros

Savings from above withdrawal transaction was 0.9€ or 2.1% of the amount involved in this transaction. In other words, Curve produced more savings than we had expected during this test.

However, there are Curve spending limits: Within one day, you can use the card for payments up to £2000 and during the 30-day time window, you can pay for a maximum amount of £5,000. The maximum withdrawal amount from ATMs is about £1,000 a month. In addition, the limitations set in the linked payment cards are naturally valid.

Spending limits are only estimates and new users may have lower limits. After Curve knows more about the card usage, the limits may increase.

Curve Weekend Fee

It should be noted, however, that Curve's terms and conditions stipulate that the conversion is free only within bank hours. In late evenings or during weekends, Curve uses the last available exchange rates and adds a weekend fee. The weekend fee is 0.5 percent for transactions made in Euros, Pounds or Dollars to cover the currency risk. For other currencies, the fee is 1,5 percents. The reward is still comparably lower than credit cards have in general.

Benefit 5: Free Curve Cash Withdrawal

With the free version of Curve card, you can withdraw money from ATM machines at least £200 within a month period without costs.

However, this advantage can be a trap. Although Curve does not charge ATM withdrawal fees, some ATMs may ask for withdrawal fees. Therefore, it is important to check carefully whether the withdrawal transaction is free or not before proceeding from such ATMs. If you want to avoid withdrawal fees, be patient to check other automated teller machines that allows free withdrawal as you will always find them quickly from place to place.

Since Curve needs to transmit the transaction details to another card, the issuer of this card may charge for withdrawals. When you use ATMs with a Curve card, it is important to direct the transaction to a card that does not ask for fees when using ATMs. A good choice is, for example, a credit card from Bank Norwegian that does not charge you for using the ATM.

Benefit 6: Curve Protections

Like every existing credit card, Curve card offers protection to its card users. For example, when we travelled in Krakow, Poland, we had a small problem while paying for the dining. Ceasar made it clear twice to the restaurant staff that he pays in Polish currency, Poland zloty. Thanks to the real-time report of transactions, Ceasar got directly a notification from such payment thru the Curve app. We approached the cashier and asked her to kindly correct the payment, by shifting the chargeable amount to local money instead of GBP. She repeatedly said, she can't do anything to make changes to this transaction. Ceasar then contacted Team Curve via email. After few conversations, we were happy to get a positive response from Curve:

...Thanks for sending this through.

The dispute process is quite lengthy and not always successful. Due to the value of the transaction, we would like to refund you as a gesture of goodwill.

We can see that without the merchant's exchange rate, the 110 PLN would be 23.08 GBP. We would, therefore, like to refund you 1.85 GBP directly...

From such quick and helpful response from Team Curve, we felt like they value every single customer they have.

Benefit 7: Google and Apple Pay

Curve is a modern card so it supports Google and Apple Pay. That means, it is enough to have your phone with. No physical card is needed.

screenshot of curve card benefits

The benefits of using Curve Card as summarized in this image.

Future of Curve

Curve is still a young product and it is continously developing and becoming a global brand. We have heard that there are new handy features to be launched still in 2021.

Curve Credit

Curve is testing a credit feature in the UK. After the test phase, the feature will be launched in Europe and in the United States. As we are not living in the UK, we have have not been able to beta test this feature yet.

Curve Subscription Levels

Curve Blue

The features we mentioned above are included in the free Curve Blue card. It doesn't cost anything to avail this card, and there is no monthly charge for the card usage. Curve Blue is a perfect choice for budget travellers.

Curve Black Card

There is also a paid version of Curve with a lot of more features: Curve Black. The acquisition of this card does not cost anything, but there is a monthly fee of €9.99. The card has the same features as the Curve Blue card and a few extra features:

  • Higher ATM withdrawal limit up to £400 per month
  • The card includes a travel insurance.
  • The card includes an electronic gadget insurance.
  • 1% cashback at 3 selected retailers

The minimum subscription period for Curve Black is 6 months. By paying 12 months in advance, you will get a discount.

Curve Metal Card

Curve Metal is the best subscription in terms of card the benefits. It costs £14.99 monthly.

Curve Metal has a few more perks.

  • As the name says, the card is made of metal.
  • Spending limits are even higher.
  • The card has a travel insurance, an electronic gadget insurance and a rental car collision damage waiver.
  • 1% cashback at 6 selected retailers
  • Visits to LoungeKey airport lounges for a discounted rate

The minimum subscription period for Curve Metal is 6 months. By paying 12 months in advance, you will get a discount.

Curve_metal_card

The Curve Metal Card is literally made out from metal material and it has the best perks among the Curve Card selections.

Curve Cash

Curve Black and Curve Metal are giving 1% cashback called Curve Cash from the purchases made at selected retailers. Curve Black users may select 3 retailers and Curve Metal holders 6. The list is long including for example Amazon, Shell, Lidl, Booking.com etc. The payback is paid by Curve and you will still get possible bonus points from the underlying cards.

Paying with Curve Cash

Curve Cash is collected to the Curve application. It can be used to pay any purchase in the same way as using any payment card linked to Curve. However, in order to pay a purchase with Curve Cash, you need to have Curve Cash for the whole amount of the payment.

It is also possible to use Curve Cash automatically by turning the feature on. Then, Curve Cash will always be used when the payment amount is less than your Curve Cash saldo. Otherwise, the user-selected payment card will be used in the normal way.

Targeted Cashback Offers

We have heard, that in the UK, there are targeted Cashback offers for the Curve users. For example, you may get 20% money back when ordering food from Uber Eats. In Finland, Curve has not yet published similar offers.

Curve Safety Features and Insurances

Curve subscriptions have safety features, insurances and protections. In the Curve App, you see all transactions in the real time. The card can be temporarily locked on the application and opened as easily. Therefore, following your transactions and spending in the real time is easy with the Curve App.

When using the card in the internet, Curve authenticates the user strongly. That happens with a PIN code sent by a SMS to the user´s phone or via the Curve App.

Customer Protection

Curve Customer Protection protects you against unsuccessful or fraudulent purchases. Fraudulent or otherwise unauthorized transactions will be refunded. You may also ask for the refund if you have not received the purchased item or the service or there have been some quality issues. The exact terms are complicated and we recommend you to check them on Curve´s website.

For example, if you have booked flights but the airline goes to bankrupt before the travel dates, you may be allowed for a refund.

Travel Insurance

Curve Black and Curve Metal include a travel insurance provided by AXA Travel Insurance.

The travel insurance covers medical expenses and your belongings with a small excess. Check carefully the terms to find out if the insurance is good enough for your travelling habits.

Electronic Gadget Insurance

Curve Black and Curve Metal include electronic gadget insurance. The insurance covers, for example, tablets and laptops. .

Electronic Gadget Insurance is a part of the travel insurance.

Rental Car Collision Damage Waiver

Curve Metal´s travel insurance has also a cover for a rental car collision, a damage or a theft.

Usually, insurance terms are complicated so you must read them carefully. We are not giving you any advice if these Curve insurances are suitable for you.

Our Way to Use Curve Card

You may have been wondering, which payment cards we have linked to Curve. The optimal combination depends on your location and most likely, our model does not work for you. Anyway, we tell it briefly.

We pay almost all our daily spending and purchases with Curve. We have linked Bank Norwegian Visa Credit and Nordea Mastercard Debit/Credit to our Curve Apps. Bank Norwegian Visa is especially a good choice, because it gives 1% cashback usable for Norwegian Air Shuttle flights, it has free ATM withdrawals and no monthly fee. Nordea's Mastercard does not have similar perks, but as our main bank provider, it is a good backup card.

Rating

Curve together with the Curve App makes directing transactions to different cards easy. You will also stay aware of your own spending habits. Our Curve cards have technically been working almost in the perfect way and the customer service has been good but sometimes a little slow.

Currently, we have subscribed to Curve Metal level with nice extra features. The level offers insurances, a LoungeKey membership and the cashback feature. These are really useful perks while travelling but not unique among payment cards.

We rate Curve as a 4-star card based on our own experiences.

Where to Order Curve?

It is really easy to order Curve. You need to install Curve App to your phone. The card can be ordered via the app and it will be delivered to your home in 2 weeks.

Curve Black and Metal give 1% bonus on purchases from selected merchants. The merchant list includes among others: Lidl and Shell. In other words, you get one percent bonus for all Lidl purchases. The bonus accumulates in the Curve application, from which it can be used later.

Download Curve App via our referral link and you will get 1% cashback on almost everything for the first 30 days.

Curve in the USA

Curve card will be launched in the Unites States still in 2021. We recommend people to join Curve´s waitlist in order to be among the first Curve users in the USA. Curve with its application is a handy tool for a traveller.

Bottom Line

According to our Curve review, Curve is an excellent payment card among travellers whose destinations are using a different currency from one's own home currency. As a free card, Curve Blue brings clear savings in currency conversion costs. The card is also suitable for those who travel for work with credit cards from different banks. In addition, Curve is also a great choice for daily spending. As a basic rule, when using credit cards, one needs to spend wisely when using Curve card too.

Since Curve Blue is completely free, trying it yourself is the easiest way to find out the suitability of this card for yourself.

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Destination: United Kingdom, Finland

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While there is always a risk that flights can be cancelled anytime by airlines, you should ensure your booking payments to be refundable in case of such cancellation. We use a reliable payment card which gives additional security and savings while travelling and so we recommend you getting your own Curve Card.

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Readers' Comments (2)

  1. 07-27-2021 at 12:11pm UTC by Hohn :

    Excellent review. I wrote a review on my blog if anyone is interested. One thing that put me off is after so many transactions/ or a certain amount you need so send Curve a copy of your ID. However, Curve doesn't bother to tell you this, until you are making a payment and it does not work. I've also had a few declined transactions. Once they sort this out it will be a great service. The metal card is beautiful too... but not sure if it's on the expensive side.

    1. 07-27-2021 at 12:17pm UTC by Finnoy Travel :

      Thanks for the comment, Hohn.

      I read your review too and you had many good points. Especially, the protections of underlaying cards are in the grey area and users are missing American Express support.

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