Essentially Curve lets you use more than one bank or credit card through a single “smart” card.
You manage your Curve card via an app. You can add as many bank or credit cards as you like to the app, either by taking a photo or adding the details manually. You then select in the app which card you want a transaction to be charged to.
If you use Apple Pay or Google Pay or your phone it’s the same principle. You just use a physical card and PIN to pay rather than your handset. The card is accepted anywhere that takes MasterCard.
Curve isn’t a bank like Monzo, and it doesn’t take your cash and save it up like Chip. It’s just a new middleman.
Multiple cards as one
Regular readers will know I’ve quite a few current accounts and a few credit cards – all with different benefits.
However the only ones that I regularly use – and carry in my wallet – are my cashback Amex and Tandem credit cards and my main and business bank account debit cards. To carry the rest would just be impractical.
curve card in theory allows me to add every single card and just carry the single Curve card with me instead. However there are a few restrictions. You can only add MasterCard or Visa cards to your Curve account, not any others such as American Express or Maestro. For me this is an issue as I use my Amex more than any other card, but it might not be a problem for you.
Types of Curve card
There are three options: Curve Blue, Curve Black and Curve Metal.
Curve Blue is free, Curve Black costs £9.99 a month, and Curve Metal, costs £14.99 a month or £150 if you pay upfront for a year.
This review is mainly focused on the free Curve Blue option, as most of the features apply to all the cards. But I’ll expand to cover Black and Metal where it’s relevant, and there’s an extra summary at the end on these premium options too.
I’ve used curve card for the last couple of years. On the whole it works well.
In shops and online
You use the card as you would any normal debit card. I’ve had no problems paying in shops, and it’s been handy having the option to pay via my linked business account on a few occasions.
On my bank statements, transactions appear as CRV followed by the shop name, so for example CRV*SAINSBURYS.
It works getting cash out of my current account via an ATM too. There’s a £200 a day cap. You can even get cash out using a connected credit card without incurring extra charges (normally you should never get cash out on credit cards). However there is a limit of £200 a month for this, but it’s unlimited if via your current account.
Restrictions and limits
You won’t be able to use curve card for pre-authorisations, such as pay-at-the-pump petrol or car hire deposits.
There’s a daily spending cap of £2,000, and a rolling monthly cap of £5,000. You can’t spend more than £10,000 a year. These will increase the longer you have your card.
I have had a few problems using the card online where the card was rejected, but it’s rare and this has only been when trying to spend in a foreign currency – and not every time.
Your consumer protection
Any purchase you make with Curve, even the underlying card is a credit card, isn’t covered by Section 75 of the Consumer Rights Act. These laws basically give you better protection for anything which costs more than £100. However, Curve has its own customer protection policy, and ultimately all purchases via your Curve card are covered by the Chargeback scheme.
Existing bank offers
If you have any retailer-specific offers on your underlying cards, they won’t be recognised. For example, my Halifax bank account currently offers 5% back off when you buy from Just Eat. I’d get that using my Halifax card, but not using that same card via Curve. However, it works fine for non-retailer specific offers. For example, my Tandem credit card offers 0.5% across the board, which would be recognised.