Sometimes, when something seems too good to be true, it normally is. When I first read about the Curve card – it felt a little like that.
What is a Curve card?
Essentially, the Curve card looks like your average Mastercard – but it’s a lot smarter than it looks. It is essentially a ‘dummy’ card, that can mimic your credit and debit cards. You control which card you want it to be via the Curve App – if you want to use your Natwest Debit Card, just select it in the app, and instantly – your Curve card will pull funds out from there. If you go to another shop and want to buy something with your Virgin Credit Card – fire up the app, select your Credit card instead. Immediately, the Curve card IS your credit card.
So in theory – you just need one card in your wallet / purse, and the others can stay at home. As you buy, notifications are sent to your phone, and receipts to your email – instantly. You can also lock your Curve card instantly within the app, so if you drop it, or lose it – it’s as easy as sliding a slider to stop any use.
Is it secure?
Well, seeing as all the major UK financial institutes are on-board with it, then – it’s clearly been thoroughly thought out and tested. The only missing ‘party’ is AMEX, I imagine because of the massive fees they charge per transaction. Plus, none of your ‘real’ card details are stored within your phone, or the app. If your phone or card go missing, all your ‘real’ details are safe. Plus, in my opinion, it’s probably more preferable to lose one Curve card (that can be locked instantly), rather than a whole wallet of cards. Curve can replace a wallet full of cards – you’re allowed UNLIMITED cards attached to the one Curve Card.
How do I get one and what does it cost?
There are currently two types of Curve card – Blue and Black. The Blue one is now free and the Black is £50
The difference between the two is that soon, Curve Rewards will be earned for spending your Curve at selected retailers.You will get up to 2.5% for Curve Blue users, and 5% for Curve Black users. I’ve got a Blue Card, and I’m perfectly happy with it.
There is a small limitation on the availability of Curve now – it’s only available to ‘business’ folk. Now, this doesn’t mean you have to be a swanky person in a suit and tie. If you’re self-employed, freelance, a company director or business owner, you are eligible to apply for a card. Considering most bloggers are freelance – you can get one! Speaking of which – if you order one here and use code XQWE7 to register, you’ll get £5 credit on your account when you first use it.
There is a ‘consumer’ version coming in the future – so you can be part of the club too.
Using it Abroad
Curve is accepted by anyone who takes a Mastercard – so it can be used around the world. If you use it abroad you’ll be charged the MasterCard exchange rate + 1%, so perhaps it’s not as cheap as Revolut. But because the transactions to your bank are in pounds, you won’t be charged their hideous exchange rates. The convenience of having all your cards in one can’t be ignored. If you’re away on holiday you can keep your ‘real’ cards locked away in the hotel’s safe, and just rock one card whilst out.
Charges and Limits
Transactions, Cashback, and ATM Withdrawals in your ‘home’ country are completely free, if you withdraw from an International ATM, there is a £2 charge.
There are limits on your account to begin with, namely –
£200 cash per day
£2000 per day/ per transaction
£5000 rolling 30 day spend
If after 4-6 weeks of using your card, you need these increased Curve will happily look at doing this for you.
Adding your Cards
Everything is done within the Curve App, which is available on Android and iOS – you have to verify each bank card you add. This is done by entering the card details, or taking a photo of the back card. Curve will then debit a small amount from that card and refund it again. Once it appears on your bank / card statement you’ll see a unique code attached to that transaction – enter it within the app and voila – your card is ready to use! It’s particularly clever how it ‘knows’ the artwork on your card, so you can quickly identify them when you’re switching.
I’ve had my Curve card for a few weeks now, and I’m really finding it very useful – it’s worth a look, especially as the Blue card is free at the moment. Plus as I mentioned earlier, you get £5 for free using the code XQWE7 during signup! – free money can never be argued with!