- Combines your cards in one smart card
- Curve customer protection up to £100,000
- Up to £600/m fee-free foreign ATM withdrawals
- 1% Cashback
- Worldwide travel insurance
- Rental car collision waiver insurance
- Access to fair FX rates
The Curve app is a fintech offering that allows you to connect all your accounts via one smart card and your smartphone. If you have a crowded wallet, Curve just might be an answer for you. Here’s our short verdict before we jump into the Curve review:
A unique player in the digital banking world, Curve is trying to make your life easier by combining all bank cards into one. It’s great when it works as intended, but when there are problems, you could be stuck waiting for their slow customer service.
Curve has been around since 2015 when Shachar Bialick, now the company’s CEO, founded the fintech in London where it’s still based. The app first went public in Ireland and the UK in January 2018. It offers a really unique benefit to its customers, one that no other companies really offer on the market.
Why is Curve so special?
With Curve, you can combine all your payment cards from other banks or financial institutions into one app and card. That means that you can make payments or even ATM withdrawals with just one card – the Curve card.
You can switch the bank card you paid with inside the app and even move payments from one to the other. Handy, if you’ve made a mistake.
If one of the payment cards gets declined, Curve will automatically try to use your backup card.
Pros and cons
- Easy to sign up
- 1% cashback
- Switch old payments
- Great for people with many cards
- Google Pay, Samsung Pay, and Apple Pay compatible
- Optional metal card
- Free account lacklustre
- Bad customer service
- Amex, Maestro, Diners not supported
- Monthly fee for Blue and Metal
- 2% fee or a £2 charge after the monthly ATM limit
Who is Curve for?
The Curve app is available in EEA and the UK. A total of 31 countries in Europe – from the United Kingdom to Spain and Sweden. They are planning to expand to the US in 2021 as well.
If you have multiple debit or credit cards that you’re carrying around with you, you should consider Curve.
How to open a Curve account?
The signup process is done on your smartphone – after downloading the Curve app from the Google Play Store or App Store, you can order a Curve Mastercard after following the signup instructions – you are then sent a confirmation email.
After being verified, you can load your Mastercard or Visa cards (both debit and credit) to the app.
How to add funds?
Rather than adding funds, you can add various cards to Curve. These include Mastercard and Visa debit and credit cards, but do not include Maestro, American Express, UnionPay or JCB.
In terms of the cards – Curve Blue is free with no monthly subscription. It’s a stripped-down version of the paid account, as free accounts usually are.
Curve Black costs £/€9.99 per month and offers 1 percent cashback from up to three selected retailers for unlimited time, unlimited access to fair FX rates, and worldwide travel insurance.
The Curve Metal account gets you a cool red metal card, unlimited FX rates, £/€600/m free foreign ATM withdrawals, six retailers for cashback, worldwide travel insurance, phone, and rental car collision insurance, and LoungeKey access.
One way of working out which option – Curve Blue, Black, or Metal – is better for you is to weigh up your spending against the expected annual cost.
If you aren’t likely to be spending enough to justify the Curve Black or Metal fee, it might be better to stick with Curve Blue, which can still offer you the advantages of £200/m ATM withdrawals and low foreign exchange fees (up to £500).
If you regularly travel and withdraw large amounts of money, Curve Black or Metal will be far more suitable.
There are no fees when using the Curve Mastercard itself in the UK, and it will cost you nothing to deposit money, withdraw money, or make transfers. Abroad, you are charged 0.5 percent for transactions on the weekend, but nothing during the week.
There is a withdrawal limit of £200 from foreign ATMs for personal accounts, with £500 for business accounts. There are also daily spending limits from £2000 upwards.
The Curve app must be commended for its user-friendliness. A simple yet functional layout gives you easy access to features such as a dashboard that allows you to check all the balances of your cards, manage them, add new cards, and view your rewards. There is also a transaction timeline.
Curve customer protection
The company offers customer protection that helps you raise disputes to get money back if you have an issue with something that you purchased with your Curve card. Here are some of the scenarios:
- Counterfeit goods
- Goods or services defective
- Not delivered
- Merchant failed to refund
- Duplicate charge
You need to contact Curve directly and not your underlying payment card issuer. Otherwise, the protection will no longer apply.
Go Back in Time
If you’ve made the mistake and paid with the wrong card, you can switch payments from one card to another up to 90 days after the transaction.
Is Curve good for travel?
The higher withdrawal limit from foreign ATMs (£/€600/m) with no fee makes Curve Metal a compelling option for frequent travellers, although Curve Black also offers no foreign exchange fee on transactions, so it can still be useful to moderate spenders overseas.
You can also get cashback on Booking.com and Easyjet. And from the security point, you get real-time notifications of all your spending in your own or foreign currency.
There’s also a unique feature where you can take all your cards out with you while the real ones stay safe in your hotel. Then, if your Curve card is lost or stolen, you can instantly freeze it in the app and have peace of mind.
How is Curve regulated?
Curve is an e-money institution (EMI) authorised in Lithuania by the Bank of Lithuania for cards issued in the EEA. For cards issued in the UK, the company is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to issue electronic money. That means that Curve is as safe as any other FCA-regulated body.
Is my money safe with Curve?
Curve is authorised and regulated by government bodies and therefore must comply with laws and rules across Europe that pertain to finance, customer protection, data protection, and anti-laundering. It has real-time spending alerts and the ability to lock and unlock the card at will.
Who owns Curve?
Curve is based in London and was founded in 2015 by Anna Mostyn-Williams, Shachar Bialick(CEO), and Tom Foster-Carter.
The company raised more than $182 million from six rounds of funding. The last round, in May 2021, brought in £9.4 million.
It has 29 investors, including Crowdcube, Fuel Venture Capital, IDC Ventures, Vulcan Capital, Gauss Ventures, Breega, Connect Ventures, and others.
Curve has a 4.1-star rating out of 5 on Trustpilot, with 72% of 4,400 reviewers giving it an excellent mark and 11% a bad one. With a score of 4.1 stars, Curve is worse than Monzo (4.5), Starling (4.3) and Revolut (4.4), for example.
Nearly all the bad reviews have one thing in common – they all had a terrible experience with customer service. Unfortunately, bad customer service is nothing new for digital banks as many of them have the same issue even after years of being in the business.
You can contact customer service via email at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or use the chat option in the Curve app. Also, if you think you lost your card or it was stolen, make sure to call Curve ASAP on +44(0)2033222585 (lines are open 24/7).
Curve is pretty unique in the fintech world and there aren’t any competitors quite like it. There are other capable digital banks that are available in the UK and the EEA, territories where Curve is also available.
Although it’s still behind Monzo and Revolut in the number of downloads and users, Starling Bank is the strongest digital banking app in the UK at the moment. Their free personal and business accounts have won rewards four years in a row.
Revolut is a digital challenger bank that made a dent in the stale banking space across the world (but mainly the UK and Europe to some degree). Their financial super-app, can transfer money all over the world, help you invest in crypto, stocks, and commodities (gold and silver), get travel insurance, exchange money with no hidden fees, and much more.
Although N26 isn’t available in the UK anymore, it is available in the rest of Europe and the US. It offers free and paid accounts with plenty of perks that are attractive to many existing and potential customers.
The bottom line
If you have a number of cards and need to manage them more effectively, signing up for Curve can be the answer, offering you many benefits along the way. But it also seems that the service might be too complicated for most, as only 14% of Curve customers seem to use it more than once per month.
Adrian Volenik is a fintech enthusiast who loves testing and reviewing digital banking apps and financial products in general. How many digital banking accounts can one man have? Not enough, if you ask Adrian. As his wallet will soon explode if he doesn’t cut back on the number of cards.