Not too long ago, I saw the Curve card being advertised and thought it was just another mobile bank. I quickly forgot about it and got on with my life. However, last week I did a bit of research into it and realised that it’s not a bank at all; it’s possibly one of the best money management tools out there.
What exactly is a Curve card?
Rather than being just another mobile bank, like Monzo or Starling, Curve is more of a digital wallet. It is to banking what Kindle is to books; a library for all of your debit and credit cards.
Curve allows you to store all of your Visa and Mastercard debit and credit cards on the app and spend on them using just one card – the Curve card.
It does this by mimicking the card that you set it to via the app. For example, let’s say I wanted to use my Starling card to make a purchase. All I’d need to do is log in to the app, select my Starling card and bingo, instantly, the Curve card will act as if it were my Starling card.
The Curve card then continues to act as the Starling card until I select another card via the app.
What cards are available?
Currently, Curve offers three cards, each with their own plan and pricing.
- Curve Blue is Free
- Curve Black is £9.99/month
- Curve Metal is £14.99/month
While the metal one looks super stylish and comes with some great premium features (worldwide travel insurance and gadget cover), I opted instead for Curve Blue – the free one.
Why I decided to get the Curve card
At the moment, I have 11 different cards and, as you can imagine, carrying them all around isn’t very practical. While there are some cards that I don’t use that often, I still like to have them with me nonetheless.
Curve appealed to me mainly because it can replicate all of my cards. Like Ditto from Pokemon, this shapeshifting card can become whatever card I want it to be, meaning I no longer have to carry a wallet full of shiny plastic.
Why so many cards?
At this point, you might be wondering why on earth do I have so many different cards in the first place. Let me explain.
With interest rates in the UK at historically low levels (0.75%), finding savings accounts that beat inflation can be challenging.
In this low-savings environment, you have to perform some financial acrobatics in order to get good returns on your savings.
To begin with, you have to find accounts that offer good interest rates on your savings.
The problem however is that most of these accounts have restrictions on how much you can deposit. This limits how much interest you can earn and means you have to find other places to put the rest of your money.
This usually means opening up a few different accounts so you can split your savings up, deposit the max amount, and earn as much interest as possible from each account.
Each account = 1 card.
On top of those accounts, I also have joint cards, credit cards, and a few travel cards.
How can the Curve card help you?
Aside from reducing the amount of cards you have to carry around with you, the Curve card also helps to:
- Keep track of all your spending by having it all in one place rather than spread over all of your accounts – this helps massively with budgeting
- Track business expenses across multiple cards – you can tag any transaction as a business expense making it really easy to filter them out from all of your cards
- Eliminate fees when spending abroad – cards like Monzo, Starling and Revolut already offer this but Curve allows you to spend on your traditional UK bank accounts (e.g. Lloyds or Natwest). This is at no extra charge and you also get the interbank rate (there are foreign spending limits though that you need to be aware of)
- Accumulate points on credit cards – some credit cards may not be accepted by all retailers meaning you can’t get the points on some transactions. By using the Curve card, you can bypass that problem and still get the points onto the underlying card
- Add another layer of protection – having just one card means that if you lose it or it gets stolen, you can simply lock it, cancel it and order another one. However, losing a wallet full of different cards can be a nightmare
Go Back In Time
With Curve being app-based, I wondered what would happen if I couldn’t access the app prior to spending. What if my phone was dead, or I couldn’t get onto WiFi, or I forgot to change the card over before making a purchase.
Luckily, what’s great about Curve is that they have a feature called ‘Go back in time’. This is the ability to move the transaction to any of your other registered cards so long as it is under £1,000 and within 14 days of the original transaction.
Curve also have their own cashback scheme which gives a healthy 1% cashback at selected retailers. For the Curve Blue and Black, you choose 3 retailers from Curve’s list whereas the Metal plan allows you to pick 6 retailers.
However, with the Curve Blue, you only get 1% cashback at your 3 chosen retailers as part of a 3-month introductory offer. After that, you won’t receive cashback anymore.
Like everything, there are always drawbacks but Curve has relatively few:
- General spending limits – while the spending limits seem quite generous to me, especially as I’m not a big spender, this may be a problem for some others. These general spending limits, which are different to the foreign spending limits, change depending on which plan you are on and how long you have been using the card.
- Does not currently allow you to link Amex cards up – the relationship between Curve and American Express has been rocky. Curve did previously allow Amex cards to be linked but Amex suddenly pulled the plug. It’s not certain whether Amex will rejoin the scheme but there is a strong push for them to do so. This alone will be a dealbreaker for many people as Amex cards often have the best reward schemes in the UK
- Only 1% cashback for the first 3-months on Curve Blue – This is only a minor gripe as I understand that Curve need to try and transition new free users into the higher tiers but in the future, it would be nice to see some sort of permanent cashback scheme for the free Curve Blue card, even if it was only for just a single retailer
How can I get a Curve Card?
If you do decide to sign up for a Curve card, just download the app and fill out some details. It should only take a few minutes and your card usually comes within a week. You can also use the promo code D4KR88ZE to get a free £5. I will get a free £5 too. Win-win!
If you have any questions about Curve, or if you already have a Curve card and want to share your experience using it, please feel free to leave a comment down below.