Curve Card - free cash, tips and maximising credit card rewards

Travel rewards Nov 22, 2019

The Curve card acts as a debit card which can be linked to any one of your existing credit (or debit) cards. This is particularly useful when you have a credit card which offers rewards for spend (such as the IHG premium credit card in the UK). Debit cards are more widely accepted which allows you to generate spend on your rewards credit card in places you wouldn't normally be able to.

In this article

  1. Firstly, sign up to curve and get free curve cash
  2. Get a decent credit card that rewards spend and then use Curve to maximise credit card rewards
  3. Compare Curve Blue vs Curve Black vs Curve Metal
  4. Curve can be great but don't forget there are things to watch out for when using Curve
  5. Recent updates from Curve

Free Curve cash

New users can get £5 to spend anywhere when signing up to Curve and using the promo code D56LJOON

Curve also have an ongoing promotion where you can select 3 retailers and receive 1% cashback for the first 90 days. 1% isn't a huge amount but with various supermarkets and online retailers available to select it should allow you to generate some extra cash.

Bonus cash for signing up and from cashback offers is added to your card as "Curve Cash". However, you can select Curve Cash and then spend on your card at any retailer to use the free cash.

Maximising credit card rewards

Places to use your Curve card where you may not have been able to use the underlying credit card:

  • Savings accounts - check your savings accounts to see which allow you deposit via debit card. This is an excellent way to put large amounts of spend through your underlying rewards credit card.
  • Utilities - check whether your electricity, gas, water, phone, broadband, mobile provider etc allow payments via debit card. Even if you are setup to pay your bill automatically via direct debit they will most allow you to put a large payment using a debit card which will then reduce your monthly direct debit payments.
  • HMRC/tax payments - the government doesn't allow payments to be made by credit card but accepts Curve cards. If you have a tax bill due to being self employed or need to make a payment to HMRC for another reason it's a great option to use your Curve card for a large payment.

Curve Blue vs Curve Black vs Curve Metal

Curve Blue is Curve's free offering and there is no need to worry that you won't benefit from Curve unless you pay to upgrade. Most of the important benefits are available to free Blue Card holders with added perks for Blue and Black.

Blue card

  • No monthly fee
  • 1% cashback at 3 retailers for 90 days only
  • £500 free FX spending per month (weekend surcharge of 0.5% or 1.5% applies)

Black card

  • £9.99 per month
  • 1% cashback at 3 retailers ongoing
  • Unlimited free FX spending per month (but weekend surcharge of 0.5% or 1.5% still applies)
  • Added benefits: Travel insurance and gadget insurance

Metal card

  • £14.99 per month
  • 1% cashback at 6 retailers ongoing
  • Unlimited free FX spending per month (but weekend surcharge of 0.5% or 1.5% still applies)
  • Added benefits: Travel insurance, gadget insurance, discounted airport lounge access, rental car insurance

Which card is best?

For most people the blue card is the obvious option. The problem with travel insurance and gadget insurance etc is that these benefits might be already offered by other accounts (or be cheaper just to buy seperately). Unlimited fee-free FX spending may be a benefit for some but Curves weekend charge might put you off using it for a large amount of FX spend. Especially when you don't know if the retailer will take payment at the weekend or not.

Things to watch out for

Whilst the Curve card is an excellent tool for maximising your spend on a rewards credit card you should be careful of the following:

  • Curve prohibits "cash recycling" - this is defined as you using your Curve card to pay off the credit card which your Curve card is linked to. This would result in a credit and debit for the same amount to the underlying credit card. In fact, now Curve prohibits the use of the Curve card for paying off any credit card bill so this is best avoided.
  • Curve limits - initially Curve offers fairly low limits for daily, monthly and yearly spend so you may not be able to put as much spend through the card as you had originally hoped. The good news is Curve regularly reviews your account and increases the limits over time (or you can contact support and ask them at any time to consider increasing your limits). The maximum limit currently available is over £1 million annually but you may need to wait some time before your limit is increased this high!
  • Withdrawing cash from an ATM when your Curve card is linked to a credit card is best avoided. Curve will pass on the type of transaction to your credit card provider who will most likely charge a cash advance fee.
  • Curves FX charges at the weekend can be annoying when you don't know on which day a merchant will debit your account. For example, you spend a large amount on a prepaid hotel booking. Sometimes the merchant will take payment immediately, other times in a few days and sometimes the day before your stay. If you are spending a large amount it's not clear whether you will be hit with a charge or not.

Recent updates from Curve

Curve is now charging 1.5% for "Debit fronted credit" transactions at HMRC

A big benefit of the Curve card was that it allowed you to effectively use a credit card to pay your tax bill with no charge. However, Curve recently emailed all users to say that starting in January (and immediately for new users) such transactions would attract a 1.5% fee.

Curve described the HMRC charge as a "trial" before rolling out the charge to other government payments such as NS&I. Eventually it sounds like the charge will be applied to all transactions where only debit cards are accepted.

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