Middle Age Miles

Curve: Possible Opportunities When This UK-Based Card Launches in the US

curve card debit mastercard launch us usa opportunities credit card bonus categories manufactured spend ms

Introduction

The Curve card is currently a UK-based card product. In short, it operates like this: You get a Curve account and physical Curve card, which is a Mastercard debit card. You can then link other credit and debit cards to your Curve account (Visa & Mastercard only for now; Amex doesn’t work). When you make a purchase using your Curve card to pay, the charge passes through to whichever of your linked credit/debit cards you have selected in the Curve app, and shows up as a charge on that card. You’ll earn credit card rewards for the purchase on your selected card.

It’s an interesting concept. At first, we weren’t understanding why the Curve product would be attractive. Why wouldn’t we just use our credit card directly? But the more we’ve studied Curve, the more reasons we see where it might be useful. We’ll cover potential uses and opportunities in this article.

Last week we learned via a Doctor of Credit article that the Curve card is planning to launch in the US soon and has set up a wait list for US-based participants. Doctor of Credit referenced an article by the Head For Points blog that explains more about Curve from a UK perspective. We also remembered that we had read about Curve UK some months ago in Gilbert Ott’s God Save The Points blog. Here are links to those articles if you’d like to learn more:

Curve’s US Waitlist

You can join the Curve US waitlist by entering your name, email, phone number and zip code at this link:

The link here is our referral link, although the only thing we get out of it is a 10-spot “bump” up the waitlist. There is no fee to join the waitlist, and you’re not making any commitment by joining it.

If you want to wait to sign up for Curve after it actually launches, there’s the possibility of a small sign-up bonus. It appears that Curve UK has had sign-up and referral bonuses of 5 pounds each (about $6.37 as of today) for the referrer and the person being referred in the past.

Additional Curve Card Basics (in the UK)

All of the information in this section and the rest of this article relates to the UK version of the Curve card. We don’t know exactly what Curve’s US terms and conditions will be, but for now we can reasonably guess that things will be similar to the UK version.

There are 3 tiers of Curve cards in the UK:

  • Curve Blue – no-fee
  • Curve Black – 9.99 pounds/month fee (about $12.69)
  • Curve Metal – $14.99 pounds/month fee (about $19.04)

Each of the tiers has varying benefits, which Curve covers in detail here.

Other important details include Curve’s limits on purchases and withdrawals. In the UK, the standard limits are:

  • £2,000 spend per day (about $2,540)
  • £5,000 spend per month (rolling 30 days) (about $6,350)
  • £200 cash withdrawal per day (about $254)
  • £10,000 yearly (rolling 365 days) (about $12,700)

Curve says that its risk engine is particularly sensitive for new customers, and that it regularly reviews your spend limits and adjusts them accordingly. You can see more details about Curve’s limits here.

We also wonder whether Curve US will require a hard pull on credit and whether it will count as a “new account” for purposes of Chase 5/24 and other card velocity rules. Taken from this article, here’s exactly what Curve has to say on this topic in the UK: “Using Curve will not affect your credit score. We do run a Know Your Customer check which you will see on your credit history; however, this is an identity check only and will not affect your credit score.” Our best guess is that in the US this would mean “yes” on a hard pull; “no” on a new account for 5/24 purposes. Again, though, we’ll have to see exactly how Curve is implemented in the US.

Potential Benefits of Using Curve

We’ve been researching and brainstorming about how we might use Curve in the US and wanted to share our initial thoughts. Again, this is completely subject to Curve’s actual US terms and conditions; we’re making educated guesses based on what we see in the Curve UK materials.

Here are opportunities and potential benefits we see in Curve:

1 – 1% Cash Back at 3 or 6 selected merchants

This 1% cash back benefit is in addition to credit card rewards you would earn from your underlying card, so it would make for a nice stack. The UK list of participating merchants is pretty strong and includes Amazon, Apple, Uber, Booking.com, some other travel providers, and several major grocery store chains.

2 – “Go Back In Time” Feature

Curve UK allows users to change the underlying card on which a charge is made, within 14 days of the purchase. For instance, if you originally charged to your Citi Double Cash Mastercard, you could use “Go Back In Time” within 14 days to move the charge over to a Chase World of Hyatt Visa card.

3 – Curve is a Mastercard debit card

Curve looks like and processes as a Mastercard debit card, regardless of the underlying card where the purchase will be actually charged. Being able to have the payment process as a debit transaction (and Mastercard debit is very widely accepted) may reduce fees on certain types of payments such as tuition, taxes and rent. In addition, the ability to have a transaction process as Mastercard debit may create MS opportunities (although UK commenters note that Curve and UK banks have taken steps to limit or eliminate certain points-earning opportunities there).

4 – MCC codes pass through

In general, it looks like MCC codes “pass through” Curve to the underlying credit card being used for payment, for purposes of qualifying for bonus category rewards. Or at least mostly so; there are some reports of MCC data being “lost”/modified when passed through, especially when using Go Back In Time.

5 – Convenience and security

There’s convenience in having one card to carry rather than many. The Curve card is contactless. The Curve card can be locked in the app if it’s lost, stolen, or out of use. Curve acts as an ATM card, subject to limits. Curve has no foreign transaction fees and “fair” exchange rates. All of these features could be valuable benefits.

Additional Resources

Curve has a great FAQ resource with many detailed questions and pertinent answer articles. We highly recommend it if you want to learn more about Curve:

In addition, we’d particularly recommend these articles:

Wrap-Up

We’re very interested in getting the Curve card when it launches in the US and experimenting with it. It seems like Curve may present some good opportunities, although the spending limits will put a damper on what we can do in terms of scale. We’re hoping that Curve will launch in the US soon and that it’ll be as useful as we think it could be!

What are your thoughts on Curve? How do you think it may create opportunities in the US? Please share with us and other Middle Age Miles readers in the Comments!


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5 thoughts on “Curve: Possible Opportunities When This UK-Based Card Launches in the US

  1. Sideshowbob233

    HPs affect your credit score. So I’d think if they say it won’t affect your score it would be a soft pull (which does still show on your full report). Signed up with your link interested if it can work for MS.

    1. Craig at Middle Age Miles Post author

      Thanks, SSB – I hope you’re right; it’s hard for me to tell how the UK stuff will translate to the US. Thanks for using our link! Parsing out possible MS opportunities will be very interesting for sure. I know you are always up for the challenge! 🙂 ~Craig

  2. Grant

    Hi Craig, used your referral link to sign up for the waitlist. Currently number 3,801 on the waitlist. I’m curious how the Go Back in Time feature could work. Curve would need to reach out to the merchant to have them refund the charge and then charge a new card. I’m skeptical that this feature will work well for most transactions and merchants.

    1. Craig at Middle Age Miles Post author

      Hey Grant – Many thanks for using the referral link. My starting position was 2,097 when I signed up last week, and i had fallen a few spots to 2,105 by today. I’ll have to check and see if I moved up a few spots!

      Totally agree on the Go Back In Time feature. That seems quite unusual to me. The handful of DPs I’ve seen from users of Curve UK were positive, though (except for one that said MCC bonus category info was lost when they changed payment cards).

      It’ll be fun to experiment with this if and when it actually becomes available. Can’t wait to hear your experiences. ~Craig

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