The pace of innovation in the fintech world is breathtaking with new apps launching every day. Curve is the latest example of an app that has the potential to revolutionise how we pay for goods and services. So what is Curve? it’s neither a bank account or a credit card. Curve is the card that you use to pay with all your other cards. Sounds complicated? It’s not.
You sign up, they send you a card (MasterCard) and you link the card to the Curve app on your phone. Once you’ve done that you register your different debit and credit cards on the app and Bob’s your uncle. You can now use the Curve card instead of all the cards you registered.
Not enough on your current account? use your app to select another card. It means that you only need to carry one card (Curve takes all credit and debit cards apart from American Express). However, you should always carry another card with you just in case there is an issue with Curve’s systems. From time to time it does happen, although I haven’t been in that position yet.
It’s a very handy card/app combo that recently saved my bacon when I went Christmas shopping and had accidentally left my wallet in the office. Luckily I had my Curve card in my jacket pocket and used it to pay for the tube and all the gifts I bought, charging each purchase to the card I wanted.
How does it make money? There are no additional transaction charges. The basic account is free, but you can opt for a card with an annual fee of £50 and double your rewards (more on this later). It also charges 1% on foreign transactions. However, it’s difficult to gauge how its business model makes money and whether it’s sustainable in the long run.
Back to the future
The ingenious bit is that you can ‘Go Back in Time’ (up to two weeks) to transfer a transaction from one card to another. It means that you can pay with a credit card if your current account funds are low, but transfer the transaction to your debit card as soon as you get paid. Or, if you have paid a large amount with your debit card and later realise that you don’t have enough money to get you through the month (January is a bitch, right?) you can transfer the transaction to a credit card. Beware though, because it takes a few days for the cancelled transaction to clear.
Using it abroad is great, too. You pay with Curve in local currency and Curve will charge your debit or credit card in pound sterling. The exchange rate they use is wholesale and they add a 1% fee, which is still very low compared to anything else on the market.
Lost and found
If you’re unsure of the Curve card’s whereabouts, you can instantly lock it through the app. And once you find it, you can just as easily unlock it. When a transaction goes through, you get a notification on your phone. So if at any point somebody clones your Curve card you’ll know as soon as it gets used. Payments with the Curve card will appear on your bank or credit card statement with the CRV prefix followed by the business name (eg CRV Amazon), so you can keep track of all transactions.
Another Curve feature is that it will automatically categorise all your transactions and when you export a report, it will assign each transaction to an expense category. Obviously, you can change the category of any transaction if it doesn’t suit your system or the app has made an error, but I have found it to be pretty much spot on. Finally, you can collect reward points by paying with your Curve card at specific retailers or websites. The list is small but is growing.
To find out more about Curve.