Curve Confuses Me

Has anyone noticed the following about Curve?:

  • They consistently screw customers
  • Their business model has no apparent revenue streams aside from premium tiers and selling data
  • They often work out more expensive than using your underlying card
  • They have restrictive limits for some customers
  • They have no good analytical features
  • They don’t support a wide variety of currencies to bill underlying cards in
  • They have a peer to peer payments system which runs off of paying them money for a virtual currency worth 1p per thing that is unlikely to be returned should Curve go into insolvency
  • They don’t support any mobile wallets
  • They have subjectively poor branding

Yet they still have an actual fan base and people want to invest in them

I’m racking my brains here and I can see them becoming insolvent before turning a profit, tbh. Not a single brain cell I have can work out why anyone would even want to use this shambles company

You certainly paint a bleak picture…:flushed:

The Curve journey has been (and continues to be) a bumpy one. It’s original claim to fame was the benefits which Amex cardholders accrued from linking with it. That link was lost some months ago when Amex pulled the plug.

There was an almighty row amongst cardholders as demonstrated within the Curve forum.

Since then there’s been a lot of activity around establishing funding streams through a tiered card system which hasn’t gone well (echoed rather in the Monzo Plus thing…).

It’s primary claim is that it negates the need for you to carry any other cards. That’s broadly true, but as we all know, things go wrong and relying on one card is just plain dopey…

I like the “Go back in Time” feature which allows you a grace period after purchase whereby you can change the underlying card on which to make the purchase. That’s just plain neat and is still unique in this country (afaik).

The recent marketing/rebranding exercise hasn’t gone too well and it’s taken criticism for its seemingly confused / edgy branding.

Profitability?
I haven’t a clue how that’ll go (but that’s not peculiar to Curve :face_with_raised_eyebrow:).

It’s a strange one…

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Curve is just an institutional con artist, but it’s doing it fairly legally, but that does not change the fact they have conned probably a large majority of their customers.

People don’t care though, the fact curve doesn’t protect them, but because it makes it easier they think its amazing.

Curve uses third parties for everything, it can never offer a reliable service, and so far never has. But people can’t see that simple fact.

Quite possibly.

I obtained a Curve card in the Fintech euphoria. Saw no use for me with it, particularly when Amex pulled out so I don’t use it and no longer have an account. Do I see an investment opportunity (other than pyramid selling) ? - No.

I used curve as my only card for quite a few months without issues, but the previous reliability issues crept back and I kept seeing random declines/duplicate payments so stopped using it.

These days I just carry my three most commonly used cards and the rest sit it home. I can’t see how having the ability to actually carry all of my cards would actually benefit me.

That being said I do use curve once a month, and that’s to withdraw my rent that my landlord likes in cash. It allowes me to withdraw the full amount in one go bypassing the £350 Starling cash withdrawal limit.

Other than that, its no longer a product I would recommend to anyone nor is it one I can see me using daily either.

Who do you think its customers are - consumers of the product, or the companies investing in Curve?

Curve have a great set-up, where their consumers are taking advantage of the loopholes offered to exploit holes in the banking system. These consumers use their cards very heavily, allowing Curve to show amazing usage numbers & attract outside investment.

These investors are funding all these exploits, either because they have not looked closely at the blogs recommending Curve, or more likely that they hope other investors won’t and will buy out Curve in the future.

Bypassing security protections, then letting users get 0.5% cashback (or whatever) on their rent is going to guarantee long-term success :slight_smile:

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A great setup that fails constantly, ask how many curve users have had time outs or declines. It’s own forum is full of people complaining of such. So in my mind its not a great setup where it relies on so many other parties, where they could use some of the investment to negate that, but choose not to, they choose to change there offering every few months, to the detriment of the customers. Yes you can overlook that fact if you wish, but its all in the open on there own forum and press releases.

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And a completely unnecessary rebranding, combined with a waste of money London Tube ad campaign!

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Too many outages - if I needed to use X cards I would have to carry them with me :pensive:

If it reversed authentications I could see it being actually pretty useful - but it doesn’t

Exactly this tbh

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They do seem to have strange priorities, especially lately.

It seems like an obvious missed opportunity that they didn’t make supporting mobile payments a number 1 priority at the beginning, as an example.

It would have been great to have a selling point of “all your cards in Apple/Google Pay, even those that don’t support it”. They also told customers this was “coming soon” as far back as 2016!

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FWIW it is quite expensive to actually make mobile payments work, but they do have the money to do it and I agree it would be a definite selling point. Would make me consider using them again at the very least.

I really think Curve could be so good though if they boiled it back down to the core and made it amazing.

Remove:

  • The FX fees
  • The ATM fees

Implement:

  • Mobile wallets
  • Billing in more currencies
  • Better customer support. Live and in-app
  • A more rigid customer protection scheme
  • A toggle to pass through local currencies where possible to underlying cards

Suddenly Curve would be my most loved fintech. Right now I don’t understand all the love they get though!

I couldn’t care less about features like FX or ATM fees, or mobile wallets or multiple currencies.

I initially joined as it looked like it could be useful, for the free money, and the initial cashback. None of it is worth what the packages/levels are priced at though. I rarely use mine now, and it stays in the car as a backup.

If they had fewer outages and re-introduced the cashback offers for a longer term (or permanently) I’d probably use it more.

It wasn’t possible to get their corporate interchange rates (bypassing the consumer protection limits) on all mobile wallets, so mobile payments weren’t going to be enabled whilst their first public business model (give corporate cards for recharging on to personal cards) was active.

They’re now issuing personal cards for consumers, so the economics are changing… Samsung Pay has now been enabled, let’s see how long the others take.

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What confuses me is their Curve Send functionality (still in open Beta), especially the Transfer part of this functionality, where you can transfer the ‘money’, you have been sent, to any underlying card. This transfer is done by means of a refund to the underlying card, but the original transaction (of this refund) never happened on this underlying card. So this transfer functionality can be used (especially when Curve would decide to allow sending money to oneself) to top up accounts that normally do not have the option to top up by card (eg N26) or to evade a fee that is normally charged by some accounts to top up by card.
I am little bit surprised that MasterCard allows this.

There has never been a mastercard restriction that stops you refunding to another card. Obviously it was never designed for curves use and I would assume something they will has issues with, but right now it doesn’t break mastercard rules.

You have always been able to refund to a different card than the one that payment has been taken from, and indeed I do so regularly when I return items to store:

I purchase almost everything on my amex for that sweet cashback :moneybag: but refund any returns to my debit card if the cashier doesn’t check the card (which few cashiers do) - execpt for small independent merchants where I don’t think it’s fair for them to cover the difference in interchange fees, but with big chains I habe no issue with this.

It is often store policy to only refund to the original payment card, presumably to reduce fraud/theft risk, as well as to protect them from having to pay the difference in interchange fees. But there is nothing at all stopping stores from refunding to a different card. (obviously that’s not really possible for online payments, where you’d usually simply [part] revert the original payment.)

Thanks @daedal @anon37295698 for the clarification. I already knew that it is allowed to do a refund to a different card than the one originally used, but my ‘worries’ where phrased nicely by @daedal:

Did some more research.

From this document page 92:

“A Merchant must process a refund Transaction only for the purpose of crediting funds to a
Cardholder for returned products, cancelled services, or a price adjustment related to a prior
purchase. The refund Transaction must not exceed the authorized amount of the related
purchase POS Transaction.”

I don’t think Curve Transfer complies with the above.

Technically curve will be charging you on a card, then cancelling the transaction, thus refunding it to the account you choose.

Curve for all intents and purposes is processing transactions as a merchant, not as a processor, so it’s charging, then refunding or cancelling the transaction but refunding to a different card.

Ok. But it still seems this part:

is missing. Or not?

Well, I guess if Mastercard goes after them for that, they have another card network to go after with their lawyers :joy:

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