Is It Worth Getting A Curve Card? | The Student Guide
Living as a student is life changing, it’s a time in your life when you are standing on your own two feet for the first time, learning how to live on a student budget and to look after your finances.
There are many different ways you can do this, and there are loads of different options you can take in terms of the types of bank accounts you open, credit you take out, and the way in which you manage your money.
We’re going to provide you with a Curve Card review, looking at the service where your debit and credit cards are connected into one, making it easier to manage your finances and to access your money when you need to, without switching between the two.
There are both benefits and downfalls to this, we’ll take a look at it all, so that you are fully informed before deciding whether to sign up for Curve or not.
What Is the Curve Card?
This Curve Card review must start in one place really, explaining what the service is.
Curve is a Mastercard debit card that allows you to link your existing debit or credit cards. What this means is that you only ever need to carry one card with you.
When it comes time to pay, you use your Curve card at the point of purchase, and the transaction is passed on to the linked card as the purchase is confirmed.
You will be sent a physical Curve Card in the post that you can use, or you can set up Curve in your Apple Pay, Google Pay, or Samsung Wallet on your phone.
As with other cards in these digital wallets, you can choose to set Curve as your default payment method for speed and ease of payment.
Alternatively, you can choose which card you want to use within the app every time you pay. Every person feels different about this with a different way suitable for each individual.
What are the main features and benefits?
Linking your Curve Card to your digital wallet is just a standard thing that you can do with all debit and credit cards these days.
So, you do need to think about these other features to see if it offers something different to your other credit and debit cards and bank accounts.
Overseas use without fees
Using your card overseas has always been a bit difficult, as you’re never quite sure what fees you’ll be hit with or if every transaction will come at an additional cost. It almost (almost) puts you off travelling abroad.
Curve uses the Mastercard exchange rate, which is pretty great. Each month you’ll have £1,000 minimum of fee-free spending and £200 cash withdrawals.
Be careful not to go above these limits though, as there is a 2% fee above this.
Credit card use where it’s not normally accepted
There are certain situations where you can’t use your credit card, but as Curve is classed as a debit card and your credit card is linked to it, this does open up a whole new world of spending potential.
This is useful if you have a credit card that offers rewards and points as you spend, as you can begin to build up points in places you usually would not be able to.
Move your transactions between cards
This is called the ‘go back in time’ feature by Curve. It allows you to change the card you used at the time of a specific purchase.
You can do this for the previous four months of transactions.
This is handy if you’ve accidentally used the wrong card, or you want to manage your credit limit a little better – what a game changer!
Select a backup card
It can be embarrassing to have your card declined when you are at the point of purchase, right?
This feature is called the ‘anti-embarrassment mode’ by Curve and ensures that if you have a backup card on your account, it will automatically be used in the event of your selected card being declined for whatever reason.
Knowing how much you’re spending, when you’re spending it and where, is an important part of learning how to budget as a student.
With the Curve app you’ll receive real-time notifications and alerts as to how much you’ve spent.
This helps if you are sticking to a budget (especially if you are abroad on holiday and only have so much to spend).
If you have lost your card or it’s been stolen, this is also a great way to instantly track where it is and to freeze the card from further use!
Is there any cashback on Curve?
Curve Cash is the feature where you can earn cashback on purchases made on your Curve card. In order to access this loyalty scheme, you’ll need to have a black Curve card or metal Curve card.
With the black card you can select up to three retailers, and with the metal card you can select up to six retailers where you can earn cashback.
There are over 100 stores to choose from, including Amazon, Uber, and Deliveroo.
For those customers on the free tier of Curve, there are some cashback offers within the ‘Rewards’ section of the app.
One Curve Cash point is equivalent to one penny, which means for every 100 points you accrue you’ll have £1 to spend.
You can’t withdraw this ‘money’ though, as it is only available to spend on your Curve card.
What are the different tiers of Curve membership?
There are a few tiers of Curve to look out for:
The standard Curve card is free, and the only cost is the £4.99 delivery charge to post your physical card out to you.
This gives you up to £1,000 a month and fee-free foreign £200 cash withdrawal every month. You can add up to two cards to your Curve app.
For £4.99 per month, Curve X provides you with free delivery of your physical Curve card, the ability to add up to 5 cards onto your account, and it also gives you crypto rewards.
There is the 60-day ‘Go back in time’ period, and an introductory £5 welcome offer.
This premium tier costs £9.99 per month and gives you a 90-day ‘go back in time’ period, an unlimited number of payment cards can be saved to your Curve app, an introductory £5 welcome offer, and unlimited fee-free FX spend and £400 per month fee-free ATM withdrawals.
You also receive priority customer support and worldwide travel insurance as extra perks.
For £14.99 per month, you get a choice of Black or Blue metal card, 120 days ‘go back in time’ period, have unlimited Curve Cash with up to six retailers, unlimited fee-free FX spend and ATM withdrawals up to £600 per month, alongside worldwide travel and mobile phone insurance.
What are the drawbacks of the Curve card?
A Curve Card review must also include the downsides.
Using the Curve card means you won’t be covered by Section 75 of The Consumer Credit Act. What this means is that for any transactions over £100 won’t be protected legally in the event of the product or service not being up to the advertised standard or if you do not receive what you have purchased.
You will be covered by the Curve Customer Protection, so you can claim through this if you have a dispute with a retailer over purchased goods, damaged or counterfeit goods, or problems with refunds.
No American Express use
If you have an Amex card you won’t be able to use it with the Curve app. This can be a problem if you regularly use American Express and its rewards system.
Not great for those who regularly withdraw cash
If you are the type of person who regularly withdraws cash (more than 11 days out of every 30 for example), you will be charged for going above this limit.
Curve allows for 10 free ATM withdrawals every 30 days, with a 50p charge after that. There is also a 2% fee for withdrawals higher than £200 per month.
Better overseas options
There are a wide range of travel debit and credit cards on the market today, some with great cashback and fee-free spending options.
If you are looking at a Curve card purely for overseas spending, we recommend looking at some other options out there before committing.
Not worth the higher tiers
With the higher tiers costing £9.99 and £14.99 per month, we would say that you won’t get enough perks back for that fee.
Unless you are spending thousands at the retailers you can claim cashback through, it wouldn’t be worth paying the higher premium.
There are also other credit and debit cards with rewards schemes that are more suitable to you.
We hope this Curve Card review has provided you with all the information you need to make an informed decision.
Curve might seem appealing to some students, especially those who travel frequently and want access to cashback and rewards through a linked card app that makes everything easier to manage and use.
There are some downsides as well of course, and it’s important that you make the right decision for your specific finances whilst living in student accommodation.