All cards in one: Curve multi-card solution overview

Curve is a London-based fintech startup that owns and operates the digital smart multi-card

CURVE

All cards in one: Curve multi-card solution overview. Source: community.curve.app

The 2017 WIRED Money event presented the next generation of fintech startups set to revolutionize the world of finance to its attendees. At the time, EY’s head of fintech, Imran Gulamhuseinwala commented on the winner, mobile wallet platform CURVE:

I’ve seen quite a lot of innovative products and I’ve not seen anything quite like that before.

What is Curve?

Curve is a London-based fintech startup that owns and operates the digital smart multi-card named after the parent company. This niche product is really distinct from both traditional and innovative banking experiences provided in Western societies.

A multi-card is a smart device in the form of a regular MSR bank card (or very similar to it) that is directly connected to a relevant mobile app able to store and transmit financial and personal data. The cards are typically equipped with a small touchscreen display where the user can choose which of the available cards to use for a transaction.

Curve’s “over-the-top banking platform” turns your mobile phone into a centralized financial control center. Instead of building a new current account — as is the case with the challenger banks such as Monzo, Starling, and Revolut – the platform lets you connect all of your other debit and credit cards to an all-in-one simple and secure Curve Mastercard. Therefore, all of your financial services are united under a single digital umbrella that allows you to spend, see, and save money all along. By the way, around 15% of Curve’s users have added a challenger bank card to their Curve account.

Last year, the startup raised $55 million in a new funding round that valued Curve at $250 million. The money will be used by the company to continue adding more features to its platform and for further international expansion.

Product overview

Price: Curve Blue account is free, Curve Black costs €9.99 per month, Curve Metal’s monthly charge is €14.99
Functions:

– Curve Cards support Visa and Mastercard.

– You can add current, business and personal accounts to a single management platform.

– The platform supports Google Pay, Samsung Pay and Apple Pay.

– Customers can spend money abroad without additional exchange fees. The free account has limitations for fee-free foreign transactions up to  €500 a month. Premium cards have no limits on accessing interbank FX rates.

– The service offers fee-free ATM withdrawals abroad as well (limited according to the pricing plan). Some weekend charges apply though.

– Card users are eligible to Curve Cash program earning instant 1% cashback from selected retailers. 

– The Go Back in Time function allows changing the card used for payment within a 14-day period after purchase. The amount of payment could be up to €1,000.

– Residents of the UK, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain who own Curve Black receive electronic gadget and worldwide travel insurance for free.

– Curve Metal owners also get access to mobile phone insurance, rental car collision damage waiver, and discounted LoungeKey airport access.

– Curve Customer Protection protects customers for a wide range of goods and services purchased with their Curve card up to a sum of 100,000€.

– If you lose your card, you can freeze it in the app, and unlock it later when you find it again. 

– You can also get a PIN reminder by entering your password or using your fingerprint ID in the app.

– Once you add your existing cards, you may set a default card.

Curve for business provides automated expense reports, including receipts. 

Curve Send lets you send money from any of your payment cards on your Curve account to your friends and family whether they are Curve users or not. You can send any amount (up to £500 per day) in the currency of your choice.

– Curve can be used to pay a hotel or rental deposit over £150 whereas Curve would act as your credit card 

Max.number of cards stored: There is no information on such limits.
Regional availability: Works in 31 countries within the European Economic Area (EEA). The service is also going to launch in the USA in 2020. You can register for a card here and get a chance to win a free Curve premium subscription for 1 year.
Drawbacks:

– Using Curve invalidates Section 75 credit card protection. However, Curve customer purchases are covered by Curve Customer Protection and Mastercard chargeback rights. 

– Users cannot connect American Express Rewards or cashback cards to Curve. It doesn’t support American Express, Maestro, Diners Club, JCB or UnionPay cards as well as most prepaid cards. 

– There are certain daily, monthly and yearly spending limits. 

– Sometimes, a bank’s fraud engine can initially be suspicious of Curve because it is a brand new product. Banks may decline Curve transactions until you explicitly contact them.

How to use the Curve card

Currently, the service is facing serious technical problems. On 26 June, the Financial Conduct Authority suspended its permission for Wirecard Card Solutions Limited (the company who currently issues the Curve Cards and processes transactions) to operate, without prior notice or warning. This has not only affected Curve but also infringed the activities of many other companies relying on Wirecard in the financial sector. Hence, the company began a transition away from Wirecard and is moving down the path to complete this migration. Today, Curve is almost back in business, having completed “Phase 1” of the recovery plan. Users will need to update their Curve App and re-verify some of their cards. You can track the latest updates from Team Curve about the Wirecard situation using this link.

CURVE

Curve’s banking platform turns your phone into a centralized financial control center. Source: curve.app

Once, the service is fully renewed, the standard procedure is as follows:

  1. Download the app from the App Store or Google Play Store.
  2. Follow the sign-up instructions.
  3. Choose your Curve card (Blue, Black or Metal).
  4. Order your new Curve card in minutes.
  5. In the app, add your eligible Mastercard or Visa debit and credit cards.
  6. Once you have added the first funding card, the company will send you your new Curve Mastercard. Delivery time depends on where your Curve is being shipped to, 5 days for the UK and 1-2 weeks for EEA.
  7. Select the default account that you’d like to pay with, using Curve, by tapping the related payment card – that account will instantly become “active”.
  8. Change the active cards in-app anytime.
  9. Spend with Curve in-store, online, or at ATMs. Curve works in 30m+ Mastercard locations globally that support PIN or contactless payments.
  10. In case you’ve used the wrong card, switch it for purchases up to €1,000 within 14 days after your purchase.

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