Curve Metal review

A premium option for the seasoned traveller, Curve Metal is a debit card packed with benefits and perks.

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If you’re abroad so often that you barely remember what sleeping in your bed feels like, Curve Metal can be a good idea for your finances. It is a premium option and is an alternative option to the standard Curve account.

Our review looks at how it works, how to get it and whether the extra features are worth the monthly fee.


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What is Curve Metal?

Curve Metal is the top-tier Curve subscription, including all the perks and benefits Curve has to offer, most of which are linked to travelling. It comes with a fancy-looking metal debit card that you can have in black, rose or blue. Its more down-to-earth siblings are the standard Curve plan which is free. Curve X which offers a couple of extra benefits, and the intermediate premium service Curve Black.

Curve’s basic functionality is to allow you to only take one single card with you when you leave the house – the Curve card. You can connect all your Mastercard and Visa cards to it using the Curve app, then select which one you want Curve to take money from and simply pay with the Curve card.

Curve is especially useful when you go abroad because even if your regular cards charge a foreign transaction fee, Curve scraps them in most cases by treating your transaction as if it was a sterling one.

Curve Metal takes all this to the next level by adding travel insurance and other perks to Curve’s basic features.

Curve Metal fees, limits and benefits

In return for Curve Metal’s £14.99 monthly fee, you get:

  • Unlimited fee-free transactions abroad (on weekdays). Curve’s free option charges a 2% fee on non-sterling transactions after you’ve reached the £1,000 monthly limit. With Curve Metal, you won’t pay any fees for using your card out of the country, even if you spend more. This is subject to a fair use policy of £15,000 per year, beyond which a fee of 2% may apply. However, there’s still a 0.5% exchange fee during the weekend, when the markets are closed.
  • Up to £600 fee-free ATM withdrawals abroad. Like most digital banking apps and challenger banks, Curve sets a monthly limit for fee-free cash withdrawals abroad: £200 with the standard Curve plan and Curve X, £400 with Curve Black and £600 with Curve Metal. After that, you’ll be charged a 2% fee.
  • 1% cashback at 6 selected retailers. You can get cashback when you spend money at 6 selected retailers (3 for Curve Black). You can choose among a really high-quality pool of shops and services, including Ikea, Tesco, Amazon and Netflix. Be aware that reward points expire 6 months after the date they were added to your card.
  • Travel insurance. Covers medical emergencies, cancellations, delays and more.
  • Mobile insurance. Providing cover of up to £1,500 if your mobile phone is lost or stolen.
  • Car hire excess insurance. Up to £25,000.
  • Airport lounge access. More on this below.
  • Crypto Rewards. Choose to earn rewards in cryptocurrency rather than Curve Cash points.
  • Customer protection. Covers purchases made on your card up to £100,000.

The monthly fee can also be paid in advance for the whole year, for £150. If you’re reasonably sure you’ll keep Curve Metal for the full 12 months, it’s definitely worth it, as you’ll basically get 2 months for free.

Curve Metal airport lounge access

Curve Metal gets you airport lounge access via LoungeKey, a programme that offers lounges in more than 1,000 airports in 120 countries.

You just need to show your Curve Metal card at the entrance and use it to pay for it. It’s normally £20 per access per person (yes, you can buy passes for your travel companions as well), but the price can vary depending on the lounge. Don’t leave your Curve at home or you won’t be able to get in.

Lounge benefits vary, but you’ll usually get a nice and comfy seating area, newspapers to read and some refreshments at the very least. Anything else you might need to know about the LoungeKey programme can be found in this dedicated guide.

Curve Metal vs Curve Black

Some of the extra benefits Curve Metal has on the free Curve option are also included in Curve Black. Basically, the following features are unique to Metal:

  • £600 fee-free cash withdrawals abroad
  • Car hire excess insurance
  • Mobile phone insurance
  • LoungeKey access
  • The metal card
  • Cashback at 6 selected retailers rather than 3

You’ll need to weigh up whether you’re likely to make use of these additional benefits to work out whether the extra £5 a month is worth paying.

It’s also worth keeping in mind that while you can get rid of your Black membership anytime, the minimum period you can keep Curve Metal for is six months, unless you pay a £50 fee.

How to get Curve Metal

Have you decided to give Curve Metal a go? You need to do the following:

  • If you don’t have Curve. Download the app, then you’ll be able to pick your membership of choice during the sign-up process.
  • If you already use Curve. Head to the “card” section of the app, then to “manage subscription” and select the “Metal” tab. Once you’ve subscribed, you’ll be sent your new Metal card within a few days.

Pros and cons of Curve Metal

  • Only need to take a single payment card with you when travelling abroad.
  • Comes with all the features of the other 3 Curve plans.
  • Additional features include the slick metal card, £600 fee-free cash withdrawals overseas, mobile phone insurance and LoungeKey departure lounge access.
  • At £14.99 a month, the subscription fee might not be worth it unless you travel very often.
  • As Curve is a debit card, not a credit card, your purchases aren’t covered by section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, although Curve does offer its own consumer protection scheme.
  • Your money isn’t protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, as Curve isn’t a bank.

Our verdict

The key words here are frequent traveller. If you don’t go abroad at least four or five times a year, there’s really no point in considering a premium Curve membership at all, as it’ll be cheaper to just pay the occasional ATM fee if you need more than £200 cash, and perhaps purchase travel insurance separately.

If you do travel a lot, you might find that Curve Black works better for you than Curve Metal as it gives you many of the features at a cheaper price.

However, if you fancy having mobile phone insurance included, or if you habitually travel to countries where you pay cash, Curve Metal could still be a good solution, especially if you pay the annual £150 fee in advance to essentially get a two-month discount. But you do need to either be a real car rental aficionado or get close to the £600 limit for fee-free foreign ATM withdrawals every month to make it worth it.

Frequently asked questions

We show offers we can track - that's not every product on the market...yet. Unless we've said otherwise, products are in no particular order. The terms "best", "top", "cheap" (and variations of these) aren't ratings, though we always explain what's great about a product when we highlight it. This is subject to our terms of use. When you make major financial decisions, consider getting independent financial advice. Always consider your own circumstances when you compare products so you get what's right for you.

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