Curve is a challenger bank hoping to change the way we approach our finances. Like the other banking apps it’s competing with, part of Curve’s appeal is its constant availability, being accessible from your phone 24/7. Unlike many others however, Curve acts as a mobile accountant, managing your various cards and helping you keep track of your money.
Read on to find out more about Curve and whether it might be an option for you.
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Curve aims to provide “One place to spend, send, see and save money.” Rather than follow the structure of traditional banks, Curve tries to distance itself from it. It acts as the meeting point for all your accounts, allowing you to keep track of your money wherever it is.
By connecting all your accounts, Curve defines itself not only by its mobile nature but also by working as a virtual bookkeeper. Rather than looking through a mountain of receipts or tabs of online statements, Curve takes a record and lets you know what you’ve been spending.
How does Curve work?
Curve works from your phone, bundling your accounts into one app.
This record of your transactions encourages good spending habits. In addition to all this, Curve partners with different companies, allowing customers to spend their money at selected stores to earn cashback.
The app itself relies on simplicity rather than style, with a functional design allowing easy access to every feature:
After you sign up, you’ll receive a contactless Curve card. Customers have complete control over their card, with the ability to freeze and unfreeze at the touch of a button, a feature that provides added security and convenience.
The app is easy to navigate. Features include:
Home: From here you manage your cards and check their balance. You can also add new cards and see your rewards.
Timeline: A complete record of your transactions. Along with the list are tools to filter what you wish to see and an option to search for specific payments.
Curve: Activate or deactivate your Curve card, check rewards and your balance.
Support: A list of FAQs, features, benefits and fees. Open tickets for queries and customer service.
When you sign up, you also get a 90 days introductory offer that features a 1% cashback on purchases from 3 retailers of your choice – the options include Netflix and Amazon.
Using Curve abroad
Curve makes itself useful on holiday in a handful of ways. As mentioned already, Curve keeps a record of your card balance, allowing you to check your budget at any time.
As well as this, you always have a record of your spending to make sure you don’t go over your holiday budget. Curve also allows you to add foreign currency cards and offers fairly low exchange rates to help you get away.
If you're travelling abroad
If you are heading overseas and are thinking about travel money, head to our travel money section for the cheapest deals on foreign currencies, or to our travel section for tips on how to get cheap flights!
Curve fees, limits and pricing
Curve offers reasonable rates on both their business and personal accounts, with the opportunity to earn privileges on your account after risk checks and a spending history has been established:
Setting up a Curve account is free, apart from a £1 charge to verify your identity, which is then refunded. There are no charges for adding new cards.
There are no additional fees when using your Curve Mastercard in the UK: it costs nothing to withdraw, transfer or deposit money.
Using Curve abroad is also fee-free on weekdays, but it’s charged a 0.5% fee during the weekend. Curve uses the wholesale interbank rate for currency exchanges.
You can withdraw up to £200 from foreign ATMs without paying a fee. Withdrawals cost £2 or a 2% fee after that.
Limits are fairly generous and, as mentioned above, can be raised after a certain amount of time and activity. Business and personal accounts share standard starting limits:
£2,000 daily spending limit. £5000 monthly and £10,000 over the year.
£200 daily withdrawal limit, and a 2% charge on any extra withdrawals that day.
The “enhanced limits” for business and personal accounts are:
£3,750 daily spending limit, £20,000 per month and £50,000 per year.
You may withdraw £1000 per day with the charge still active for anything over that limit.
For Curve Prepaid business accounts:
You can spend £5000 per day, £15,000 monthly and £50,000 over the course of the year.
There is a £500 withdrawal limit per day, with a charge still in place.
Is Curve safe?
Curve understands how important your accounts are and as a result prepares to protect them from any forces working to compromise them. Rather than being password protected, Curve sends you an email every time you make a login request, adding another step to your account’s security.
All the data on the app is encrypted and in line with industry standards.
Pros and cons of Curve
Account can be set up in 20 minutes or less.
Bank card provided on registration.
A complete record of your spending over multiple accounts.
Spending history can help you to save money.
Cashback rewards from retailers.
Safe and secure.
Registered with the PRA and FCA.
Limits on spending and withdrawals.
Lack of face-to-face contact when banking.
Curve doesn’t provide anything more than a business or personal current account.
Long queue times means it can take a while for your account to be fully set up.
Compare Curve against its competitors
Updated September 21st, 2019
How does the Curve card work?
You can use your Curve card to make transactions from any account that is registered to your Curve. You can register your Visa debit, Mastercard and credit cards using the Curve app. Once you’ve loaded your cards on, you can then use the Curve card to pay with any of them.
Frequently asked questions
Curve makes money through several different avenues:
Interchange fee: Curve earns money for processing any transactions made with its card.
Registration fee: The small amount you give to Curve upon registration helps to keep the business running.
Currency exchange: The 1% fee they take for exchanging currencies for you. They also make money on overseas spending and withdrawal charges.
Additional fees: If you go over the set limits Curve will charge you a percentage of the amount you use.
Yes! When you sign up to Curve you’ll receive a contactless debit card on the Mastercard service.
You don’t have to top up your Curve card, instead you decide which account you wish to spend with and use Curve to earn rewards.
Yes, but not a conventional one! Essentially, it is a contactless debit card linked to a mobile app created to provide “one place to spend, send, see and save money”.
Yes you can! It is free to do so if your card is set to the same currency as the cash that is being withdrawn.
A multi-currency mobile banking app that aims to be ‘built around you’. Use it to open a fully functional current account instantly, straight from your phone, all supported by a feature-rich mobile app
Charlie Barton is a publisher at Finder. He specialises in banking and investments products, including banking apps, current accounts, share-dealing platforms and stocks and shares ISAs. Charlie has a first-class degree from the London School of Economics, and in his spare time enjoys long walks on the beach.
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