30 Jun Curve Card Review: My Year with Curve Metal
I don’t know about you but I think metal credit cards are pretty sexy and definitely give off that luxe, high-end vibe. Put a metal card down at a restaurant and someone is bound to ask you about where you got it when they feel the weight of it in their hand. Owning one is a bit of a statement piece, just like jewelry, and they often come with all sorts of perks.
One company offering a metal card option is Curve, a UK FinTech company that was founded in 2015 by entrepreneur Shachar Bialick. I actually signed up for Curve in 2016 when they launched a beta version for entrepreneurs, freelancers and other movers and makers who are self-employed, and travel extensively. The main reason I signed up was because I travel a lot and this card charges no foreign transaction fees – a feature that was hard to come by at the time.
Curve eventually launched several tiers of cards, so more recently I was curious to test out Curve Metal, which is a metal card that comes with a host of features such as worldwide travel insurance, mobile phone insurance, LoungeKey airport lounge access and rental car collision waver insurance.
It’s important to note that Curve is not a bank, nor is it a credit card. Curve connects all your debit and credit cards into one so it’s the only card you ever need to carry. Simply carry the Curve Mastercard in your wallet and leave the rest at home. You can choose which card to use at the checkout with the Curve mobile app, or it’ll automatically select your last used card.
Read on for my full Curve card review:
Sign-up process & setting up
To sign up you simply download the Curve app for iOS or Android and choose which Curve card you want to order. The card arrives in around 3-5 working days. In the app you can add your cards to Curve by using your phone camera or entering manually.
Once the card arrives, you just need to go to the “Account” tab and tap “Activate your card”. You’ll be asked to enter the last 4 digits of your Curve card, and it’s ready to go.
Curve Metal Card Unboxing
The Curve Metal card comes in 3 colors – red, navy and a rose gold color. I chose the navy blue one. It arrived in a stylish box that slides out and reads “Welcome to metal, the new black.” It would actually be nice if they had a black or platinum option for the card but the navy looks very nice. The card weighs 18g, so it has a nice weighty feel unlike plastic cards.
Curve Card Features
All Curve cards, no matter which tier, have the following features:
- Combine your cards in one
- Works with Google Pay, Samsung Pay and Apple Pay
- iOS and Android App with bank level security
- Curve Customer Protection up to £100,000
There are then additional features depending on the tier you get.
Curve Card Tiers
- Curve Blue is free.
- Curve Black is £9.99 per month with an upgraded offering
- Curve Metal comes at £14.99 per month
Curve Blue – Allows access to fair foreign exchange rates up to the limit of £500 per month. You also get fee-free foreign ATM withdrawals up to the max of £200 per month.
Curve Black – Gives you access to unlimited fair foreign exchange rates and fee-free foreign ATM withdrawals up to the limit of £400 per month. You can also choose to earn 1% cashback at 3 retailers (which you select from their list).
Curve Metal – Gives you access to unlimited fair foreign exchange rates and fee-free foreign ATM withdrawals up to a max of £600 per month. You can also choose to earn 1% cashback at 6 retailers (which you select from their list). In addition you get worldwide travel insurance, mobile phone insurance, LoungeKey access and rental car collision waiver insurance.
Using the app
When you come to pay for something at a checkout, you can simply swipe through your digital wallet in the app and select the card you’d like to use. Then you use your Curve card just like a normal card, usually by inserting your card with Chip and Pin or using Contactless.
Real-time transaction info with Timeline
Within the app you can instantly see what you’ve spent on all of your cards that are connected to Curve using Timeline. You can also search for a transaction by typing in the search box or filter your transactions by amount, date range, category or currency.
If you tap on an individual transaction you can assign it to a category, add a photo receipt, write a note or mark it as a business purchase. If you need an email receipt for the transaction, you can have it sent to the email linked to your Curve account. This is great if you’re self employed or run a business and need email receipts to account for expenses and help with your bookkeeping.
Tap on the “insights” tab and you’ll see a categorised breakdown of your spend across all your cards on Curve. You can see your top personal spend by category, as well as your top business spend by category. You can also see which cards you’ve used the most.
This is a virtual card in the Curve app. Your balance is made up of money earned through cashback, promos, or referrals, and any money sent to you from other people on Curve. If Curve isn’t able to process a refund to your bank account, it’ll arrive in Curve Cash.
Send money to friends
You can send money to anyone else on Curve by using their phone number. Head to ‘Send’ to see a list of your friends on Curve and you can send them money from any of your cards in your Curve Wallet. The money sent will instantly arrive in their Curve Cash card.
Curve Fronted – In the UK you can’t pay your taxes on a personal credit card, which is super annoying. You have to use a debit card, so if you don’t have the money to pay your tax bill, this can be a problem. With Curve Fronted you can pay your UK taxes or credit card bills with another credit card. There’s a 1.5% fee per transaction for Curve Blue and Curve Black customers, but the fee is waived if you get Curve Metal. If you have a rewards credit card this means you’ll also be able to get rewards on the transaction.
Anti-Embarassment Mode – If you turn this feature on you’ll save yourself from awkward moments if your card gets declined at the checkout. If your selected payment card doesn’t go through, Curve will automatically use your selected backup card to pay.
Add Loyalty Cards – Always forgetting your loyalty card at the checkout? Curve lets you add your loyalty cards to the app by scanning the barcode on your physical card. If your loyalty program isn’t on the list you can still manually add any barcode.
Earn 1% cashback in the first 30 days – In the first 30 days after sign up you’ll earn 1% cashback on all your purchases, even if you have the free version of the card. After that if you have Curve Black you’ll get 1% cashback at 3 retailers you select, while the Curve Metal gives you 1% cashback at 6 selected retailers. Examples of retailers you can choose from include Aldi, Waitrose, Tesco, Burger King, Costa Coffee, Starbucks, Pret a Manger, Amazon, Apple, Boots, Topshop, Zara, H&M (and many more).
Things I like about Curve Card
Curve is packed with features, whichever version you choose. In my year with Curve Metal I didn’t have to make any travel insurance claims or mobile phone insurance claims, so I can’t comment on the ease of the claims process. However, I can give my opinion on the general features of the Curve cards:
Great if you have multiple cards – I’m one of those people that has lots of different cards for different purposes. Cashback cards, air miles credit cards, PayPal card, debit…you name it. It’s a pain to carry a bunch of different cards everywhere so this allows me to use all of them while only carrying one card. While it works a bit like Apple Pay, it’s better because you get a physical Mastercard, so you can use it at places that don’t take Apple Pay. And if your phone dies, you can still use the card.
Useful if you’re a frequent traveller or an expat – I have cards issued both in the UK and the US and Curve lets me add both to the Curve Wallet, no matter which country they were issued in. Since the card offers fair FX rates, I can also travel knowing I’m not going to get hit with hefty fees. I used the card no problem and didn’t experience any declines, although I did have to approve a couple of payments in the app.
See payments in real-time – If you have notifications turned on then you’ll get a push notification when the transaction is successful. You can also see transactions in real-time, instead of waiting for them to show up on your bank statement.
Great for freelancers and business owners – The card is particularly attractive for freelancers and business owners because it allows you to do things like mark things as business expenses, add photo receipts and even have an email receipt sent to you. No more worrying about how to separate your business and personal expenses – you can simply spend on whichever card and then mark it as a business expense in the app.
Card can be locked if you lose it – If your Curve card gets lost or stolen, you can instantly lock it in the app.
My favorite feature: Back in Time
If there’s one reason you should definitely get the Curve card, it’s definitely their Back in Time feature. If you’ve paid on the wrong card, you can switch payments from one card to another, up to 90 days after the payment was made. All you have to do is tap the transaction you want to move, click “Go Back in Time” and swipe to the card you’d like to pay with instead. This is a brilliant feature that I used a few times, particularly if I wanted to free up space on one of my other credit cards. Curve runs the transaction on your new card and if it’s successful, they instantly credit your other card. Sometimes it can take a few days for the refund to show up on your statement, but I had great success with this feature.
Things I dislike about Curve Card
Refunds sometimes go to Curve cash – While on the whole most refunds went back to the original card I paid on, sometimes they didn’t and they ended up in my Curve Cash wallet. The issue with Curve Cash is that you can’t withdraw the money to your bank account, nor can you use it to pay off the card you paid on. The only way you can use it is by using the Curve Card to pay for things and making sure it automatically uses Curve Cash first. I did find one trick though to get around this – by opening a Revolut account, topping up my balance using Curve Card and then withdrawing the money from Revolut. So while this takes a little extra effort, I did actually find a solution to the problem.
Can’t use Amex – When I first signed up for Curve in 2016 I was able to link my American Express card to Curve but unfortunately this feature no longer exists. At the time it was a great way to use my Amex in places that didn’t actually accept Amex. Unfortunately since these days I do most of my spending on my Platinum Amex to get air miles, I do have to carry more than one card.
1% cashback is only at selected retailers – You don’t get 1% cashback on all purchases, just on purchases at selected retailers. You’d have to shop at those retailers pretty regularly to see any benefit, so it might be worth choosing somewhere where you do your weekly grocery shopping, such as Tesco or Waitrose.
If you get the free version, the fair foreign exchange rates are capped – I have credit cards and debit cards that charge no fees abroad and there’s no limit on the bank to bank exchange rate. With Curve Blue, there’s a £500 cap on the fair foreign exchange rate. If you plan on using the card regularly overseas or for foreign transactions, you’d definitely need one of the paid, premium versions of Curve.
Fee-free foreign ATM withdrawals have limits – If you travel a lot and withdraw large amounts at ATMs, you could go past your fee-free limit, even with Curve Metal. Curve Metal’s max is £600 per month.
Is Curve Metal worth it?
I’d say Curve Metal is worth it if you travel a fair bit and don’t have things like travel insurance and mobile phone insurance already packaged with your bank account. If you’re a frequent traveller then you’ll enjoy the lounge access that comes with LoungeKey, along with the unlimited fair foreign exchange rates. I’d assess how much you think you’ll travel within the year to decide if it’s actually worth the paid subscription. If you’re not planning to travel much then you’d be best off with the free card, Curve Blue.
Curve Metal is a nice-looking card though with a premium feel, so if you’re into aesthetics, you’ll like this card.
Want to get Curve?
Sign up using my promo code TRAVL to get £5 when you sign up. Just click on this link https://www.curve.com/join#TRAVL