review | curve card | is this the perfect foreign travel card?
travel fee-lessly, curve is here to save you from
crazy foreign transaction fees
I thought i would deviate from the usual posts on my adventures around the globe to introduce you to a service that i have been using since 2016 & find it invaluable while traveling abroad as a full-time as a digital nomad.
Curve card, is a digital wallet, travel currency card & so much more. if you travel or conduct business abroad then this card will become invaluable to you. Unlike other currency cards on the market, curve does not need to be topped up with funds before use its linked directly to the credit or debit cards of your choice even from other countries. This differs from Revolut, Monzo & Transferwise as you need to pre-load your balance beforehand, with the curve card it's all done automatically behind the scenes in real-time.
do i need a travel card?
For me personally as a digital nomad, traveling abroad full time i was always upset about the huge fees that banks charge me for my debit & credit card use abroad. For example, on my UK Natwest debit card the charges are 2.75% of the total amount of the transaction used in store & if you use an ATM they add another 2% on top of that, this was a similar case for my Chase debit card from the USA as they charge upto 5% per transaction. For someone like myself that travels full-time the fees could be hundreds of $/£/€'s every month. Compare this to the curve card fees of 0% in stores & a minimum of £200 / €200* / $250* free ATM withdrawals a month after that its 2%, a massive saving of over 60% per transaction. If you opt for the metal subscription then that goes up-to £600 / €600* / $700*. you'll also get some added benefits when subscribing to metal (see below).
security & benefits
Is it more secure than my current debit/credit card? The answer is quite simply, YES! Curve card offers the possibility to lock your card via the app when you find its missing or stolen. I personally keep my curve card locked until just a few moments before i use it, then i lock it again straight after the transaction has gone through. Any transactions on the card are also directly pushed to your iPhone via a notification so you know exactly how much & who is charging you. When purchasing online curve used 2FA through the app or via SMS effectively reducing fraud to zero.
Curve charges no, yes that's 0% on all transactions outside the currency of your selected card up-to a set amount, this differs based on the card that you choose (see fee structure below). e.g. if you spend $100 in new york then the fee would be $0 as they use the interbank exchange rate. If you decide to use your card in the UK with your UK bank card selected then the charge is also £0 as it's the same currency. I have a USA card & UK card attached to my account, so depending on the country that I'm in i change the card that i use.
ATM charges: they charge a flat fee of 2% over your limit depending on the card you have chosen. learn more about the fees they charge here
Curve has recently launched their summer campaign where they reduced the weekend fees until the end of summer 2022 (August 2022) & increased the fee-free limits up-to £/€1,000 per 30 rolling days for the Curve Free customers. Curve Black & Metal users have unlimited fee-free monthly allowance.
Curve uses Mastercard’s fixed daily foreign exchange rate (the same as your Monzo card) to ensure the best rates across all your cards in your Curve wallet.
is a credit check required?
No. Curve card is technically classed as a prepaid card, so no credit check is required.
what's the downside?
I have not come across one yet. yes, it's true... I have been using the curve card for over 5 years & i can honestly say that i have not come across any issues. It has been accepted for every transaction in every country that i have ever travelled too, over 120 to date.
can they be trusted?
Curve offers similar protection to a standard UK/USA traditional bank debit cards where users will not be liable for unauthorised purchases from the moment, they inform curve that their card has been stolen (see terms of service for full information).
In the same way as PayPal or Amazon 3rd party purchases, using curve is not a direct purchase from the user’s original card, so the purchases are not covered by section 75 of the consumer credit act (UK).
However, curve users are protected by mastercard chargeback rights, where refunds can be provided if goods are damaged, not as described, or the merchant has ceased trading.
can i use the curve card to pay for a hotel or car rental deposit?
Curve will automatically assume that charges from hotels or car rental agencies over £150 are deposits. They treat these transactions differently to all others, putting a hold on payment capture, so the curve card effectively acts like a credit card would. However, curve cannot distinguish between deposit pre-auths & normal transactions, so for amounts below £150, curve will always process the transaction, much like if you paid on a debit card.
Curve offers an increased atm withdrawal limit £600/€600/$700* per month without extra fee's. You will also get travel insurance, car rental insurance, mobile phone cover & discounted access to airport lounges around the globe. Metal also come with a few killer features such as 1% cash back at selected stores & a 'go back in time' feature (this let's you go back up to 120 days after the transaction & change the card you used to make the purchase).
£14.99/€14.99/$20* pm | £/€150 py.
Banks have always made vast amounts of profit from charging travellers unfair & overinflated fees on atm & in-store transactions.
Curve changes all that. it charges a very fair amount for the service they provide. I will never go back to using my legacy bank cards as i have personally save over £/$3000 in the last 5 years alone...
(note: this post is only relevant to uk & european residents at present august 2022, curve are planning a launch in the usa soon)