review | curve card | is this the best foreign travel card?
'a travellers & digital nomads best money saving friend'
(£5/€6 free promo code included in this article)
i thought i would deviate from the usual posts on amazing places that i visit around the world to write about a service that i find invaluable while traveling abroad as a digital nomad.
it's called curve card, it's a travel currency card. if you travel or conduct business abroad then this card will become invaluable to you. unlike other currency cards this one does not need to be topped up with funds before use. its linked directly to your credit or debit cards of your choice even from other countries. you can add as many as you like. this differs from revolut, monzo & transferwise cards as you need to load money on beforehand, with the curve card it's all automatic.
why do i need a currency card?
well for me personally as a digital nomad traveling abroad full time is all about the huge fees that banks charge for debit and credit card use abroad. for example, on my UK natwest debit card charges are 2.75% of the total amount of the transaction used at store if you use an atm they add another 2% on top of that. that's a whopping 4.75% for someone like me this is crazy. this compares to the curve card fees of 0% in stores & £200 / €230 free atm withdrawals a month after that its 2% a saving of over 60% per transaction.
security & benefits
is it more secure than my bank card? the answer is 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 or android device via a notification so you know exactly when & who is charging you.
curve charges no, yes that's 0% on all transactions that are outside the currency of your card selected. e.g. if you spend $100 in new york then the charge would be $0 they use the interbank exchange rate. if you decided 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 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 £200 / €230 per month. learn more about the fees they charge here
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 2 years and i can honestly that i have not come across any issues. it has been excepted for every transaction in every country that i have travelled too.
can they be trusted?
curve offers similar protection to a standard UK high street 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.
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.
banks have always made vast amounts of profit from charging travellers unfair & overinflated fees on atm and merchant transactions.
curve changes all that. it charges a very fair amount for the service they provide. i will never go back to using my original bank cards as i have personally save over £1500 in the last 2 years alone...
a little something free for you...
download the app for android or iPhone and enter this promo code: CARLO when prompted it will give you £5 free credit.
(note: this post is only relevant to uk & european residents at present april 2019)