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Curve card offers all-in-one debit and credit card

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A new card called Curve is designed to be the only card you ever need to carry. But how does it work and what does it cost?

Fed up with carrying several debit and credit cards around with you? The company behind a new card called Curve claim it is the only card you need to carry as it offers mobile payments, no fees on foreign exchange and the ability to use it like an American Express card.

But does Curve live up to the hype?

How it works

Curve basically combines all your other bank cards on to one card, and works in conjunction with a smartphone app.

To get started you need to download the Curve app, take photos of your cards with your phone, then add in the security code like you would when shopping online.

Using the app, you select what card or account you want to use. Then your Curve card works just like the card you’ve selected and draws money from that account.

You can set a default card and then select other cards for specific transactions. You don’t need to open the app for every purchase – just if you want to switch the card used.

Everything is processed like a UK shop transaction, which eliminates the extra fees cardholders often face for using their card abroad.

The app lists every payment made with the card, allowing you to track your transactions and keep on top of exactly how much you’ve spent.

Curve benefits

Curve works on the MasterCard network so can be used wherever Mastercard is accepted – including magnetic strip terminals (still common abroad), chip and pin, and contactless terminals. This means you can use the card to pay by American Express, even in places where Amex isn’t accepted.

All foreign transactions carried out on the card will be charged at the MasterCard wholesale rate, plus 1%. This works out much cheaper than most debit cards, which pile foreign loading charges and transaction fees onto overseas purchases.

There is still a £2 charge to use foreign ATMs, but that’s similar to what most banks charge anyway.

Curve users can also use the contactless element to pay for London transport, with Transport for London calculating the best fare for each day or week, the same as it does for other contactless cards.

What about security?

Curve is basically a prepaid MasterCard, so has bank ­level protection and all the security features of traditional cards.

With Curve your original card details and data are never revealed to the merchant. Instead, when making a purchase with Curve, online or in­store, a unique token is used to process your payment, keeping your identity and the actual card numbers safe.

Curve claims these added layers of security protect against fraud and remove the worry that often comes when a bank card is lost, as the original cards are safely at home.

If you lose your Curve card, you can cancel it instantly from your phone or online. Curve will send a replacement card for free.

Any downsides?

The Curve card has an initial £35 fee although this includes shipping. After that, both the card and app are free to use.

When it comes to reward schemes, cardholders with straightforward rewards schemes such as the American Express Platinum Cashback credit card will earn points and cashback as normal.

However, what Curve won’t do is let you accrue additional points often on offer for using cards linked to specific retailers.

For example, supermarket credit cards such as Tesco and Sainsbury’s offer extra points if you use them in the supermarkets in question, while Virgin’s White and BlackAmerican Express cards give you additional points if you buy a Virgin flight. Using Curve will mean you just get the standard rewards on these transactions, rather than a boosted return.

Another downside is that Curve only works on iOS at the moment, so it’s iPhone users only for now. However, an Android version will be launched in the future.

Curve is only in ‘soft launch’ phase at the moment and is being trialled by a limited number of users, mostly businesses, entrepreneurs and freelancers. It will roll out to the general public at large in the coming months.

 


Curve card offers all-in-one debit and credit card – BT. 2016. Curve card offers all-in-one debit and credit card – BT. [ONLINE] Available at: http://home.bt.com/lifestyle/money/cards-loans/curve-card-offers-all-in-one-debit-and-credit-card-11364042214167. [Accessed 04 March 2016].

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