Existing free users need to watch out when using it abroad
by Zoe Stabler, Senior Writer
Curve has made several changes to all of its plans, including a rise in some monthly subscription fees and other charges and allowances.
We’ve had a dig through the paperwork to work out what’s changed and whether Curve is still worth hanging on to.
What is Curve
Curve is an app and debit card that allow you to connect and pay with multiple credit and debits cards. It has additional smart features such as the ability to “go back in time” to change the payment card after you’ve already made the transaction.
What are the changes?
Curve is shaking up its fees and making some changes to some of the core features of all of its subscriptions from 15 November 2023.
We’ve focused mainly on the changes to the free plan, however, we’ve added some more details on the changes to paid-for subscriptions below.
The main changes to be aware of are:
- A lower fee-free allowance for spending and withdrawing abroad – you used to be able to withdraw £200 without fees and spend up to £1,000, however, all withdrawals now come with a fee, while the fee-free spending limit has changed to £250.
- Fees for all cash withdrawals
- A higher delivery fee and replacement card fee
Curve has slightly improved part of the offering, by letting you connect 3 cards instead of 2 and you can set an extra smart rule. This doesn’t outweigh the huge drop in its overseas offering, so it would no longer be a product we recommend for use abroad – we talk about this a little more later on.
Here are the key facts, we’ve placed a ❗to highlight changes:
|Curve – Free Plan||Previous offering||From 15 November|
|Minimum term||No minimum||No minimum|
|Replacement card fee||£4.99||❗£5.99|
|Cards you can connect||2||❗3|
|Go Back in Time limits||3||3|
|ATM Withdrawal fee||First 10 free|
Then 50p per withdrawal
|❗The greater of: 2% of the withdrawal amount|
|Currency conversion fee (spending)||Fee free up to £1,000/ 30 days|
Then higher of: 2% or £2 above Mastercard Wholesale Rate
|❗Fee free up to £250/ 30 days|
Then 2.5% above Mastercard Wholesale Rate
|Currency conversion fee – weekends and public holidays||EUR, GBP, USD: Currency conversion fee, as above, no additional charge|
Other currencies: Currency conversion fee, as above, +1%
|❗EUR, GBP, USD: Currency conversion fee, as above, +0.5%|
Other currencies: Currency conversion fee, as above, +1.5%
|Foreign ATM withdrawal||Fee-free £200 every 30 days||❗The greater of: 2% of the withdrawal amount|
Or £2 in addition to Mastercard Wholesale Rate.
How have the paid-for subscriptions changed?
Since we don’t think it’s worth paying for Curve we won’t go into full details of the changes to these plans, but here are the key details about all the Curve subscriptions. Again these changes that will come into effect from 15 November 2023.
|Plan||Price/ change||Number of cards||Notable changes|
|Curve X||❗£5.99 (was £4.99) a month||5||£12 more per year|
Higher fee-free foreign ATM withdrawals (now £300/month)
|Curve Black||£9.99 a month||Unlimited||No longer a 6-month minimum term|
Higher fee-free foreign ATM withdrawals (now £500/month)
|Curve Metal||❗£17.99 (was £14.99) a month||Unlimited||Replacement card and cancellation fees now £59.99 (was £50)|
Higher fee-free foreign ATM withdrawals (now £600/month)
Why is Curve making changes?
When we received details of the changes, which were in an email about updated Terms of Service, Curve said it was because it was introducing new products and services. In this email, it mentioned that its subscription schedules were changing to reflect the new pricing.
One of the new products is a credit card. This has its BNPL “Flex” feature built-in and can get you Section 75 protection even when you pay with a debit card. The card is only in beta and is only available for commercial cardholders at the moment. We’ll share more if it goes wider.
In the initial email, Curve also mentioned new features, so there could be a potential for Curve to have a comeback. We’ll report on any new announcements that might change our view of it.
What does this mean for existing Curve customers?
The new fees and changes take effect on 15 November, so any bills and payments after this date will be the ones reflected in the new schedule.
We’ve contacted Curve to ask whether you can cancel paid subscriptions if you’re unhappy with the changes without paying any fees – some of these have minimum terms or you may have paid upfront for a year.
We’ve also enquired whether customers can get ahead of the price changes by paying for a year upfront before they come into play. We’ll update this article when we hear back.
Is it time to ditch Curve?
Curve was a great proposition initially, with the opportunity to carry only one card for most of your accounts (Amex sadly never made it).
But then Apple and Google wallets were introduced and it’s probably been weeks since I’ve taken my purse out with me at all. Last year when I lost my Curve debit card, I found out that I hadn’t used the physical card for more than four months.
And then last year Curve drastically reduced the smart features available for free – leaving even fewer positive reasons to have one. In fact using one on holiday was pretty much it.
Historically, Editor-in-chief Andy has written about Curve being a good option to take abroad, as it allowed you to spend up to £1,000 on your debit card and withdraw up to £200 abroad every 30 days without paying any fees. Though other cards are better, it was a cheap and useful backup.
Now the fee-free allowance has dropped to £250 for spending and they’ve introduced fees to withdraw cash even in the UK, it’s going to be quite restrictive. You can find our pick of alternatives in our article on the best cards to use abroad.
But though these changes make free Curve a little redundant, it’s worth keeping a free account in case there are any decent new features announced – we’ll continue to keep an eye on Curve to bring you more news.