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Student Banking

What is a Curve card?

Many apps give users the option to track their spending and to see how much is going out per month... but have you heard of the Curve card?

curve card phone apple pay

Credit: Curve

You may have seen us promote the Curve card on Save the Student, but do you know what it is and the advantages of using it?

There are so many benefits that come with owning a Curve card, such as getting the best rates on travel money, going 'back in time' to switch payment cards on a purchase and earning 1% cashback. You can also earn cash for free by referring friends and family!

Sign up here for the free £10 with Curve. When you sign up using our link, you'll get a £10 bonus within three days of making your first transaction on your account.

What is Curve?

Curve is an app that conveniently stores all of your debit and credit cards in the same place, under one card. You'll be able to see what you've spent with which retailer and a summary of what you're spending in different categories, under 'insights'.

There are three different cards you can select when signing up for a Curve card. We'll explain all of the details in depth later on. The standard card is free and offers most of the same features as their paid cards.

There's the option to pay £9.99 a month for the Curve black card, which will give access to Curve Cash (which lets you earn cashback on your purchases). The most expensive card is £14.99 – however don't write it off straight away, as it does have some big benefits, especially if you're a keen traveller.

What is Curve Cash?

pound coins and notes

Credit: Ubermensch Matt – Shutterstock

Curve Cash allows you to earn cashback on purchases you make with a Curve card. A loyalty scheme, if you please.

For the first 30 days that you're a customer with Curve, you'll have the chance to earn 1% cashback in Curve Cash on all of your purchases! After this, you'll require the black Curve card or the metal Curve card to earn Curve Cash to spend as you wish.

For the black card, you're able to select three retailers and for the metal card, you can select six retailers from which to earn cashback. You can choose from over 100 stores, including Deliveroo, Uber and Amazon.

If you're a lucky duck and signed up with Curve before 16th February 2018, you'll be on their old cashback scheme, which means essentially you can be on the free card and continue to earn cashback with selected retailers!

How do I spend my Curve Cash?

A single Curve Cash point is equal to one penny, and so if you earn 100 points, you'll have accrued £1 to spend. Your Curve Cash has no monetary value and as such, you'll be unable to withdraw it to your bank – you'll only be able to spend it using your Curve Card.

On the Curve app, you'll be able to view your Curve Cash in both GBP and Curve points. To switch views between these, simply tap the screen on your balance.

To use your Curve Cash, all you have to do is pay in full for your item with your Curve Cash card. Make sure you select this card to pay and ensure that the item you're paying for is covered in full by the amount in your balance, as you're unable to make any part payments with Curve Cash.

If your item is £5 and you've earned £4.99 in Curve Cash, you won't be able to use it for this purchase. You also won't be able to earn cashback on purchases you make using Curve Cash. If you get a refund on an item that you used your points to pay with, the money will be refunded back to your Curve Cash card.

Where can't you use your Curve Cash?

It's also important to note the limitations of Curve Cash ahead of time so you're well aware before using it. You're unable to withdraw Curve Cash at any ATM, nor will you be able to transfer it to a friend via Curve Send.

You can't redeem your points for cash and it's important to note too that they'll expire after 6 months, so make sure you're hot on spending them so you don't miss out.

What can you use Curve for?

person holding curve card coffee in background

Credit: Curve

As we mentioned above, the standard card is free. You'll only get up to £500 a month on fair FX rates and a fee-free foreign £200 cash withdrawal a month, so you can get good rates on your selected currency for travel. However, if you're not travelling frequently, you may not need any more than this.

The Curve black card costs £9.99 a month and does everything that the standard card does, but gives you unlimited access to fair FX rates, a fee-free foreign £400 cash withdrawal a month, alongside 1% cashback on three retailers selected by you on Curve Cash.

That means if you're consistently spending with three companies, you can earn 1% of the value as cashback for you to spend! You'll also get worldwide travel insurance, which again is great if you're a frequent traveller.

Lastly, there's the Curve metal card, which is a hefty £14.99 a month. You'll get everything we previously mentioned with the standard and black Curve cards, however, you're able to withdraw a fee-free foreign £600 cash per month.

You're also able to select six retailers from which to gain 1% cashback on Curve Cash, as well as mobile phone insurance, a worldwide airport lounge key and a rental car collision waiver insurance. All on an 18g metal card.

This may seem expensive but if you're prone to travelling, spend a lot of money to gain cashback from and pay separately for mobile phone insurance, it may be worth taking a look to see if this will suit your lifestyle.

Anti-embarrassment mode

Have you ever gone to pay using your debit card, and the payment has been declined? Embarrassing right? Don't worry, we've all been there!

Curve have cleverly developed 'anti-embarrassment mode', whereby users can set two backup cards that Curve will automatically use if your card is declined at the checkout – saving you a red face at the till.

To activate anti-embarrassment mode, head to the Curve app. You'll want to go to settings on the app, Features, Anti-Embarrassment Mode, then turn it on. You'll be prompted to choose up to two backup cards that Curve can use for payment if your set card fails.

Go Back in Time

Did you use the wrong card for a purchase and it messed up your accounts, leaving you annoyed and wishing you could go back in time to use your other card? Another great feature of Curve is that you can use their 'Go Back in Time' feature, for up to £5,000, up to 30 days after you've paid for an item.

Changing the card you used to pay for an item couldn't be simpler. Tap the transaction you want to change, scroll to the bottom of the screen and choose 'Go Back in Time'.

All you need to do from here is swipe through your Curve Wallet on the screen and select the new card you wish to use for the payment. You'll only be able to do this once per purchase, so make sure you choose the right card!

If you need to Go Back in Time for purchases over £5,000, get in touch with them here.

No charges on holiday

girl on suitcase

Credit: Poprotskiy Alexey - Shutterstock

An added benefit to the Curve card is that you can very easily use it for good exchange rates when you're at your destination, so you don't have to think ahead and potentially waste time trying to find the best rates.

No ATM fees abroad

Say goodbye to ATM fees when withdrawing cash abroad! The Curve card will allow you to make free withdrawals. If you're on their standard card (free), you'll get free withdrawals up to £200 per month. If you have a black card, you'll be able to take out up to £400 per month.

The metal card will allow you to withdraw up to £600, which is great if you're an avid traveller, but as we previously mentioned, this card will cost £14.99 a month.

Real-time alerts on your phone

You'll also be able to see real-time alerts on your phone as to how much you're spending and where. If you're sticking to a holiday budget (we love a budget!), it's helpful to keep track via phone notifications of how much you're spending and where. It's also great if you accidentally lose your card, so you can track if someone's spending on it and then freeze the card.

Get cashback

If you book with some of Curve's travel partners, you'll be able to get extra cashback with these retailers by paying with your Curve card. Take a look at the providers here.

What can't you do with Curve?

debit cards bank accounts

Credit: Chermen Otaraev – Shutterstock

As much as you can connect debit and credit cards, you'll be unable to connect your American Express credit card and any credit card from Maestro. As a result, you won't be able to combine any cashback from AMEX, for example, with Curve's cashback.

It's important to note too, that you won't be covered by Section 75 of The Consumer Credit Act if you use your credit card through Curve. This is because the spend would come from Curve, a third-party provider, rather than your original card where you would be protected.

Section 75 basically means that any transactions over £100 up to £30,000 are protected legally if the goods you purchased on a credit card weren't as they should've been or if you didn't even receive them. Your card provider would then take the same responsibility as the retailer you buy from and must return the money.

However, you will be covered by Curve Customer Protection. So if you have any issues with a purchase, you'll be able to make a claim with Curve and they can raise a dispute on your behalf to try and get your money back. This would cover defective goods, goods not received, counterfeit goods when a merchant fails to refund you or even duplicate charges.

You can see more about Curve Customer Protection here.

How to apply for a Curve card

It's very simple to apply for a Curve card and claim your free £10:

  1. Head to this page to get your free £10 bonus with our promo code
  2. 'Click to get this deal'
  3. Enter your phone number to get started
  4. Download the Curve app
  5. Enter your personal details
  6. You'll be able to start spending almost straight away with Apple/Android Pay
  7. Once you've made your first transaction, you should get your free £10 in three days.

Is this the best app-based bank for you? Check out our full app-based bank comparison guide.

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