Shock Update: Amex has pulled Curve functionality, only days after launching. Watch this space for updates. For now, it’s advised not to sign up for any non free version until more clarification is offered.

When’s it actually coming? Will it be free? Is there a limit? Today, Amex is officially back with the UK’s revolutionary Curve Card, and we finally have the answers. When Curve stopped accepting Amex, it was like the announcement that ‘Friends’ was coming to an end after its 10th season. It was a body blow, to say the least. But back in November 18′, Curve began a beta test, offering a select group of users the chance to bring Amex back. That test was successful and its now ready for mass consumption, but that’s far from the whole story developing at Curve. In fact, the entire game has changed…

Three Tiers Of Curve Card

There are now three tiers of Curve Card, and yes one is still free. Curve “Blue” acts just as it does now. Curve “Black” is an upgraded offering and Curve “Metal” is the premium, flagship brand with a variety of benefits and perks, in aim of justifying its monthly fee. So we’re all on the same page, here’s what continues make Curve interesting.

  • You can link all your credit and debit cards onto one Curve card, which you control with an app. You can switch cards in a blink.
  • You can spend abroad without paying FX fees, even on cards which charge them. Unlike other no FX cards, you can earn points on all these transactions.
  • You can take out cash abroad at ATM’s with no fee, the best way to do it. You’re able to unlock real exchange rates without eating usage fees for ATM’s abroad.
  • You can earn points. Curve lets you earn points at places you usually can’t, like your tax bill, or even for taking out cash.

How Amex Now Works With Curve

The big question was how Curve would reintegrate with Amex, and that’s now very clear. Curve users can “top up” their Curve balances using an Amex card. You absolutely earn Amex points on these transactions, despite silly rumors which circulated pre launch. Each card level allows different amounts of “fee free” top ups with Amex, and the “Metal” tier has no maximum. While topping up sounds annoying, you can actually set up “auto top-up”, which means even if you only have a £5 top up balance, and want to buy a £500 watch, it’ll top up automatically in real time. No effort needed. Consider it more of a technicality than a fidget.

Do Note: If you currently have the Curve app, you need to uninstall and reinstall to link your Amex card successfully, otherwise it will not work.

About the no FX fees: Curve doesn’t charge any FX fees during the week, but weekends can be hit with up to 1.5%. That’s still always going to be lower than what all cards charge. Learn more about how that works, and why it happens here, under “fee tables”.

Tier One: Curve Blue

Curve “Blue” is pretty simple. It’s basically what you have right now, if you already have Curve, with the addition of Amex acceptance. Curve “Blue” is free, but it has limits which may make a different version more useful, depending on your spending and travel habits – and your appetite for earning maximum points without any added expense!

  • £200 in “fee free” ATM transactions abroad. 2% after that.
  • No FX fees on up to £500 monthly credit card spend abroad. Seriously.
  • 1% cash back at 3 retailers of your choosing, if you already have card.
  • 0.65% fee per Amex top up, on every top up.

Our take: There are “no foreign exchange fee” credit cards for spending abroad, but they don’t allow you to earn points. Curve accomplishes the no fee goal, while allowing you to earn points from the linked card. If you don’t travel or spend much, free is always good and this version is essential for any traveler. If however you spend much more than £500 abroad or take out more than £200 in cash each month abroad, you’re *may* to want to upgrade.

Tier Two: Curve Black

Curve Black is £9.99 per month and you can cancel at any time. While most people will go “ugh” for adding fees, Curve has actually done something rather clever and created benefits which help justify the fee, and not just with points and top up stuff…

  • Fee free foreign ATM transactions double to £400 per month. 2% or £2 after.
  • You get £1000 in “no fee” Amex top ups each month.
  • Unlimited no fee spending in 200 currencies using Mastercard or Visa.
  • Travel and gadget insurance, covering delayed flights and some cracks.

Our take: If you use Amex, £4,000 per year or £333 per month in spending abroad would instantly justify the £9.99 per month or £120 a year annual fee, but you could also basically accomplish that low level of spend with the no fee “blue” version. If you do much more than that, and add in the insurance benefits, this is better. But if you’re spending much more than that you should probably consider going all the way to Metal, which is only £2.50 per month more.

Top Tier: Curve Metal

At £14.99 per month, or £150 if paid annually, Curve Metal better be worth it. Arguably, it really is if you’re a big spender. That’s especially true if you’re putting major spend through your cards abroad and want points in the process. Extra especially true if that includes earning Amex points on HMRC tax bills! Annual foreign spend on an Amex over £10,000 covers the £150 annual fee, by saving you the 2.99% forex fees Amex would otherwise charge. Those would otherwise amount to £290, if not using Curve. AND, most importantly for some, it’s made of a 18g brushed metal card.

  • Fee free foreign ATM access goes up to £600 free withdrawals per month.
  • UNLIMITED Amex top ups, with no fee. It’s like the old days.
  • Travel and gadget coverage like Curve Black, but with luggage included.
  • Collision Damage Waiver Insurance for car rentals worldwide.
  • Up to 60% off lounge access, via LoungeKey program.

Our take: If you’re spending £5000 abroad or more each year, the savings you gain from using Amex through Curve versus just using Amex abroad on its own instantly justify having the card.

Don’t forget, many linked Visa and Mastercard credit cards can be used to withdraw cash abroad at ATM’s, which means you earn points even when taking out cash, all with no fee. This helps to unlock spending and benefit bonuses associated with many credit cards.

You can pay absolutely your HMRC tax bill using your Curve, because it’s a debit card. Since the underlying card may be a credit card, you can earn a tremendous amount of points on unavoidable expenses.

Add in benefits like collision damage waiver, device coverage including loss and theft (and screen cracks for everything but phone) and you’ve got a very compelling package. You can choose between Rose Gold, Limited Edition Red and Blue.

Sign Up For Curve And Get £5 Free

Curve offers a new user referral bonus of £5, which is cool. Simply download the app, where you can choose which Curve product to order. When you do, enter C5CFD and you’ll get £5 after your first purchase using Curve regardless what card you choose. You can use it to buy yourself a coffee or anything else under £5, and we get £5 too for hooking up the info. Here’s how that works. Call it friends with benefits.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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27 Comments

  1. But since Curve dumped Amex (or vice versa ?) then we’ve gotten other cards which have no FX fees.

    So the true maths is whether the points you can accrue on the Amex spend alone justify the £150 fee because no-one pays the 2.99% charge anyway.

    If you value Avios at 1p and you have a BAPP Amex, then you need to generate 15,000 Avios or £10,000 spending where you would otherwise have to use a non Amex card.

    That is reasonably hard, as most big ticket places take Amex.

    I also have a Marriott Mastercard which gives me 1 Marriott points for every £1. If you value them at 0.3p then that £10,000 spend brings in £30 value, meaning that you need £180 back from Curve via Amex or £12k spend at 1.5 Avios per £1.

    I can’t see me doing £1k per month of non Amex spend.

    1. This is definitely an interesting approach, but as it stands all UK Amex cards still charge 2.99 forex fees. Most people sock drawer their Amex cards abroad because of this, and Curve is one of the better workarounds.

      There are just other solutions like Curve which can help, but all now cost similar monthly or annual fees to unlock their potential.

      Everyone has different levels of spending and different programs they enjoy. This is one of the best solutions, without doubt.

    2. I consider “no FX cards” to be one of the most misused words at the moment – belying the difference between interbank FX rate and card provider FX Rate. Curve is competing with Revolut in terms of Interbank FX transfers, and the membership fees are quite comparable. Problem I have with Revolut is I already get better benefits from Amex, and I’d rather accrue miles – so Curve is a better solution.

      If you know of a high limit, fee-free interbank card Talay, please inform the rest of us :-).

      Even my 0.5% cashback MBNA Horizon card is billed as a “no FX” card, though from experience Visa Europe’s FX rate is 1-2% away from the Interbank rate offered by Revolut and Curve (best I have got is 0.4% north). Mastercard Europe has a similar delta between it’s FX rate and the interbank rate. So if you spend £10k a year abroad on No FX cards, you are still losing £100 – 200 on the gap to Spot. In that way Curve pays for itself before you consider Air Miles, sign-up bonuses, etc. (NB I am yet to purchase Curve Metal but probably will).

      As a side note Gib, sorry to hear about what you have been going through. Thoughts with you and the family.

  2. That article reads like a bad commercial.
    If you like like to jump off a cliff, an extensive fence is a great deal.
    Same with using Amex in a foreign country (really nobody with at least a little bit of understanding does that). I was considering linking my Amex to my blue account but it just says that my Amex is not supported. So it’s also untrue that we can now link our Amex cards as it’s limited to certain cards only…
    Don’t like paid ad articles like these on godsavethepoints… If that article wasn’t paid for then I’m sorry for the declining quality of articles

    1. Mathias. You need to logout of the app and re download it. Then you will be able to use it.

      The entire point of Curve is that “no one knows” you’re actually using Amex abroad, because you’re using the Curve Mastercard. What’s linked to said Mastercard, only you know.

      In the spirit of goodness, I’ll choose to ignore your ignorant comments.

  3. What about the 1.5% fx fee that curve add at weekends for non usd/eur transactions? That makes a serious dent in your savings if you mostly travel at weekends. Even the curve metal still charges that fee, right?

  4. Worth noting that the £417 per month of FX spend in your example would be covered by the free Blue card. Whilst you would pay 0.65% to recharge this to an Amex, that would only be £32.50 – substantially less than the £150 annual charge for Metal. Leaving aside the other benefits of Metal which may or may not be attractive to some people, if your primary use of Curve is to put free FX spend on to your Amex then, at the levels quoted in the article, the Blue card will be more cost effective.

    I believe you would need to be putting nearer £20,000 total spend through Curve recharged to an underlying Amex before the charge for Metal paid off. Easy to justify if you have a large HMRC bill to clear, but for day to day spending where an increasing number of retailers accept Amex then its a closer call.

  5. Another thought regarding metal or black for using AMEX is that you are already paying an annual fee for AMEX gold or platinum with similar benefits. Why pay twice?

  6. Code QQKSV: £5 FREE! I’ve been using Curve for a year and watched it grow into the best card on the market!

    The concept of all your cards in one, and a brilliant modern app to manage it all. I’m not great with money so enjoy the budgeting insights and retailer cashback.

    Since then they’ve added zero foreign fees, making this the perfect app for travellers.

    Genuinely the FinTech future of banking, and no impact on your credit score, why not give it a try?

    1. Given GSTP goes to the trouble of preparing all of this content, and is the reason people are on this page, surely it would be polite to *not* compete with his referral code (C5CFD). As for “the future of banking” comment, given Curve is not a bank, and Shachar Bialick has all but ruled out applying for a banking license in the near term – I’d have to disagree.

      Big fan of Curve, but lets not get carried away; i’m just happy to make hay while the sun shines.

  7. A couple of Questions on the technicalities of the topped up balance

    1) is there a mechanism to get any residual balance in my amex card in my Curv wallet moved back onto my Amex (or moved elsewhere, to say spend 7.50 from that balance aggregated with another balance/card)
    2 it is not clear to me what would happen if I top up by say £100 and then cancel that amex account, will I still be able to use that 100£ on the cancelled card?

  8. A couple of questions on the technicalities of this

    1) if I have some nominal residual left in my topped up balance, can I reverse that (credit back into my amex account) or aggregate it/spend it with another card on Curv? From their email today you cannot take cash out of the amex topped up balance => do you just need to try to spend all of it to zero
    2) if I top up say £100, and then cancel the amex card behind it, can I still use that balance on the cancelled card or is it blocked/reversed etc?

    Thanks

  9. Looks like as of a few hours ago amex have cancelled their top up option with curve. Curve fighting it as deemed not competitive. Hope it gets resolved after all the excitement of the last 2 days. Am in Asia so picked up this mn email couple of hours ago…
    Sorry Gil, unaware of your family problems…missed that news…

  10. So sorry to read about the loss of little Grace. Our hearts go out to you. Hope you gather strength over the next few weeks and months.
    Tnx also for continuing to blog through these sad times.

    1. You might be glad you didn’t transfer more, there’s no protection on money held by Curve, and I’d consider it at risk.

      I think it is preemptive to blame AMEX. Curve were encroaching on the AMEX business model (plenty of Plat cards flashed abroad) even before they started offering (vastly inferior) perks.

      It’s a real shame – the core value proposition was a good one.

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