MSE News

Amex blocks Curve 'all-in-one' debit card

Amex blocks Curve 'all-in-one' debit card

Curve cardholders have been stopped from linking their American Express cards to the 'all-in-one' service less than two days after the new functionality was introduced. 

On Monday, Curve announced that all cardholders would be able to link their Amex cards to their Curve debit cards following a successful trial.

Curve's app allows you to link your Mastercard and Visa debit and credit cards to your Curve debit card, to do your spending on the one card. You can see all of your spending in the app, and it can also be used as a way of spending on your credit card in places that don't officially take credit cards.

Monday's announcement would have meant Amex holders could have linked their account to their Curve card, and used it to collect cashback and rewards in places that don't accept Amex.

But Curve confirmed today that the link-up with Amex ended abruptly on Tuesday evening.

For more information on the best credit card for you, see our Credit Card guides.

What is Curve?

The Curve debit card allows you to link existing credit and debit cards to it using its app (available for Android and iOS). 

Whenever you spend on the card, your respective Mastercard or Visa card is charged that amount – though to spend on your Amex using Curve you had to load funds into an e-wallet in advance.

One reason you might have done this was that you can use your Curve card at shops and other places that don't accept credit cards and then charge it to your credit card (though by doing this, you lose Section 75 protection).

The most generous cashback credit cards are currently issued by Amex, so before this latest announcement, you could've used Curve to earn rewards shopping in places where you couldn't previously.

There are three versions of Curve: a fee-free Blue card, a £9.99/month Black card and a £14.99/month Metal card. All are similar, though its paid-for cards offer extras such as travel insurance and higher overseas withdrawal limits. 

Here are some other benefits of using Curve:

  • Change the card you've used up to two weeks later. The card lets you do everyday spending on it, and has a feature that lets you 'go back in time' by up to two weeks, to change the card you used for a purchase, eg, in case you accidentally used the wrong card.

  • Lock your card and get PIN reminders in-app. If you lose your card, you can freeze it in the app, and unlock it later if you find it again. You can also get a PIN reminder by entering your password or using your fingerprint ID in the app.

  • Spend and withdraw overseas fee-free. Any card you link to Curve will offer you fee-free overseas spending and cash withdrawals – meaning you can dodge typical 3% fees charged by banks. However, it's worth nothing that Curve applies a mark-up to its rates at weekends and free withdrawals are limited depending on which of its cards you have. See our MSE News story for how Curve's overseas perk stacks up.

What if I had linked my Amex to Curve?

In an email to cardholders, Curve said that you would be able to spend any balances held in its Amex wallets. You should also be able to withdraw your cash, but if you have any problems or queries, contact Curve.

We've asked Amex whether its customers will still receive cashback if they spent on their Curve card when linked to an Amex cashback card, and will update when we hear back. 

Why is Amex no longer supported by Curve?

The reason as to why Amex has blocked Curve is not yet clear, but in a statement, Curve blames Amex for the decision.

A spokesperson said: "We regret that American Express has deemed it necessary to take this action and we do not agree with their decision.

"However, Curve customers can rest assured that they can still spend any funds they may have already topped up in their existing Amex wallets. While there may be a delay in replying, we will endeavour to respond to all our customers who have contacted us for support."

What does American Express say?

A spokesperson said: "American Express participated in a limited Curve beta test where we enabled a small number of card members to load funds onto an e-wallet using their Amex card in the Curve app. 

"Following this beta test we informed Curve that we would not participate in the further roll-out of the Curve e-wallet."