MSE News

Curve 'all-in-one' debit card launches new cashback scheme, but is it any good?

Curve cardholders can now earn 1% cashback at over 50 major retailers, following the launch of 'Curve Cash' – which is decent on its free card, but it's not worth upgrading to its paid-for cards.

The Curve 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.

The revamp of its cashback scheme means that those who link cards to the Curve app will now be able to earn 1% cashback at a number of big name brands, including Amazon, Easyjet, Netflix, Sainsbury's, Tesco and Virgin Trains, on top of any existing rewards, though it's worth noting that Amex cards – which offer the most generous cashback cards – no longer work with Curve.

For more on the best cards to bag cashback when you spend, see our Credit Card Rewards guide.

How does Curve Cash work?

Those with Curve's fee-free Blue card, or its £9.99/mth Black card, can choose up to three retailers in which to earn 1% cashback, while those who pay £14.99/mth for the Curve Metal card can choose up to six retailers – see the Curve website for a full list.

Sadly for those with Curve Blue, cashback can only be earned for 90 days, whereas Black or Metal cardholders can earn cashback for an unlimited time.

The cashback will be paid into a digital Curve Cash card within the Curve app, which can be spent immediately at any retailer that accepts Mastercard.

Curve has confirmed to us that there are no spending limits, meaning you can earn an unlimited amount of cashback.

Is it worth signing up to the free Curve card?

While Curve Cash only lasts for a limited period on its fee-free Blue card, there's no harm in signing up to bag the 1% cashback for 90 days – especially if you regularly shop at one of Curve's supported retailers.

However, while 1% cashback certainly isn't bad, introductory offers on other cashback cards can beat it – such as the fee-free Amex Platinum Everyday, which offers up to 5% cashback for three months (max £100 cashback) and up to 1% after. This cashback is available on ALL spending and not just at select retailers – though you can't link this to Curve, plus you'll face a full credit check and may not be accepted.

To really max the Curve deal, you can connect a card that already offers rewards. For example, the Tandem card pays 0.5% cashback on all spending, so you'd get 1.5% at your selected retailers.

As always, don't use rewards as an excuse to overspend and if connecting a credit card, make sure you pay it off IN FULL every month or you lose any benefit. And do note, using Curve means you'll lose any Section 75 protection if you're using a credit card.

For more on the above cards, plus other options, see Credit Card Rewards.

Is it worth paying for Curve?

While Curve's paid-for cards offer cashback for an unlimited time, unless you're a huge spender at the included retailers, it's not worth paying for a card just to get the cashback.

This is because in order to justify the £120 annual cost of the Black card, if you link a standard debit or credit card you'd have to spend £12,000 at three chosen retailers in a year in order to break even on the fee.

For the £180 annual cost of the Curve Metal card, you'd have to spend a whopping £18,000 at six chosen retailers in order to break even.

What are the other benefits of Curve?

As highlighted above, 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.

One reason you might do this is so 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).

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 noting 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.

If you want a Curve card, you can download the Curve app, which is available on Android and iOS.

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