Amex Blocks Curve in Anti-Competitive Move


#1

We are extremely sorry that the top-up functionality of your Amex wallet is currently disabled.

Like thousands of other UK merchants, Curve has a valid merchant agreement to accept Amex payments into its e-wallet. However, on Tuesday evening, Amex decided to terminate this agreement and block all Amex transactions to Curve with immediate effect.

Amex has given no good or fair reason for their decision and we believe it is entirely disproportionate and discriminatory to Curve and all our (joint) customers. UK payment regulations clearly state that Curve should be allowed to access the Amex payment network on a level-playing field with every other fee-paying and legitimate merchant.

Rest assured that you can still spend the funds that you have already topped up to your existing Amex Wallets. If you have contacted us for support, we apologise for the delay in response and will endeavour to do so as soon as possible. We will update you as soon as we have any further information.

With your interests in mind, and our mission to deliver a truly innovative product, we intend to fight Amex’s decision with our full might. We believe financial freedom is the future and we are prepared to fight for yours.

Team Curve


#2

And there we have our answer. Amex is the one blocking Curve (yet again). Not sure what happens to Curve’s new subscription model since I think the major benefit of Metal and Black was Amex loading. I guess we wait for more information to follow in the coming days?


#3

I called Amex today after receiving a text by error that they needed to discuss my account with me. Seeing they were blocking my topups I thought I’d ask them.

First thing they said was that they can see my spending has increased and they’re really happy with that?

Shame it’s gone again hopefully it’ll come back soon. Fingers crossed. There’s got to be a way.


#4

The offering is still great!
I personally value the ‘no exchange fee’ feature much higher than Amex support.
Just can’t imagine not having a Curve card anymore.


#5

Amex really values a relationship in my experience, it seems now with cardholders and also businesses (especially small businesses recently). They’re more than happy to have you increase spend since it increases their revenue which is a win-win.

I honestly don’t know if it can come back, I assumed that this rollout of Amex occurred in close discussions with Amex so they would approve whatever solution Curve devised. I have a gut feeling that Amex doesn’t like the lack of transactional data which can’t really be fixed since Curve will always act as the intermediary.


#6

Not only is the communication from Curve to customers confusing and bewilding, it’s appears Curves communications also confuses the heck out of other financial institutions.

I would say that Amex have always been leaders in embracing new technology so I wouldn’t be too quick to criticise them without knowing their side of the story.


#7

I had asked this long back (old slack group) - in the US, Amex specifically ask for L2/L3 data to ensure that the transactions are in compliance & to prevent “gaming the system”. That may be one reason.

Another important reason may be that they find Curve to be a direct competitor with similar (though watered down) insurance & benefits.

I am surprised that Curve never had a long term binding agreement with Amex which ensured continuity of their business model - especially after the 2016 Amex Fiasco.

Or Amex decided its better for them to pull the plug and pay the penalty. Now its upto the lawyers to do the talking :slight_smile:


#8

I find the communication from Curve is excellent. :+1:


#9

Are we able to have the balance in our Amex wallets refunded? Not sure if this is possible now that Amex has blocked Curve?


#10

Thinking of watered down…Curve metal/new Curve black is looking a bit meh now.


#11

You can use the funds - no issues in using the already loaded funds.


#12

Well this is disappointing. I’d just ordered my curve metal card and topped up my Amex in the meantime…
Amex support was my main reason for using curve and without it I’m not sure I’ll use the product.

I hope it gets resolved soon and curve continue to communicate as promptly as this.


#13

Yup, L2/L3 data in the US is exactly what I’m thinking of. I think they use it for compliance, but also for marketing and strategic planning. Being able to determine what people are buying on a granular level is incredibly powerful, especially when Amex is the singular card of choice for so many people.

I believe Amex turns a blind eye to some activity since they’re still getting paid from interchange fees, but they like to have the ability to control things.

I personally wouldn’t call Curve a direct competitor by any means, I don’t think anyone here considered dropping their Amex card in exchange for a Curve subscription which is why Curve probably developed their offering in the way they did (minimal operating costs but generating a good chunk of revenue).


#14

I am thinking L2/L3 may not be reason for the sudden reaction because, I had asked this long back and the response from the team was amex has asked Curve to share the info (hence the separate wallet design & what not) - Amex always wanted to be in control. Further, that is something that they can make curve to do as a gradual operational effort.

This sudden reaction may be because of either Curve released the product without 100% compliance or full preparation with amex and amex chose not to take risks or the competition factor. I agree on the benefits but if you check the interchange fee numbers - they would have seen some patterns which triggered the move.

Or they would have seen people increase their spending considerably than their routine rates. A CC company is essentially a lender and a lender will try to minimize risk. If every user starts loading 5-10K to Curve, its a significant dent to Amex and it may have made them think the risk of this excess load may cause repercussions (beyond the gains from interchange fee). Collecting debt is always a challenging endeavour. :smiley: #randomthoughts


#15

Well this is hugely disappointing, glad I haven’t spent any further money on a subscription. I’m a bit shocked by this as I would have thought that all of this R&D was being been done with full cooperation with Amex.

Will wait and see what happens, but this could mean the end before it began as a large percentage just spent money subscribing purely for the Amex benefit,

I know for me without Amex (the whole reason we bought in in Nov) it’s pretty useless for us :frowning:


#16

I’m confused… don’t the likes of Amazon Payments and PayPal also act as intermediaries masking transactional data? Amex doesn’t seem to have any issue with those payment systems.


#17

Incredibly surprised to receive the email this afternoon (Oz time). After the previous fiasco with Amex (back when Curve was iOS-only) I thought everything had been very much done in partnership this time.


#18

Seems Amex is on a roll

Important notice regarding payments with American Express

Payments to private accounts

Hi,

Due to guidelines from American Express you will no longer be able to make payments to private accounts with an American Express card regardless if the purpose of the payment is related to a business transaction. This change will come into effect on the 7th of February 2019.

You will still be able to use a MasterCard and/or VISA card for transactions to private accounts relating to business transactions including, but not limited to, payroll, housekeeping, rent, nanny services, etc.

Please note that peer-to-peer remittance is still not allowed regardless of card.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you.

Billhop customer service


#19

AMEX fee-free support is the main reason I chose Curve Metal. This is very disappointing. The right thing to do for Curve would be to offer a free six-month subscription for anyone who signed up since they started supporting AMEX again until today. That should give them plenty of time to sort out things with American Express and stop subscribers leaving en masse.


#20

I believe the difference is that Amazon Payments and PayPal act as payment processors for transactions (selected by the merchant). It’s the same as going to a store and making a purchase through the POS terminal, it’s just that Amazon or PayPal is the POS terminal (and online). Same idea as Square.

Curve isn’t a payment processor for the merchant, but rather an intermediary on the consumer side. If the merchant supports L2/L3 data through their POS terminal, Curve would be the one who gets that and then would pass that on to the underlying card (if that process was supported).

The current setup would have Amex getting data that a reload for £1000 was charged to the underlying card by Curve, but Amex wouldn’t get anything else. Same idea as reloading a prepaid card, Amex isn’t a huge fan.