Amex Blocks Curve in Anti-Competitive Move


why shouldn’t I (we)? seriously, how much can these things cost to make? it’s a sunk cost anyway, the thing is made now. I’d return it for a full refund, but it has my name on. I (we) signed up for something: fee free Amex use anywhere. now I’m not getting that. the only real solution is to keep the money I paid and let me keep the physical product.


Curve have stated that unless you subscribe to Metal you will not be able to use the card. I agree that maybe £50 a year to have the Metal card on any tier would be a great idea and one that should have been implemented at the start.


Yes, I do doubt curve will offer a one off fee in light of the terms you’ve / they said. However the option of £50 a year for metal card would be good, personally though I would say a £50 one off fee.


Hmmmm so another 50 pound payment for a metal card. Erm nah as it’s not worth £50.00, either for them to make it or for you to have it. (Remember you would be on the same terms you have currently.) I wouldn’t cry if it was £20.00 as that’s a lot fairer. Would they offer it for that price that’s the question? Probably not…


Interesting proposition:
If the relationship with Amex fails to materialise, the whole Curve product range will be very different (and much smaller). After all, once the Amex benefits are removed, it doesn’t leave a whole lot of options.

Although GBIT is still a stroke of genius :grin::+1:


For me, Amex would be a bonus, but not a deal breaker. I would still use the Curve card as my daily card for supermarkets and canteen food etc :stuck_out_tongue:


Something has to be done right now. Sad story and I really feel bad for the Curve crew that have worked so hard with the Amex deal. Maybe cashback for black/black/metal for 6+ retailers until this Amex deal is solved? Many new customers are soon gone otherwise without any trigger of some sort.

Regards, Mattias


You’re Conflating amex as a payment scheme with amex as a card issuer. As an issuer amex may have an argument to block the cards they issue from certain transactions, but as a payment scheme they have to ensure a level playing field not only for merchants but also for other amex issuing banks


People outside the already didn’t have any amex benefit with the black subscription and price was still the same. For a majority of countries not even the insurances are available and price is the exact same


I genuinely don’t understand how we can have here in Portugal great cashback cards, that anyone can get and with no anual fees and then in the rest of Europe cashback cards are pathetic and barely worth the trouble of getting them. For me 1% cashback is where I cross the line. Anything below that is just not worth the eventual benefit


@megamaster It seems that Curve had a merchant agreement with Amex (like your local shop in some ways) and I am pretty sure that Amex: i) is under no obligation to provide a merchant agreement, and; ii) can terminate any merchant agreement under whatever terms are allowed under that merchant agreement or on certain external factors. Topping up a wallet is not a “payment scheme” activity, as I understand it.

Here is the Amex merchant contract for UK merchants:

Look at s7: there are many reasons Amex can terminate and, in any case, it can do so on 14 days’ notice under s13.


While we had amex in Portugal (until last December 31st) you could do whatever you wanted with amex cards, including using Multibanco payments to pay yourself then use that money to pay the card back, through another Multibanco payment, and no one ever cared. Multibanco payments don’t transmit any info to the CC company beyond date and location, they don’t even get to know the name of the merchant!


From what i understand Amex is not a designated as a “payment scheme” in the UK.


* Card payment systems - enable people to make payments using debit and credit cards. We regulate MasterCard and Visa Europe.

Quoting section 4 and 4.1 under

At this stage, the Treasury does not believe that there is significant evidence that these systems meet the criteria for designation, though further evidence on this issue is welcomed. Furthermore, if, in the initial round of designations, the Treasury decides not to designate the payment systems listed in this chapter,


@manu Indeed. I am sure that Curve’s management must have researched the same resources you and I have just used many months ago…LOL

I can imagine there was, however, much discussion of card colours because that is, of course, the most important factor.


Guess you don’t understand the difference between amex acting as a card issuer or as card scheme. While acting as a card scheme, just like Visa or MC, amex have to ensure a level playing field open to anyone who adheres to the set rules. While acting as an issuer, just like any other bank that issuers cards it can have an argument to block certain transactions.

In this situation amex just blocked all amex support, effectively pulling the plug, so it acted as a scheme. If they just blocked amex issued cards, then that would be their prerogative


@megamaster No, I imagine Amex used s7 or s13 of the merchant agreement I provided a link to. Amex does not “issue” cards to “merchants”. In fact, it does not license issuance to any third party banks after the EU interline cap decision (e.g. the old Lloyds Amex).


That is not an assessment of what constitutes or not a payment scheme. That is just an assessment of what payment schemes are big enough that they need to fall under the scrutiny of the regulator. Amex is way smaller than any of the names mentioned there, that’s why it doesn’t appear on the list


What you are missing here is

  1. AMEX is not considered a payment scheme in UK because its presence and thus its IMPACT to the economy of UK is considered small. And thus doesn’t come under the purview of a designated payment scheme.

  2. Curve is NOT using Amex as a payment scheme - instead, Curve is using Amex as a merchant processing transaction. As @Sharka detailed above. Curve is charging amex as a merchant. Curve is not routing funds through amex rail.

  3. If they are not regulated - competition laws don’t really apply as such because there is no adverse impact on the society (Personal view, I am not a lawyer)


No, amex doesn’t currently have any licensing partners beyond amex itself, but that doesn’t matter. They are still separately regulated businesses. I honestly don’t understand your point about “issuing cards to merchants”

Visa or MC or AMEX (acting as a payment scheme) cannot block specific merchants from using their scheme. Lloyd’s, Barclays or AMEX (acting as an issuer) can. Amex here did the former, that’s why Curve has legal recourse


Wait, Curve is NOT using MC/ Visa / Amex as a payment rail.

What happens when you do a curve txn is - Curve charges the underlying card an equal amount (considering its same currency) - Takes that funds into Curves E-wallet, ie created for each user. Allows the merchant to withdraw money from this e-wallet.

The beauty is they do it so fast, so the end user don’t really feel these multiple steps.

In this case - curve is just acting as a merchant charging the underlying payment network. Except for MC where they act as an issuer with their partnership with wirecard.