Charge underlying US cards as domestic US transactions

One thing that grinds my gears a bit is that when Curve (being a UK-based entity) charges the underlying cards, it counts as an “overseas”/“transborder” transaction if a card is not issued in the UK. Banks in some countries (most notably the US) charge a fee for these even if the currency is domestic. This leads to a sad situation where adding a US card to Curve and then using Curve to pay in the US in USD (no currency conversion anywhere) leads to a 1-3% charge by the underlying card’s bank.

While it probably can’t be fixed for all countries / banks, since Curve is launching in the US I assume they’ll be able to do “domestic” charges in the US. Can we have an option to do the same here in the UK? Maybe a toggle in the app, similar to the currency (fine if it’s hidden being an “Advanced” button or something like that).

I assume once they launch in the US they’ll have to fix this and process the transactions locally. I just hope that those of us in Europe will be able to then benefit from that as well. Not just customers who signed up for Curve in the US…

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I might be wrong, but my understanding is that Curve counts abroad transactions those that need a currency exchange from the payment to the underlying card. So if you pay in USD and using an underlying card issued in USD, that is a domestic transaction.

I have most of my underlying card in EUR and never had a problem paying in EUR.

A different thing is that the merchant offers you to pay in GBP because it interpretes that it is an UK card, and then you are paying the overhead of a double currency conversion. But that’s on the merchant, not on Curve.

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It’s quite a US card issuer specific problem in fact. They don’t look at the currency the transaction was processed in but rather where the processing came from.

But just to say for @alexschernyshev. I haven’t had this issue with Chase at least. I have the Freedom and Freedom unlimited connected to curve and never get the 3% forex fee charged. So it does depend on the issuer. I heard Bank of America and US bank do tack it on though.

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I wasn’t aware of this problem. Good to know.

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Yeah, it happens with various banks and sometimes comes up on the forum, but it’s most common in the US I feel. You have to be very careful and check if you’re getting charged or not. Would be great to have peace of mind if the charges could originate from the US for US issued cards for us UK folks, since I’m assuming Curve US will be doing just that.

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Unfortunately not. its whether the point-of-sale, and since Curve is in the UK, it counts as cross boarder transaction, even if you pay with your Curve in USD and have your underlying U.S. card charged in USD.

The only way around this is by working with a partner who has a U.S. license.

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Yep, happens with some Australian cards too. There seem to be quite a few US cards with 0% forex fees (plus much more generous points/miles earning rated than the UK!) so might be worth investigating alternatives?

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Wow had no idea this was even possible. Upvoted as I’m sure this could affect users in other countries too.

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I believe some banks do it as MasterCard (I’m not sure about Visa) charge them a fee for cross border transactions, even if it’s in the same currency as the card currency.

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I can confirm that Visa does it, too. Booked once something on the EU website from Aeroflot in EUR, was charged Cross Border fee since the charge came from Moscow.

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Yeah banks still take advantage as the MasterCard/Visa fee charged to banks is under 0.5% and in many cases they’re not charged (for example, between EEA currencies and transactions between Canada and the US).

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It’s been quite a racket in the US for many years, what’s even worse is for example if you are living in the US and book a flight on BritishAirways, even though you get charged in US Dollars by BA, because it’s a merchant registered in the UK the bad cards of the bunch tack on the %, Bank of America was one of the first to start this racket way back when, I got stung a few times and lots of Banks do it big and small with their Debit cards. My Credit Union in the US does this, annoys me to no end!

You don’t get charged the 3% foreign transaction fee on the Freedom and Freedom Unlimited with Curve?

Surprisingly no. I let curve convert it to dollars of course and the transaction passes right through. In the beginning I scrutinized the statements to make sure, but no fees! I’d have thought it would trigger the FX fee since I’m sure it’s in their T&Cs, but I guess it doesn’t with them nor Citibank. Bank of America and US bank it does though I’ve heard …

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Thanks man! Best thing I have heard all day! I was a bit concerned as the transactions are still considered foreign transactions even in USD

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Happy to help a fellow credit card enthusiast!

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Hi all, new metal user here… So, I have both US and Scandinavian cards now in my Curve wallet and was not aware of this issue. Please enlighten me a bit more on this and where will I need to watch for the fees? I assume it will be in the US bank side? I have always used the cards in the past like normal (US in US and EU in EU) so never paid attention. Thanks in advance!

Depending on how your underlying card’s bank considers foreign transactions. For US banks, generally, even if a transaction is in USD but the payment processor is not based in the US, it could be considered a foreign transaction which comes with a FTF (foreign transaction fee) (usually 3%). So you’ll need to watch out for these especially if your card has a FTF but like @Frenchy said, Chase and Citi may have a more relaxed policy towards this

Exactly. Like @uprising said. I’d do a test purchase via curve first, wait for it to post and see whether or not you get dinged with the fee. There are also plenty of US cards which don’t have any FTFs so in that case you’d be totally fine. Capital one for example has no FTF on any of its cards.

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