Friday of last week, after 11pm but before 12, I made 2 purchases in USD where curve handled the conversion to EUR. After much talk here recently about Curve’s exchange rates, I thought of checking the applied exchange against xe.com. The result was that Curve was overcharging me about 1%. Giving the benefit of the doubt I checked with Revolut which perfectly matched xe’s exchange rate.
While I’m at it, right after midnight, an automated payment, also in USD, lands on my Curve card and I take the opportunity to check using the same rates I had just gotten from xe and Revolut for comparison and now it’s a 0.8% spread, meaning the weekend purchase where a 0.5% fee would supposedly have been applied turned out actually cheaper!
I write to Curve support explaining the whole thing just like I did here, including screenshots from xe and Revolut and the response was that no fees had been applied for the first 2 transactions and a 0.5% fee was applied to the third, their system said. My explanation and screenshots were totally ignored…
I reply back, asking them to actually check what I wrote about the 1/0.8% spreads and the accompanying screenshots and they get back to me saying that their “mid-market” rate is only updated at the top of the hour, something that hasn’t been disclosed anywhere ever, at least that I could find and which defies much of the point of having a mid market rate, being also deceptive when all other entities that I’ve come across that talk about using mid-market rates actually do use the live rate. Isn’t that the point of needing the whole weekend fee thing?
On this second reply they then go off on this totally unprompted rant about Mastercard rates and how they’re only updated once a day while also deflecting any responsibility to Currency Layer, mentioning that it’s what a lot of the rest of the industry also uses and that the 60 minute update interval is simply how Currency Layer works, it was presented as a fact that Currency Layer only gives hourly updates, that’s just how they work.
I checked their website given that I got accurate FX in the past from other entities that I’m pretty sure also use Currency Layer and they say they provide rates in 60 minute to 60 second intervals depending on the contract one has with them. It seems Curve is on the cheapo one
Then, I also got the whole marketing speak about how Curve nonetheless, despite the hourly thing, still allows me to save between 3 to 5% of FX compared to “high street” banks. Is Curve here just calling me stupid? Do they think them repeating this over and over makes it true?
Again, I checked, with the implication being that I wouldn’t find any bank offering me less than a 3% fee. My findings from all “high street” banks here in Portugal were that most charge about 3%, right at the lower limit, with none going over 3.25%. Personally, I have an account with one of those high street banks that charges me 0%, using MasterCard’s exchange without any markup
Somewhere in the middle of it, they say that for that time period the Mastercard rate (which, remember, I wasn’t the one bringing up) would actually have been cheaper and offer to give me 8 Curve points to cover that difference. How kind 🤦