Curve Downtime September 2019 Retrospective

On Monday 9th, Wednesday 10th and Friday 13th September, we had issues with our payment processing network. This meant that some customers may have had their payments declined when using their Curve card.

There is no time when downtime is acceptable and we understand that having a payment declined is both embarrassing and frustrating. The service that you have experienced during this period was not acceptable.

One of Curve’s leadership principles is ‘Obsess About the Customer’ which, put simply, means that you are our first priority. You trust us to provide a reliable and faultless service and you should not have to experience any of your payments being incorrectly declined when using Curve.

Over 500k customers have signed up to Curve since we launched and this number is continuing to grow. This means that more and more people are relying on Curve for their everyday & overseas spending.

Our mission is to help people simplify & unify how they spend, send, see & save money. We want Curve to be the only card you need to carry, so when something happens that stops your Curve card working, we rightly expect you to voice your concerns. We wanted to respond to the comments and questions we received from our customers and to explain how and why this downtime happened.

Why does downtime happen in the first place?

Everytime you make a payment with Curve, there are many small interconnected steps that need to happen for a payment to go through successfully. A breakdown at any point in this payment chain can cause a payment to decline.

This is not exclusive to Curve and happens with every single card payment made both in store and online.

Disruption to any part of the payments network are often out of our control. We rely on the network running efficiently to give you a seamless spending experience.

One cause of downtime is scheduled maintenance. In other cases, downtime can happen without any warning. We have systems in place that trigger a notification alerting us when something isn’t right. When any situation arises, we focus all of our attention on getting things back up and running as soon as we can.

We also recommend our customers to subscribe to our status page. The status page provides a live update on the status of our systems. If there are disruptions in the running of any of our services, you will receive notifications via email or SMS, explaining what is happening, how you may be affected and when the issue has been resolved.

Why were payments declined during this downtime?

The respective incidents that happened between Monday 9th, Wednesday the 11th & Friday 13th were caused by connectivity issues between our payment processor and the Mastercard Payment Network. In short, Curve was not receiving the information needed to successfully authorise the payment.

Following these incidents, we performed an in-depth review with our payment processing partner. The root cause of the issue was identified as a capacity issue within our processing partners infrastructure. This affected the connectivity of some services and slowed down and disrupted others. Unfortunately, the payment authorisation step between Curve and our payment processor was impacted.

What are we doing to stop this happening?

We take full responsibility for the issues that occurred and it is our responsibility to make things right.

The most pressing concerns have been addressed and fixed by our processing partner, with vital services running on bigger, isolated hardware to prevent a recurrence of these issues.

We are currently assessing the options open to us as we continue to experience massive user growth and a corresponding increase in the number of transactions that we process. Our absolute priority is to provide a faultless service for our customers and we will be taking significant steps towards ensuring that this objective is met over the coming weeks and months.

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Thanks for the update @Curve_Ivo!

When were these fixed? I only ask because there was an outage yesterday (and Monday and Friday last week), so unless the fixes were put in place this morning, it seems like there are still issues. Unless the more recent outages were due to a different issue?

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Can I just add that this update and apology right here is something I have never received from a bank when there has been an issue when using my card. Thank you for you message/update.

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There seems to be no mention of the frequent outages experienced of late so what is being done to prevent these issues?

There’s been no detailed analysis published and I’m sure you can appreciate how such instances affect confidence in the product.

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And as if by magic we have yet another failure of processing today. This is really beyond a joke in terms of reliability

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Totally agree, Curve really needs to focus on platform stability or if fault lies with Wirecard work with them to address the issues.

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No problem @podgib!

This retro specifically refers to the downtime that customers experienced between the 9th and 13th of September respectively. The cause of the issues on Friday is still being worked on by our team and should we receive any more information and if they were connected, we will update this topic accordingly :slight_smile:

The issues that occurred on Monday were caused by a different issue that was solidly on our side, not that of our payment processor partner as was the case on the above dates.

We know that this hasn’t been a good period for us but the learnings have been steep, so we will be improve going forward. If this caused you any problems at all, we apologise :handshake:

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Thanks @JoshuaBoots :slight_smile:

We believe that it is of the upmost importance to take ownership of anything that affects our customers and we’re trying to improve our speed of communication to mirror this sentiment. This was a tough few days but we’ll learn from it and won’t make the same mistakes again :muscle:

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Thanks @Curve_Ivo for posting this - really helpful to know what’s happening behind the scenes to address these issues.

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Fair enough - and thanks for the honesty.

It didn’t affect me directly, but I’m sure you would understand that these regular outages are making me less likely to carry my Curve card. Really hoping you’re able to build more reliable systems going forward.

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Maybe Curve could do what they have said they’ve planned to do a few years back and become their own payment processor and link directly to Mastercard.

If customers are Curves first priority and not an after thought maybe just maybe instead of apologising fix it once and for all. After all Curve now have the money to make things happen…Still I guess it’s easier to do things on the cheap and went things go wrong cart out the platitudes.

Sorry I can’t be more positive but it’s not the first or second or third or forth time this has happened…

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Great response, @Curve_Ivo - just the sort of detail customers will appreciate.

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Postponing that effort was a huge mistake

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This is something that we definitely want to do but wholesale operational changes of this nature are not easy and take diligent planning, allocation of resources (primarily man hours) and thoughtful execution.

We completely understand your frustration and it isn’t something that we are taking lightly. I cannot offer any timeframe or insight into the proposition of building our own payment processor. We can only ask for your patience while we make the changes required to provide the exemplary service that you expect.

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Have all the issues been fixed as i am still having my payments declined and have not heard back from your help desk.

Welcome to the community :wave:

This doesn’t sound right! :open_mouth: Everything is running smoothly and there are no known problems at the moment. We don’t have access to customer accounts through the community, so we aren’t able to help you though here.

Are team will get back to you as soon as possible; you can also reach us on our social media channels & call the emergency number on the reverse of your Curve card.

I’ve started to have to carry my cards again as there are too many outages recently.

The customer service is really poor these days as well. The customer service chat never work’s and it took me over 2 weeks to get a new card when mine stopped working. Banks are like 2-3 days?

Prob it would be worth having a link to this status page within the app to monitor easily that.
Or having in the push message a reference to the issue

Hi Danny, welcome to the Community :wave:

We are disappointed that you have reverted to carry your cards again and we are sorry that we have let you down recently. We hope we can you back you board soon!

Following the unprecedented growth over the last few weeks we have seen an increase in the number of customer enquires, which meant that it took our team longer to reply than expected. We completely appreciate that this should not have impacted our responsibility to support our customer’s needs. In reaction to this, we have hired intensely throughout August and September & changed our internal processes to make sure that this doesn’t happen again.

We really appreciate your feedback and I will pass this onto the respective team leads.

An excellent suggestion @ghego :ok_hand:

I have fired this across to our respective team leads!