Debit-Fronted Credit - Using Curve where credit cards aren't accepted or has a fee

Debit-fronted credit is a really handy service that lets you pay with your credit card at places that only accepts debit cards, or when paying with a credit card has a fee attached.

At the moment, the only type of transaction that will be charged are payments made to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). After an initial trial period with HMRC, other government payments such as National Savings & Investments, DVLA Vehicle Tax, and Student Loan Payments will be included as well.

If you are an existing Curve customer as on the 25th of November, 2019, these fees will apply from the 24th of January, 2020.

Any person who signs up to Curve after the 25th of November, 2019, the following charges apply when using a credit card as underlying payment card:

  • For Curve Blue (free) and Curve Black customers (including Curve Black Legacy users): 1.5% of the total amount of the transaction.
  • For Curve Metal customers: no charges apply.

Please bear in mind that your underlying card issuer may charge you fees for making such transactions and Curve is not liable for such fees. Please refer to the terms and conditions of your underlying card issuer.

Can I 'Go Back in Time' on a payments with the 1.5% fee?

You will be able to ‘Go Back in Time’ with HMRC payments and have the fee refunded. If the payment you made is more than £1000, please get in touch with our Customer Experience Team at support@curve.app who will help you. This must be done within 14 days of making the payment.

What other payments will be charged the 1.5%?

In the future, other government payments will also be included. These payments fall under the Merchant Category Code 9399 and include, but is not limited to, HMRC, National Savings & Investments, DVLA Vehicle Tax, and Student Loan Payments when using a credit card as a funding card.

If you are charged a fee, you can have it refunded by using the ‘Go Back in Time’ feature to move the payment to an underlying debit card. If the payment you made is more than £1000, please get in touch with our Customer Experience Team at support@curve.app who will help you. This must be done within 14 days of making the payment.

How does Curve know whether that shop only accepts debit cards and no credit cards?

We don’t, that’s why we are identifying the specific merchant and use the Merchant Category Code (MCC) to know which type of merchant you are spending at and to identify the transactions where the fee is applicable.

How is the fee legal when surcharges are banned in the EU?

This is not a surcharge, Curve is charging you a fee for a service of being able to use a personal credit card where they are not accepted and where commercial credit cards are charged a substantial fee. It costs Curve to provide you with the service of making these transactions and running our business. The fee is to help us in continuing to provide you with this service. In fact, Curve charges you a lot less than the usual industry standard

Can I use Curve to make payments to HMRC?

The Curve card is a Mastercard® debit card and can be used anywhere Mastercard® is accepted, subject to our Fair Use Policy. With Curve it’s possible to make payments to government agencies such as HMRC using an underlying debit or credit card.

If you are an existing Curve customers as on the 25th of November, 2019, these fees will apply from the 24th of January, 2020.

Any person who signs up to Curve after the 25th of November, 2019, the following charges apply when using a credit card as underlying payment card:

  • For Curve Blue (free) and Curve Black customers (including Curve Black Legacy users): 1.5% of the total amount of the transaction.
  • For Curve Metal customers: no charges apply.

If you’re planning to make payments to government agencies such as HMRC you should be aware of the rules and restrictions they may have in place. You can find further information around their accepted payment methods on their websites.

Does Curve charge a fee to make payments to HMRC?

When you use a debit card as your underlying payment card with Curve, no fees will be charged.

If you are an existing Curve customers as on the 25th of November, 2019, these fees will apply from the 24th of January, 2020.

Any person who signs up to Curve after the 25th of November, 2019, the following charges apply when using a credit card as underlying payment card:

  • For Curve Blue (free) and Curve Black customers (including Curve Black Legacy users): 1.5% of the total amount of the transaction.
  • For Curve Metal customers: no charges apply.

Please bear in mind that your underlying card issuer may charge you fees for making such transactions and Curve is not liable for such fees. Please refer to the terms and conditions of your underlying card issuer.

Is it only HMRC payments that fall into this category?

We are starting with HMRC. Other government payments will be included in the future, such as National Savings & Investments, DVLA Vehicle Tax, and Student Loan Payments when using a credit card as a funding card

If you are charged a fee, you can have it refunded by using GBIT and charging the transaction to an underlying debit card. This has to be requested within 14 days by contacting Customer Support. The £1.000 limit will not apply in this case.

Looks like there will be a new 1.5% transaction charge for debit card payments (e.g. HMRC) paid using credit card via curve coming into effect on January 21, 2020 for blue and black card customers per their new FAQ page…

Like many others, this makes curve completely useless for me. Guess it’s time to abandon ship.

Screenshot (page seemed to have been removed):

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Oh well there is another way to pay HMRC with credit card funds without involving Curve. A little more fiddly as it involves using two accounts but better than paying 1.5%.

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Same here. Will use a slightly more roundabout way of doing these payments. Definitely won’t be paying that 1.5% as well.

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I truly don’t know what Curve think they are doing apart from voluntarily destroying their main selling point in the UK by making payments to places like HMRC chargeable.

It simply means that I will stop using the card on a daily basis which I had been doing in return for the ability to make payments to places like HMRC…

Its particularly ironic given they have just launched their “Curve Experts” scheme but didn’t consult anyone about this change using that method.

The survey they did send a few weeks prior to the launch of the experts scheme which hinted at this was so badly constructed/leading that its findings will be worthless - it even missed their strapline of “using Curve instead of all your other cards” when asking what you use your Curve Card for. That survey also failed to realise that if you pay self-assessment on account you need to make 2 payments a year to HMRC not just 1.

It appears the truth is that Curve had already decided to introduce these changes before sending out that survey.

I suspect Curve’s business is about to take a sharp downturn in business in the UK come January - and why would customers pay for Black if they suffer the same fees as the free Blue tier.

Curve needed to make their paid for tiers better vfm, not make them worse! For Black customers who pay £10/month for what are already questionable benefits this will be a real kick in the teeth.

As others have said, there are alternative ways to make such payments if one wanted too.

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I’ve got a number of concerns about this news:

  1. Curve must make this clear which transactions will be charged.

This can be done in a number of way, but one option would be to allow a 1 time warning you that this transaction will incur charges in the future, to continue using Curve at this merchant with an underlying credit card, you will be charged 1.5% on the transaction.

  1. How does this work if you use GBIT?

Does it charge 1.5%, then if you move it over to a debit card, do you get refunded this 1.5% charge?

  1. How are they going to make this clear before introducing the charge?

Are they going to add a notification to every transaction which is flagged as not normally accepting credit cards warning you that you will be charged 1.5% as of 21st Jan?

  1. Now they’ve started charging for this, and talks of charging for GBIT, what else will they add to the ever-growing list of chargeable features on Curve?

These concerns seem to be common amongst the community with many members on this forum and on other similar forums expressing concern that Curve don’t value longer-term customers and Curve seem to be continuing to alienate them.

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Harrier25/AYTK - What way is this?

This change makes me think what is the point of curve…

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Does this mean I’ll get charged if I use my Curve card charging on a credit card in a normal shop? This is really confusing…

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Only if that shop only accepts debit cards and no Creditcards…but even then I wonder how Curve would know that.

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You have to ask each merchant if they accept credit cards. If not and they don’t accept credit cards, boom - 1.5% fee added.

Not to mention there could be errors. A pay by pump may not accept credit cards but you wouldn’t know…until you use the Curve card…

I dont think Curve can possible know if merchants support credit cards or not. In my country every merchant support all common cards - visa/maestro/visa
electron/mastercard regardless of their type.

It will be quite a mess if this possible 1.5% fee will be a lottery.

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I suspect this will apply to all credit card use. The only reason HMRC stopped taking credit cards was because the EU banned HMRC charging a fee to use credit over debit and HMRC did not want to pay the extra % fee to process them (which was higher than the cost of processing a debit card). Those extra fee’s though could easily apply to all credit card use which is why I suspect it may apply to all credit card use as Curve no longer absorbe the extra fee’s.

Also I dont know how this isnt surcharging based on card type which, if I recall, is banned in the EU. The rules I thought were simple enough, you cant charge an extra surcharge fee for the use of card (either debit or credit) over the cash amount or a fee based on the card type (including using paypal). You can choose not to take credit cards but you cant charge credit card’s a surcharge % because its a credit card (unless its a business credit/debit card)
Just Eat for example charges a flat 50p fee now for any type of order even if you are paying in cash because of the rule change where as before the 50p would only apply if you paid via a debit/credit card.

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For some reason, I can’t read the article. Could someone summarise?

Not looking forward to a possible 3% markup now when abroad at weekends. Might as well just use my CC

The article appears to have disappeared now. Basically using a credit card under was subject to a 1.5% fee and they cited HMRC as an example but the article was typically unclear about if that was for all credit card use or just HMRC.
I half expect this thread to disappear or get locked now lol.

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Ah, cheeky. I’m sure it will reappear when it was supposed to.

I’d honestly like more transparency around this so I could understand how much it costs Curve. If the 1.5% is reflective of the real cost, I wouldn’t mind so much but if there’s a mark up, it’s pretty bad form.

Yeah hopefully its better written and clearer whats going on and what will have a charge.
I also hope they explain how this is legal under EU rules as I thought it was pretty clear that you can not charge a surcharge based on card type.

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Whole section of “Debit Fronted Credit” gone from support site. :open_mouth: :thinking:

There was answers to following questions:
For which transactions will the Debit Fronted Credit fees apply?
Can I use Curve to make payments to HMRC?
Does Curve charge a fee to make payments to HMRC?
Are there spending limits to HMRC payments?
I got a decline after making a payment to HMRC. What happened?

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I don’t think that applying this charge is unfair, but the fact that they’re looking at charging for one of their key selling points (use your credit card at places that only accept debit) does point to their business model being fundamentally unsustainable.

It is …interesting… though that someone at the investor event specifically asked about HMRC payments and how much of the total spending they accounted for, and the CEO seemed to be totally unaware that this was a thing. He didn’t seem to realise that a lot of people spend a lot through Curve purely for that reason. These charges suggest he wasn’t exactly being totally honest (either that or he has no idea what’s going on with his product).

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I dont find it that unfair but I still see it as illegal in the EU. The EU rules were really brought in to deal with the way how airlines etc were ripping people off badly and were less suited to something like this.

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I’m pretty sure that this isn’t legal under EU law, to charge a fee based on the merchant the payment was intended for (or any extra discrimination or criteria).

I would have thought legal would have caught this. :thinking:

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