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

Probably because Curve like to pretend there’s no difference between the personal and commercial cards…

Recapping some of the OP as a refresher:

The debit-fronted credit service lets you pay with your credit card at places that only accept debit cards, or when paying with a credit card has a fee attached.

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.

Initially, the service will apply to payments made to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). After the 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.


These fees are currently for the payments to the HMRC, which is in the UK, using any credit card as a funding card. Using the Debit-Fronted Credit service is optional and you can naturally use your credit card directly if you think that’s the better option for you.

When the list of merchants is expanded and you see there is a fee, you can have the fee reversed by using GBIT (within 14 days of the original transaction) to put the payment from your underlying credit card to a debit card. If the transaction is over £1.000 you can reach out to Customer Support, who will help you.

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But I assume this :point_down:t2: also still applies?

Yes, it does.

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@Curve_Marie, why does it apply to commercial cards issued before 25th November 2019?

The timeline refers to when you signed up with Curve. It’s not about when the card was issued.

@Curve_Marie, given that caps on interchange fees under Regulation (EU) 2015/751 do not apply to Curve commercial cards, and that Curve therefore already makes a significant profit on Curve commercial cards’ transactions, please could you explain why Curve intends to impose the 1.5% fee on Curve commercial cards, particularly for existing commercial customers?

Of course, if Curve imposes the new 1.5% fee on consumer cards and not on commercial cards, then many Curve consumer card holders will simply switch to commercial cards without having a genuine business to justify having a commercial card, which could put Curve in breach of MasterCard rules. The easy way for Curve to deal with this is to permanently exempt all Curve commercial customers existing before 25th November 2019 from the 1.5% fee. Then Curve will not alienate its oldest customers, all of whom had commercial cards when Curve launched in early 2016.

So I will clarify my question - why does Curve therefore not exempt from the new 1.5% fee all Curve commercial customers who signed up before 25th November 2019?

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The DVLA takes credit cards (personal) dont they?

No, you do not need a business to have a commercial card. As an example N26 provides a business card for freelancers and they explicitly say it’s not intended for businesses and have explained that it’s fully within the rules

According to them there’s nothing MasterCard says forbidding the issuing of commercial cards to just about anyone though personal and commercial cards are intended for different market segments

A freelancer is a business, or in other words a professional user. A business does not need to be incorporated as a company. In the early days when Curve issued only commercial cards, Curve once challenged me to prove that some of my large transactions were genuinely for business purposes, because I had charged them to personal credit cards. Although I satisfied Curve when challenged, Curve would not have challenged me if there was not some problem using commercial cards for personal expenditure.

According to N26 MasterCard imposed no such obligation to not use commercial cards for personal use

@Curve_Marie Can you please tell me why the DVLA is being included when they take personal credit cards?

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Does the communication about the 1.5% charge conform to FCA rules?

Also is it even legal under UK and EU law to do this?

It’s now been over a month. When can we expect a response to these points?

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@jph @NFH and anyone else who’s interested -

It doesn’t look like Curve are going to do any more than clarify the terms of this very bad idea™ here on the forum. I’m drafting a letter of complaint (to go on an actual piece of paper) to send to Shachar Bialick asking him personally to reconsider this vey bad idea™.

Unlike a post on a forum, Curve is legally required to respond to these complaints so at least we’ll hear something back rather than being ignored. Good points have been raised by long-standing Curve users and they deserve a response.

I’ll certainly give up my commercial card (if not Curve altogether) if they don’t move on this. PM me if you’d like to look at my letter / would consider sending your own and/or would let me add your name/email to mine - multiple users complaining will of course give the complaint more weight.

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Thank you for taking the time to do this.

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I’d be grateful if you would consider adding the following to your letter:

Does Curve think its communications about the change in its privacy policy meet the requirements of GDPR/Data Protection Act 2018?

I originally mentioned this briefly in post 141 but I don’t think Curve’s communication does.

Curve’s email said

Changes to privacy?
Yes, we’re updating our privacy policy to explain how we share data with other companies. This is so that we can create more amazing features, and tell you all about them. This will come into effect in 15 days, on December 10, 2019.

Specifically, I don’t believe the above notification complies with the Guidelines on Transparency under Regulation 2016/679 which regulators including the ICO use to confirm whether firms are complying with the requirements of the GDPR to inform consumers of changes - including that changes such as Curve plan - must be communicated in a way that is easily accessible and easy to understand using clear and plain language.

i.e:

  • “the method used to bring the changes to the data subject’s attention should be explicit and effective” (i.e. not hidden at the bottom of a longer email with no link to the old or new policy + having removed the old policy - making comparisons impossible - and not supplying any specific information on the changes themselves )

  • Language qualifiers such as “may”, “might”, “some”, “often” and “possible” should be
    avoided in privacy policies;

etc. etc…

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Over 5,000 of you have made multiple HMRC payments using Curve with an average spend of over £6,000 - that’s a lot of taxes!

Would be useful to know how many customers made only one payment.

Did you hear anything on this in the end? :slight_smile:

Don’t forget the curve card limits I paid half of my tax bill today the rest tomorrow :smiley: