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

@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:

According to this Head for Points article yesterday, HMRC accepts the Cornèrcard Miles & More MasterCard as a debit card, because it is prepaid, even though it’s on an airmiles-earning charge card account. Therefore where this is an underlying card for Curve, is Curve not applying its new 1.5% fee for HMRC debit-fronted credit with effect from today?

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I believe they are charging after 31st January so time to get this tax bill sorted.

I upgraded to metal to avoid the charge as the metal fee is way less than the charge for paying tax this way

That’s good news about the implementation date being delayed (where is this stated?), but my question was about the type of underlying card rather than about the implementation date.

If you can use the Comercard directly with HMRC then why use it behind Curve card?

Good question. Maybe I won’t need to, except that the above Head for Points article states “You should NOT use this card to pay VAT or business taxes. People who have done this are getting into trouble, since the card is only meant to be used for personal transactions“. Given that Curve creates a different merchant code in the eyes of the card issuer (Affiniture / Diners Club), it probably avoids any “trouble”.

Nevertheless the card’s T&Cs don’t prohibit business use. They simply state "15.3 The Card is not intended for business use, and We will not be liable for any losses incurred by a business or company. Accordingly, to the maximum extent permitted by law, We exclude Our liability to You for any direct or indirect: (i) loss of profit, (ii) loss of business, (iii) loss of opportunity or (iv) damage to Your reputation, or any consequential, indirect or special loss or damage whether caused by Our acts, omissions, negligence or misrepresentations save insofar as these were made fraudulently“.

The most obvious interpretation of this paragraph is that, although business use is not prohibited, it is at the consumer’s risk and Affiniture is not liable for any losses suffered through business use of the card or inability to use the card for business. Section 69 of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 causes the paragraph to be interpreted in favour of the consumer. Therefore using the card for business purposes definitely does not breach the T&Cs.

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@Jhon, where did you get this from? I don’t see this change of date published anywhere.