Our Exchange Rate Display Issue

Thanks again for bringing this to our attention. Tying the existing threads and conversations into one so it will be easier to discuss it and update you in one place.

Exchange rate incorrect - The app shows an incorrect FX rate if a fee has been applied. Next steps are creating and deploying a fix. It will be a part of the sprint in the coming month.

Curve showing very misleading exchange rates - The app is currently assuming that there will be a £2 fee when using an ATM and the base currency is GBP. The FX rate displayed in the app is wrong, even though the FX rate actually used for the transaction is correct.

Curve and its “mid-market” exchange rate - There’s also a display issue when weekend fees have been applied. The exchange fee that was applied has been correct.

If you have any doubt about the exchange of your transactions, please do not hesitate to write to our Customer Experience team at support@curve.com and we’ll look into them for you and settle any wrongly charged fee, if there is any.

Want to learn more?
ATM Withdrawals - Domestic and Foreign Fees Breakdown

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Hello @Curve_Marie for the update.

There is other scenario where exchange rate is wrong: partial refunds. The exchange rate is calculated between the new “local” currency amount and the initial “original” currency amount.

Thanks

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Can you elaborate on this display issue please? Is it the fact that the fees aren’t being disclosed, or is it something else? Will the approximate 3% saving calculation also be adjusted?
Are all these display issues in the the next sprint, or have some been deprioritised?

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Thank you @JesusM!


@Connie it’s fees that are listed in our terms. I’ve also made an overview of them here: How does ATM Withdrawals Work? Domestic and Foreign Fees Breakdown

You should not be hiding fees by manipulating exchange rates, show the fees (both % based and fixed) transparently for each transaction.

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Hello,

I also have an issue for card payments, on weekdays, under the limitations, so should be fee-free exchanges! :

It seems like the curve does not follow the interbank rates, it countinously convert the money with around +1% even on weekdays. I have several purchases where I should have gotten better coneversion rate, because the interbank rate changed during the day , and in the afternoon I still get the old rate (the same it was in the morning, or the day before) and not the new favorable one, so it is not refreshed every hour. Is it a hidden fee from Curve or what?
I have sent an email about this issue to the Curve, but so far they could not give me a logical explanation about this issue.
Has anybody experienced it?
Revolut displays interbank rate in every second, also you can check up the interbank rate on different websites! On 9 April, at around 21:00 the interbank rate was about 352-353 HUF. And I got this 358 HUF/EUR rate, even when the rate went down to 352-353 more than 24 hours ago. Unfortunately I cant upload here more screenshots about the rate differences.
Thank you in advance, any idea would help!

Yes, I know the fees are disclosed in your T&Cs - but what’s the display issue you mention that’s going to be fixed? Is the app going to show the fee charged as an itemised line, is it going fix the issue whereby the app incorrectly assumes you’ve saved 3%, or is it something else?

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Apologising if I am rehashing existing comments.

I appreciate markets are a little volatile at the moment - but I have my doubts on this Curve layer pricing. I did a GBP transaction (on a USD card) and the rate ended up at 1.2625. The interbank mid-market rate at this precise time was 1.2455. Even when looking at the supposedly hourly updating, the 2pm rate (about 30mins ago) before the transaction was 1.2460. So that’s close to 1.4% cost to convert, obviously not competitive at all when you consider GBP/USD is pretty liquid.

I find it slightly odd that currencylayer can be quoting at these levels as it would make it the “quoting banks” completely uncompetitive vis a vis something like transferwise where the pricing is closer to 0.4%-0.5%. Can we get some clarity from Curve on whether there is any vetting on the rates quoted by CurrencyLayer or is the poor rate resulting from hidden fees? For completeness, I am a metal subscription and nowhere near my limit, and the transaction occurred today.

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Just to be clear, was your transaction an ATM withdrawal or on the weekend? These seem to be the ones affected by the display issue.

My issue is unrelated to the display issue. This was an online payment for services. My issue relates to the foreign exchange rates used by Curve when I allow them to translate the transaction currency (GBP) into the card currency (USD). The rate in question is supposed to be coming from Currency Layer but those rates are totally uncompetitive compared to any foreign exchange service which seems somewhat doubtful if given that it should be banks / money changing services that provide the relevant quotes (i.e. a broker somewhat similar to transferwise for example).

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Incidentally, I noticed that Curve_Marie has consolidated all the discussion on mid-market rates, etc. - althought it all relates to forex rates, the issues themselves are very different. Hence, leading to quite of confusion.

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Agreed, I was just clarifying to make sure it didn’t get lost amongst the display issues. Thanks for clearing it up :slight_smile:

The issues combined here can I think be summarised as:

  • your ‘wholesale’ rate isn’t as good as your competitors’ mastercard/mid-market rates in the first place
  • amount ‘saved’ is misleading, especially as Curve know some of the other cards you hold which will often offer better rates and no fees.
  • rate is only shown to 2 decimal places, which with some currencies (eg HUF) means a rate of 0.00 is displayed. Rates should be shown to at least 5 signifiant figures
  • rate is sometimes inexplicably wrong (eg half the rate suggested by the figures)
  • adjusting rates to hide Cruve’s fees is bad practice, and upsets/annoys/frustrates users - specific cases of this are -
    • fixed/percentage ATM fees are put into the rate - whether they are charged or not
    • other foreign exchange fees for both ATM/POS (like weekend markup, other fees) are silently added by adjusting the basic ‘wholesale’ rate

If you insist on showing an ‘effective rate after Curve fee(s)’, and clearly label it as such, I guess that would be a start. But really you should spell out (as @Connie suggests) the basic rate you are using and the specific fees/amounts that are being charged by Curve. That way, your smart, financially savvy users can make informed decisions about how to spend their money.

Yes these fees are spelled out in the T&Cs - but the finance world is moving beyond hiding things in T&Cs. Please, please do better!

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It sounds as if Curve fails to adhere to two FX market conventions:

  • Currency precedence: FX rates are expressed in CCY1/CCY2 format, whereby CCY1 amount x rate = CCY2 amount or CCY2 amount ÷ rate = CCY1 amount. Market convention is that the more valuable currency is CCY1 and the less valuable currency is CCY2, causing an FX rate higher than 1, except for EUR, GBP, AUD, NZD, FJD, TOP, WST, PGK, BWP, SBD and USD, all of which are always CCY1 (except against each other in which case whichever currency comes first in this list will be CCY1). Instead, it sounds as if Curve sets the sold currency to CCY1 and the bought currency to CCY2, contrary to market convention.
  • Decimal places: Market convention is that FX spot rates are quoted to between 4 and 6 significant figures with an even number of decimal places (plus a fractional pip digit in major currency pairs), with some exceptions such as many CZK pairs (often 3 decimals) and many Arab currency pairs (often 5 decimals). Instead, Curve possibly hard-codes all currency pairs to 2 decimal places, contrary to market convention.

I am an FX e-commerce consultant and design this kind of functionality for large investment banks as well as fintechs. The above is free advice. I hope that Curve listens to it.

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Is there any requirement for fees to be itemised in consumer statements, or can the FX rate just be adjusted to hide these?

Indeed. One of the merged topics, which I originally opened, is about Curve being upfront about how they get their rates and how often they update them. It has nothing to do with any display issue @Curve_Marie

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So at this point, having given Curve plenty of time to respond to the re-raised additional concerns this thread was trying to gloss over, should we just assume the position is -

  • FX fees will be shown in T&C’s, but that’s the only time we will mention them.
  • That is Curve’s position despite knowing from support tickets and public forum posts than users are unclear on the amount and structure of their FX fees.
  • At the point of transaction, Curve will continue to manipulate their wholesale rate to hide the exact cost of these minimally-disclosed, variable fees (rather than itemising them in a fair and transparent manner).
  • They will continue to show misleading ‘amounts saved’, even in the case where a user has a card on their account which would not only be fee free, but also give them a better rate.
  • They will make the transaction summary screen self-consistent but still showing only the effective rate after fees and hope you all go away (ideally to somewhere with a different currency)
  • They might fix the rate precision issue(s)
  • Curve understand this is unpopular with some of their users, but hope this is a minority who’s lost business will be worth less than they make in FX fees from the rest of their users.

Is that about right?

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Since they closed the thread “Curve and its "mid-market" exchange rate” even though the problem there is not a display issue but that they are actually not giving the (falsely) advertised mid-market rates, I’ll continue my story here.

In the mentioned thread many people experienced that Curve is adding an extra amount on top of what Currency Layer provides. There is already enough proof there, so just closing that and labeling as “display issue” is nothing but a joke.
I did go all the way with their support to find out why are they doing this, and after 14 emails I got a half-baked answer, so I’ll share it here:

Hi Bálint,

Thanks for your reply and once again, I’m sorry for the delay in responding to you whilst we looked into this further with our paytech team.

Typically, Currency Layer is much cheaper than high street banks as it’s sourced from a very broad base of commercial sources and banks around the world - you’ll save around 3-5% on each transaction using Curve. However, we’ll be more expensive for some transactions and much cheaper on others.

To respond to your point, thanks for your feedback on this. Rest assured, we’re working with our paytech team on this to ensure our rates are easier for our customers to understand. I’m sorry if this caused any confusion or disappointment.

Rest assured, for this transaction you weren’t charged any added fees. The difference between the rate you expected and the rate we charged just happened to be approximately 2%, I’m sorry for this confusion. If you were charged any fees on a transaction, you would see them directly in the Curve app.

It’s true that your fee-free FX allowance only applies when Curve performs a currency conversion (ie, HUF to HUF would not be included in your fee-free FX allowance and instead come under your Curve spending limits, HUF to GBP would be included in your free-free FX allowance).

I can see the difference between what we charged and what you expected to be charged was 1,560.84 HUF, which is approximately £3.83. I’ve applied 500 Curve Cash points to your Curve Cash card to cover this.

In the meantime, please let us know if there’s anything else you’d like our help with.

To sum up their support, it’s both good and bad.
Good because:

  • at least finally I’ve got something that looks like a confirmation about the ambiguous terms, namely when does my spending in local currency count towards the fee-free FX allowance.
  • they “refunded” me with some curve points as “good will”

But it was a bad experience because:

  • It took like 14 messages and a few weeks back and forth to arrive to this point (each reply from a different support person!)
  • I still got no exact answer on why the rate was different by 2%, other than Curve will keep on improving things with the payment provider, etc…
  • It is still very suspicious that the difference was exactly 2%, so I’m still not convinced that Curve does differentiate between what counts and what not towards my FX spending limit (will test it again and see how it goes)

As for the “I will test again”, I did it today, and… you can guess, same story, mid-market rate for HUF/USD was around 321.5, I’ve got charged at a rate somewhere around 327.

For this last round I don’t have the energy to go after it again with support to get another couple hundred Curve points. It is a sad story because they do have good ideas in some areas, but I regret that I’ve put money into this company through Crowdfunding, but learned my lesson (I’ll put my fancy red investor card in a place where it will always remind me not to use it, ever). Hopefully others will also get some takeaways here, and at least be more aware about what Curve collectively treats as “display issues”.

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Curve would be in hot water if they publicly admitted that there is problem with either the exchange rate they use or problem with how they apply it with markup. Hence all of those threads were consolidated into this “display issue” thread. I read the other threads fully and all of them were legitimate different issues, nothing to do with whatever the display issue is.

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It’s very, very bad.

This just isn’t true. Curve don’t disclose any fees, unlike any bank or credit card where the fee is itemised. The exchange rate is faked to include any fees, so consumers think there were no fees charged.

This is also false. No other card would charge you 3% in fees to convert a HUF to GBP purchase, let alone 5%

Rather than look at ‘mid market’ rates, look at what CurrencyLayer are quoting. Curve use an hourly rate normally from them, the average today was 322.42.