Setting the record straight


#1

I am getting fed up with being told that as a Black Card holder I was reimbursed £50 when Amex was discontinued!

Below is the original email I received from Curve that states a) the £50 was a thank you for being an ‘early adopter’ (which counts for nothing anymore) which came with conditions and not to do with the Amex problem and b) the Amex link up was paused and Curve were hoping to get it back. I would also like to add that we paid £75 for the card. I would also like to add that I was on the original early adopters group and part of the original TestFlight beta and dropped without explanation from both. Please would some of the moderators and staff accept that some of us who have been part of Curve for around 3 years are fed up because this was not the way Curve was sold to us.

Hi Robert,

I’m Shachar, the CEO of Curve. Today we’ve got some disappointing news. American Express have asked us to pause their functionality with Curve - which means you will not be able to use your Curve card with your Amex for the time being. This begins at midday on May 31st UK time - you’ll shortly receive another email with practical details of what will happen when we pause the American Express functionality - your Curve will continue to work with MasterCard and Visa.

American Express want to ensure there is a seamless customer support process for their Members when using their Card with Curve. We’re continuing discussions with their management, and hope that American Express decide to come back to Curve soon.

We’re continuing to build something big at Curve. The first ever platform to connect you to your everything money - transforming the way you handle your finances, bringing value and saving you time and money. We’re already connecting up all your bank cards, tracking your expenses in real time and saving you money with zero FX fees when you travel. This is just the beginning - we’re working hard on future features such as the ability to move charges between funding cards after you’ve paid, bespoke loyalty rewards and cash-backs, peer-to peer payments and much more.

As a big thank you for being one of Curve’s early adopters we are giving Blue card members £35 and Black card members £50 worth of Curve Points if you spend a total of £1000 over the next three months. You’ll be able to spend your Curve Points at any merchant that accepts MasterCard using your Curve.

We hope you choose to stay with us to continue the exciting journey we’ve begun together. Please write to me directly at shachar.bialick@imaginecurve.com - I’m happy to answer any questions you might have.


#2

@robmckenzieuk You are not alone: I was told this too when it clearly was not the case and I likewise posted the original email from 2016. To my perception to date, it seems that Curve does not understand that the legal and regulatory framework applies to it as it does to all other companies, Fintech or not. Impliedly, whatever has gone wrong with Amex is some sort of contractual dispute. The promises made about the “new” product set have not been properly communicated and some of the statements made about FSCS from Curve-fans seem to be based upon wishful thinking rather than fact: it remains unclear to me exactly where the funds “topped-up” from Amex are and whose credit risk they are exposed to. Given that Curve is attempting to close a Series B and has made such a dog’s dinner of matters, I would think it must be quite likely that it goes insolvent.


#3

So just to be clear, you paid £75 and received £50, so in the end you paid £25?


#4

Devil’s advocate here - but I’m pretty sure this “big thank you for being one of Curve’s early adopters” would not have happened had the first two paragraphs in that email not been there!!

I do understand the frustration that the goalposts keep changing, particularly regarding Amex if you’re an Amex user, but I think it’s really pushing it to say the £50 was not related to Amex withdrawal. I see my £50 as exactly that - a refund because amex was dropped.

I do agree - being dropped from Betas without explanation is out of order btw!

Moving goalposts and teething problems often come from using startups, but Curve seem to really under-estimate the impact of changes - the whole grandfather thing (where they initially tried to dismiss it as blue/new black/metal or cancel) shows that.

A little more thought upfront about the actual user impact and feeling means a 200+ reply thread would have been avoided and the back-track to then agree to Black Legacy!


#5

@Lucas I understand you are very supportive of Curve (are you an employee?) but there are various valid points that are being made by many people: indeed, many were made prior to this debacle and, had they been listened to, this situation may not have happened.

You also intimated, in response to a question posed by me and others, that the Amex wallet funds were protected under a deposit insurance scheme: I trust that you now accept that is most unlikely to be the case.

Indeed, my understanding is that Curve has not expanded upon the Amex situation in detail even now, after a full business day. That does not inspire confidence.

There is a line between support and lack of reality: Curve has, multiple times now, managed to show that it cannot implement a business plan and/or ensure that all the relevant framework steps are in place.

Like @robmckenzieuk I started using Curve in 2016: whatever its original merits, it seems to have utterly lost its way.


#6

I said, that Wirecard Bank AG has a full license, I never said I am 100% confident that anything is protected by whatever system, simply because I’m neither a lawyer nor a banker.

I’m not an employee of Curve, I’m a regular user like anyone else. And yes, I’m VERY supportive cause Curve is making my life so much easier! It just helps me so much when it comes to only having to carry 1 card around instead all of my cards (and I have a lot of cards!)
My wallet is much thinner now and I get instant app notifications for cards that I would otherwise not receive. I have some cards where it seems the banks have just discovered the internet and learnt what an SMS is :smiley:
So yes, very supportive because Curve makes my life so much easier :slight_smile:


#7

That is an honest response that I respect. I am pretty sure that the funds are not FSCS protected, and they may not pass into a segregated account immediately, so I hope that Curve does not have bigger problems to follow.


#8

No I paid £75, we were told that we would be given £50 as a thank you for being an early adopter if we spent £1000 using the card over 3 months.


#9

Yeah I have no idea how this works. WireCard UK has an ewallet license, honestly, I have no idea what that even means.
But I talked to someone from WireCard last year and asked him, what would happen if Revolut would go bankcrupt (before they received their banking license), would all customers lose their money then? He said no, since the cards are issued by WireCard. But that was just the opinion by 1 guy at WireCard, its possible that he is wrong.


#10

This. I completely agree. Like @robmckenzieuk & @Sharka mentioned already - this whole fiasco could have been avoided if Curve actually listened. There were weeks long discussions and feedback in the old slack community long back (we are speaking fall 2018) about the problems with the proposed subscription model and clear cut analysis of why these benefits don’t make sense to the majority of the user base. Most of the times they were substantiated with facts but folks at Curve never listened.

Again during the MCC fiasco - there were infinite discussions on the importance of communication and rolling products only after being ready etc. They acknowledged and stated publicly that we will not repeat - same old story repeats again.

We were told that the funds for Amex wallet will be kept under an FSCS account and will be completely isolated but the current ToS state that e-wallet is not FSCS insured.

* 3.1. Your Curve Card is linked to an Account which stores E-money. No interest is payable on your Account. Please note that E-money is not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

  • in short, the team had no clue and still have no clue on most aspects of Curve’s operation. They are making things up as they go without a clear strategy.

I still love the idea but in the last 7-8 months, they have tested the patience level of customers… It’s very hard to regain the trust once it’s lost.


#11

Well put,

the way I see it Curve tried to run before it could walk, tried to wrestle with the global machine that is Amex, tried to bring in subscriptions with benefits people already had (especially those Amex customers they needed to sign up) and implemented changes without briefing all staff resulting in this farce.

Fintechs like Monzo on the other hand are doing it in a way, and at a pace, that is sustainable and have built up much larger user bases before making changes.

I feel for the staff as the idea behind Curve is great BUT they have been let down by the management and ultimately it will be seen if they can survive.

PS, I hope they do!


#12

Since the £50 (in points, not cash - however close those might be to cash) was given contingent on the card user doing something, I’d say it wasn’t ‘given’ in the true sense.

Leaving aside the fact there was a quid pro quo, so it wasn’t an act of altruism, there’s also the opportunity cost of using Curve for £1k of spend that might have been paid for using eg Amex…