Around a year ago, I started paying attention to these new mobile only start up banks. Being someone who mostly spends while I’m abroad, the zero fees on foreign transactions is something that really appealed to me. So, I opened a Starling Bank account to use as a secondary account just for spending, whilst keeping my HSBC account for bills. Fast forward to January 2019, and I was so pleased with the outcome, I closed my HSBC account and switched wholesale to Starling. Although, I was a fan of keeping my spending and reserved cash separate so I looked into opening another one of these zero foreign transaction fee accounts. I went for the premium Revolut Metal account, as they were a little cheaper than the other banks premium offerings and to be honest, had the coolest looking card! I’ve been using that as my daily spend card ever since.
However, in June 2019, Curve got in contact asking me to try out their product – so I took them up on the offer to see how they compared to both Starling and Revolut. I was offered a black account which is the middle of their three tiers, offering 1% cashback at 3 retailers of my choice, unlimited fee free foreign exchange, fee free ATM withdrawals up to £400/month, worldwide travel insurance and gadget insurance, all for £9.99/month. There is a higher tier, which includes a metal card, a lot like Revolut, rental car insurance and airport lounge access which will cost an extra £5/month, so costs a little more than Revoluts premium offering.
The main difference of Curve however is that if you have credit cards and a couple of separate bank accounts these can all be linked to your Curve card therefore only requiring the one card for transactions. Handy because as far as I’m aware, most, if not all credit cards still charge the 2.75% foreign transaction fees – linking them to your Curve card eliminates this, and if you collect points on them (which I don’t, and admittedly have no idea how the process works) you’ll be able to have your cake and eat it so to speak as you’ll be able to collect your credit card points and still avoid the foreign transaction fees As an added bonus, when you use Curve, you’ll still the get 1% cashback at either three retailers from a wide selection of their partners on their free or black plans or six if you’re on the metal plan.
All three banks are app based, meaning that you’ll have to download the respective app to sign up. And as an added bonus for the readers of this site, if you use the code INFLIGHT when signing up for Curve, they’ll give you a fiver for absolutely nothing when you make your first transaction. Just think, you could buy something for £4.99 and technically not pay for it – Good deal, eh! And yes, I know I said I would not be pushing credit cards on this site, but worry not – this is NOT a credit card, so you have nothing to lose by giving it a go – Curve wont even check your credit score when you sign up.
With both Starling and Revolut, I’ve had reason to contact their customer services – which is once more, done through their app, and I have to say Starling came out on top in that respect, as my issue was sorted more or less immediately. Revolut wasn’t so great, as despite having so called premium customer service due to my metal account, on one occasion it took a whopping TWELVE hours to get any sort of response. As for Curve, for the moment I’ve not had any reason to contact their customer services, so I couldn’t comment on how they are, although like the other two this is all done via a chat session in the app.
With regards to the app, I am a fan of the simplicity, ease of use and the general look of the Starling app offers, where as the Revolut app looks a little bit like a beta release to me. It works fine, and I’ve not noticed any bugs… but a splash of colour wouldn’t go amiss. That’s just my personal preference though. The Curve app is also looks very polished, and its very straightforward to use.
So how do you sign up to Curve? Well, first off, head to your app store and download the app:
Once done, open it up and fill in your details.
Once this is done, choose which Curve product you’d like to use. The free Blue card, the £9.99/month Black card or the £14.99/month Metal Card.
Next up will be a promo code to enter. This is where you’ll add the code INFLIGHTso you can add £5 to your account completely free as soon as you make your first transaction.
And that’s it! Simple!
As far as using the account, it’s much the same as any other bank account, with the major exception being that you’ll have to select which of your existing cards you’d like to use to make the payment in the app.
Within a few days, you’ll receive a Curve card. If you sign up for one of the paid plans, then the included insurance documents will be emailed to you within a minute or two – at least that was my experience.