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Thousands Sign Up To New Open Banking App- How Does it Differ to Competitors?

January 18, 2018, 8:00 AM
  • 50,000 are in a waitlist for Curve
  • Both a card and an app that keeps financial information in one place
  • One of a growing number of similar services
  • BUT it can get rid of card rewards
Curve is a card and an app that puts all your financial information in one place. Image: Curve

A new Open Banking service, Curve, is available from today, and 50,000 are already on the waitlist for it.

Curve has a very simple concept- you just use one app and one card, and all your purchases are made through this.

You may with the card, and then you can decide which account you want the money to come out of with the app, so you can leave all other cards at home.

It essentially turns your phone into a financial control centre, from there you’ll be able to see what you’re spending your money on and which accounts money is going in and out of.

You also won’t get charged extra for card payments, due to new changes made at the weekend.

Sound familiar? Curve is by no means the first app to do something similar to this.

Monza, Yolt, and Starling are just some of the services out there that do similar things to what Curve is proposing, so if you’re already using one of these, is there any point in getting Curve too?

Curve is a bit different to these- you won’t have to make a new current account or a personal finance manager to use it.

It does take concepts from these other services though.

You won’t have to pay an extra fee for using your Curve card overseas, which was the original purpose of a Monzo card.

You’ll also get a great exchange rate when you withdraw money; Curve uses the MasterCard rate plus 1% for all foreign transactions, which is another concept taken from Monzo.

Curve is aiming to streamline your banking. Image: Curve

What are the downsides?

The main downside to Curve is that you can lose out on reward schemes from your other cards.

For example, Tesco and Sainsbury’s cards give you extra points if you use the card in the relevant supermarket, but if you use your Curve card you won’t get these points because it routes payments through itself first.

This also applies to the NatWest Reward card, which pays you double the cashback when spending at the supermarket or any of its’ other partners.

Is it safe?

One of the main concerns with all Open Banking services is the safety of it.

Your financial information will be shared with a third party, and this always raises safety concerns.

With Curve, you get an instant alert every time you make a purchase on it, so if your card is stolen and used you’ll know instantly, and you can cancel it from the app, or lock your card so it is no longer usable.

As well as this, the card and app don’t carry any of your bank account details on them, so hackers can’t get on to your accounts and steal that information.

It could also negate some consumer protections on your purchases, risking their safety

Normally purchases over £100 on a credit card get an extra layer of protection for it things go wrong, for example, a flight being cancelled.

But, similarly to reward points, because payments go through Curve first, you will not get this extra protection.

It is also protected against security breaches through being registered with the watchdog Financial Conduct Activity, which is also how online banking is protected.

However, as the UK is the first country to introduce Open Banking on a wide scale, it is hard to determine how much of a risk any of these services will be.

Some banks, including Natwest, have warned their customers NOT to use Open Banking services due to safety concerns.

Would you use Curve? Let us know in the comments

jasonf47over a year ago

I've had one of these cards since October last year, and took it on holiday to Spain. We used it for all our non-cash spending and saved a few pounds due to the competitive exchange rate. The App is very easy to use and I felt it was relatively secure. There is also a loyalty scheme built into it when you shop at certain retailers.

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