Last updated: 18 January 2021
Metal credit cards in the UK
Metal credit cards have been making waves for the last couple of years in the United States, and the trend is coming to the UK for debit and prepaid cards.
These cards usually come with high-value services, and they answer consumer's desire for style and status.
They have also proven to be an essential, innovative marketing tool adding differentiation and helping segmentation.
Payments card firm Curve is seizing the opportunity. It has rolled out a metal card combined with exclusive services that have been carefully tailored to meet the needs of the 'experience generation'.
You're probably wondering what's so special about the Curve card and Curve Metal.
So let's jump right into this Curve review.
What is Curve?
Created in 2015, the London-based Fintech's growth has been impressive. Curve's customer numbers reached 300,000 in December 2018, according to its CEO and founder, Shachar Bialick. Over 2 million people have turned to Curve as far as now (January 2021).
Curve aims to provide "One place to spend, send, see, and save money."
Rather than follow the structure of traditional banks, Curve tries to distance itself from that approach. It acts as the meeting point for all your accounts, allowing you to keep track of your money wherever it is.
By connecting all your accounts, Curve defines itself not only by its mobile nature but also by working as a virtual bookkeeper.
Rather than looking through a mountain of receipts or tabs of online statements, Curve keeps a record and lets you know what you've been spending.
But there's more.
What's so special about the Curve card?
What makes the Curve card so unique is that it is smart and allows users to keep all of their credit and debit cards on a single card. Curve is an "all your cards in one" app.
- In other words, the Curve app lets users combine all their bank cards into one: the Curve card.
- The Curve card in itself is a payment card that aggregates multiple payment cards.
This unique solution means customers can upgrade their banking experience by syncing their debit and credit cards onto the Curve app, enabling them to leave home with just the one Mastercard-backed Curve card.
The Curve card: benefits
Curve is one of the best money management gadgets on the market.
The Curve card is not just a card, it's a money monitoring tool.
For the first time, users can manage all their spending across all their bank accounts in one place. They can easily see where and what they are spending their money on.
They will enjoy the budgeting insights in addition to the retailer cashback and a much slimmer wallet.
Sounds pretty cool? It is.
We are not through yet. Let's discover the recently-announced Curve Metal.
The new Curve Metal
There are now three tiers of Curve Card :
- Curve Blue is free.
- Curve Black is £9.99 per month with an upgraded offering
- Curve Metal comes at £14.99 per month, or £150 if paid annually with a broad range of benefits.
The new metal cards offer a host of exclusive benefits.
Not only do cardholders get to enjoy the superior look and feel of Curve Metal, but they can also enjoy unlimited fee-free spending abroad; and get 1% cashback from big names such as Harrods, Selfridges, and Uber.
Other benefits include gadget insurance, worldwide overseas travel insurance, and collision damage waiver insurance for car hire.
Users can also connect to any UK or non-UK credit or debit card and then use those accounts as normal when abroad.
And there's more.
With the new cross-border in-app money transfer feature launched in December 2019, clients can send and receive money from their Curve accounts across twenty-five currencies free of any conversion fees.
The Curve Metal plan in a nutshell:
- Premium 18g brushed metal card in 3 unique metal colors
- Supports Mastercard & Visa debit and credit cards, Apple Pay, Google Pay, & Samsung Pay
- 1% cashback at six premium retailers
- Unlimited fee-free spending in 200+ currencies, with access to the interbank rate
- Free foreign ATM withdrawals up to £600 /month
- Go back in time up to £1,000, within 14 days
- Worldwide travel insurance available to residents of the UK (includes lost luggage)
- Electronic device insurance open to residents of the UK including loss and theft
- Rental car collision damage waiver insurance with coverage provided by AXA Travel Insurance Ltd.
- Access to over 1,000 LoungeKey airport lounges worldwide at up to 60% discount.
The time-travel experience
What's more, customers can get instant notification of all their spending; receive double rewards; see all they spend in one place and use an innovative 'time-travel' feature, which allows them to switch which card they use for payments, even after completing a purchase.
Yes, you've got it right: you can travel in the past!
More precisely, this feature lets you go back up to 90 days and change which card you used for a transaction.
For example, you paid using a credit card, but you meant to pay with a debit card, the tool lets you go back and swap.
Imagine you paid with your business card, but it was supposed to be a personal transaction.
So instead of going to your accountant to explain what happened, you go on the app and move the transaction to your personal card.
Don’t panic: use the new anti-embarrassment Mode (Dec. 2020)
We know the feeling.
It can be uncomfortable and exasperating to have a payment declined at the till.
If your selected payment card does not go through, Curve will automatically try the backup card you’ve selected within seconds.
So you can pay, seamlessly.
How does Curve work?
Users can store their existing debit and credit cards within a mobile app, the Curve app, which gives the ability to spend from those cards via the Curve card. Customers have complete control over their card.
The app focuses on simplicity.
3 screenshots from the Curve App (with Curve Blue): selecting the payment card, view of spendings, 1% cashback.
Curve Metal and Thales
Curve has been working with Thales to roll out a solution that is simple, innovative, and premium, which in turn ensures customer retention.
Building on a previously close relationship between the two firms, Thales has been delivering metal cards to the UK-based payments company since 2019, and PVC cards since 2016.
By using metal rather than traditional plastic, Curve has become only the second firm in the UK to adopt a substrate that had never previously been used in the country.
The brief to Thales was simple:
- Deliver an innovative card that screams premium quality
- Deliver it on budget
- Stick to a tight timescale.
As a world leader with a reputation for quality, Thales, along with its partner CompoSecure, rose to the challenge and delivered cards that have a unique value proposition.
The iconic metal card is crafted out of 18 grams of stainless steel is fully contactless and is available in three colors:
- Blue Steel
- Rose Gold
- and Limited Edition Curve Red.
Laser personalization of the stainless steel metal cards is carried out locally by Thales.
The metal card is a great way to strengthen your brand image and differentiate your offering while showing that security and excellence in design can co-exist." Howard Berg, UK, Ireland & Switzerland, Banking & Payment Senior Vice President, Thales.
In the world of payments, innovation is key
Open banking standards and the European Union "Revised Payment Service Directive" PSD2 are setting the stage for dramatic changes in the banking industry, which, in turn, creates new opportunities.
According to Shachar Bialick, in a recent interview with The Banker, these new regulations allow Curve to exist. About 50% of how Curve works is based on this European regulation.
The more open banking will happen, the more Curve will become a platform, a de facto operating system that sits on top of the entire financial stack allowing users to discover innovative financial products and services, with all the data in one place and with a simple system for configuration.
Stay ahead of the Curve
In the world of payments, innovation is keyStay ahead of the Curve [ PDF - 858kb]