From the day Curve announced they were coming to the U.S., I was extremely excited.
I joined their waiting list and immediately applied once I was invited (almost a year ago). Unfortunately, I was declined for the card (even with my perfect credit:) . I was disappointed but my disappointment did not last long…
Once more people were invited I started seeing more and more reports across the web from everyone complaining that; the card “doesn’t work properly”, “the app doesn’t work”, and another huge letdown was that; they “only work with Mastercard credit cards”. On top of all that, they “pull your credit and they report a new credit card on your credit report”.
All of this was to me a long laundry list of not being disappointed about a card that I couldn’t get approved for (probably for the same reasons their app doesn’t load!).
I have written about Curve in the past but let’s quickly refresh your memory.
The concept of Curve is to provide you with a single credit card that is linked to all your credit cards.
When you shop, you use the Curve card, and Curve automatically forwards the charges to whichever card you choose.
For example, you can set that grocery charges go to card A, dining charges go to card B, etc., etc.
The dream is to put your credit card strategy on auto pilot. You set up which of your cards is best for each category and then you’re all set. You swipe your Curve card and everything happens on its own.
I recently decided to revisit Curve
For the past year or so, I have changed my complete credit card strategy to mostly using Citi credit cards (for reasons beyond the scope of this post).
Because Citi cards are mostly Mastercards, the Curve card made a lot of sense for me despite its limitation of only Mastercard credit cards.
I figured I would set up the following strategy on Curve:
Grocery – would go to my card_name (3 points)
Gas – would go to my card_name #1 (5 points)
Restaurants – would go to my card_name #2 (5 points)
All other purchases – would go to my card_name (2 points)
This would be an ultimate credit strategy that would allow me to earn a high rate of points on all my most frequent purchases. It would be really cool to set my credit card strategy on autopilot using Curve.
I did the due diligence
This dream would only come true if Curve would deliver on what they promise to.
I knew that in the past people have found Curve to be buggy and overall not functional. So I did more research and found a few bloggers who I usually trust being pretty enthusiastic about Curve and confirming that the experience is currently better than at the beginning. I also found a blogger who I usually trust (or I thought I can trust) confirm that the card no longer reports as a new credit card on your personal credit reports.
I decided to give Curve a second try.
I first applied for Curve myself but I again got declined. But I have a spouse for a reason so I had my spouse apply and thankfully, she did get approved! Congratulations! We can now move on with our Curve strategy!
We set everything up!
Once we got the card in the mail we set up the strategy in the app. I did bump into some bugs, but OK. After a few tries we set the rules and now I thought, OK. Dream come true. I have Curve and my wallet is about to become slimmer.
Not so fast - first disappointment
The first disappointment was that for whatever odd reason “gas” is not one of the categories you can set up with the “smart rules” (the rules that control which purchases go to which card). So I had no way of setting up gas purchases to be sent to our card_name. But that was still fine for me. My wallet would get slimmer but not that slim.
My wife tried to get me an authorized user card. Unfortunately, Curve confirmed that this is not possible. So, we can only have one card. It’s a huge disappointment as our plan was that we would both use the Curve card and we both would have the strategy set up, so that no matter if I swipe or she swipes, the charges would go to the right card. Now that we have only one card, we have to keep thinking ahead who needs to go out shopping to take along this one single card. This is no good. This reminds me of the times my parents only had one cellphone to share:)
My slimmer wallet
Now we started testing the Curve magic. We started swiping on the single Curve card that we both had to fight over.
Overall, Curve did a pretty good job forwarding the charges to the right cards except for when not. I wouldn’t cry about one or two times that a transaction failed to be picked up properly. If everything else would work out, then fine.
If Curve forwarded the transactions incorrectly, at least I thought I would be able to fix it with what Curve calls the “Go Back In Time” feature.
Officially, with Go Back In Time you can switch a charge from one credit card to the next for up to 30 days after the transaction was made. But as much as I tried, I couldn’t get it to work. I chatted with support but they were not very helpful either. I guess Go Back In Time takes you back to the 1900s when apps did not work…
Even though I read online that Curve does not report on your credit report, the card nicely made its way onto my wife’s Equifax credit report. No way! She clearly did not want that to happen! A new card for her would mean a slot wasted for Curve instead of a card that she could have earned a minimum of a few hundred dollars on a welcome bonus!
The last and final disappointment was when she needed to dispute one of the charges forwarded by Curve to her card_name. It was a charge for a deposit for a boat rental that needed to be returned to us once the boat was returned. The deposit was never returned, we therefore went ahead and disputed that charge.
Two days after she disputed the charge with Citi she got an email from Curve that she disputed a charge. Therefore they were refunding the credit card but they were still applying the charge to her Curve credit account and she still needs to pay them for it. They quoted their “terms and conditions”. She emailed them that it was an inaccurate charge but without investigation or anything they just responded that she is still liable to pay it! I, of course, made a fuss and threatened them with a CFPB complaint. In the end, they did refund us but it was after putting up a huge fight.
One of the main reasons I use credit cards is for the benefit that I can always dispute a charge. If Curve in any way limits that benefit then I’m done with Curve!
Bye with Curve (for now)
I still think the concept of creating a single card that forwards your transactions to the right cards is very cool.
But the following needs to happen to Curve before they can be called the chosen solution:
- You need to be able to get additional cards that your spouse and kids can use as well
- The app needs to be improved
- Stop reporting the card on credit reports (as it’s not a real credit card)!
- Add gas as a category to the “Smart Rules”
- Do not bud into disputes
- And ultimately, they need to work with Visa and Amex as well
We might still use Curve on a limited basis. But as an overall fix for my credit card strategy? No way! For now, I will continue to have a pretty comfortable wallet to sit on:)