New Curve card offers retroactive payments

7 July 2017, 16:60   By Angela Moran

FINTECH startup Curve have partnered with MasterCard to launch an innovative card that enables customers 'to go back in time' and make changes to their payment methods retroactively.

contactless payment

Curve, a mobile card payment system and app, aggregates users' credit and debit cards via a mobile wallet and then syncs all cards to one principal MasterCard, which can be used to make payments. When making a purchase, users simply select which account/card they want the money to be taken from on the app, then hand over the Curve MasterCard and use it in the same way they would their usual card.

Marketed as 'the thinnest wallet imaginable, with all your cards in one', it essentially means customers only ever need to carry one card at any time. Oh and their mobile too of course.

How retroactive payments work

The latest feature added to the Curve system, a retroactive payments tool, offers 'financial time travel', by giving users a 14-day window in which to change the card used for a specific purchase.

So, for example, if someone accidentally charged their lunch to a personal account instead of a business account, when away for work, all is not lost. They can now go back via the app and nominate an alternative card to charge the payment to, which in turn will trigger an instant refund to the original card used.

This facility has the potential to save users from the painstaking process of requesting a refund on one card and then re-making the purchase on another. Not to mention the fact it could also prevent them facing expensive fees such as overdraft charges, should they accidentally use a card with insufficient funds, or interest payments, if they've put a payment onto a credit card in error.

The switch between cards can be made directly via Curve and retailers and card companies alike will only see the original transaction, meaning customers won't have to pay any processing fees again.

Curve - all about convenience

According to Curve's product lead Arthur Leung, this new feature comes in response to an issue users have long complained about, and increases the overall convenience offered by the service:

"This update is a solution to a common payments problem, and we know first-hand it's a feature our users are excited about ... No manually re-wiring money, no missed loyalty points, no unintentional incurred fees by using the wrong card."

It comes in addition to several other benefits the card offers, including the need for users to only ever carry one card, the possibility to aggregate an unlimited number of credit and debit cards, that can be used with one universal PIN code, as well as a virtual rewards card.

It's not all rosy

Customers have noted some drawbacks to the service too though. Mainly, while withdrawals and purchases made within the UK are free of fees, those made abroad may incur a 1% charge.

Also, although users are protected by MasterCard's chargeback rights they are not covered by Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act - as payments made on the Curve card are considered as third party payments, in the same way as those made via services like PayPal.

Say hello to banking of the future

Curve joins a new line of tech-savvy companies using digital platforms to improve banking and financial services for customers.

Despite some initial reservation it now looks like there's an app for every aspect of personal finances: from other mobile payment platforms like Apple Pay, Android Pay and Pingit to account aggregators, such as On Trees Personal Finance, as well as financial reward aggregators, like Award Wallet and Stocard.

But Curve seem to be one of the most well received. Having already achieved more than 50,000 sign ups and processed £50 million worth of transactions within their first two years, Curve now look set for even more success with a backing announcement from two major banks expected imminently.

And as one of the only payment apps offering the option of retroactive payments - it looks like they're staying one step ahead of the competition.


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