With both Becky and Paul reviewing their favourites over the last few months, it’s time for me to get in on the app review action. So what’s been grabbing my attention recently?
With so many advances in how we pay for things (like contactless and Apple Pay for example), it’s easy to lose sight of our spends - especially if we have multiple bank accounts and various cards at our disposal. Now there’s a great way to keep track of it all while bundling all your accounts and credit/debit cards into one handy app for convenience. Sounds good to me!
Curve | iOS: £Free | Android: £Free
Curve - what’s it all about?
Like a lot of products, there doesn’t seem to be any obvious link between the name of this app/card combo and what it can actually do. But, in a nutshell, Curve lets you connect all your accounts and all your credit and debit cards - both business and personal - to a single Curve Mastercard which you then use as your main method of payment.
It’s free to apply for a standard Curve card which lets you make contactless purchases of over £30, unlike most cards, Apple Pay etc. There’s also a premium card which has a greater daily spend limit and rewards thrown in, but that comes with a one-off £50 upfront cost.
If you travel, the card and the app work in the same way in every country that supports Mastercard worldwide. And Curve promises to “eliminate hidden bank fees” when doing so as well as not charging for foreign fee transactions or ATM withdrawals. New customers also get 1% cashback from up to six of your favourite retailers for the first three months, including Amazon, Boots, Starbucks, and a whole load more.
All good stuff, but there are a few drawbacks too. Currently, only Visa and Mastercard cards can be linked, with AmEx cards not yet supported, though this is in beta testing. There’s also no Section 75 card protection on transactions. As Curve is a third party payment processor (similar to Paypal) that might mean you’re not covered if you need to get your money back for any reason.
But Curve isn’t a bank, so the main selling point is the ability to purge all the other cards from your wallet, leaving just one single card for every purchase. It’s a great USP in itself, so what can its slick and secure app do to make the experience any better? Well, quite a lot actually, and with the help of over $21m of investment from entrepreneurs, advisors and investors, its key features are pretty awesome.
Why do I like this app so much?
For starters, you have Go Back In Time - a genius ‘time travel’ feature that lets you switch any payment to another card if you used the wrong card to pay for anything, for up to two weeks afterwards. Incredibly useful if you mix up a business and personal account - and it’s something you can’t do with any other card service.
You also get an impressive security feature if you lose your Curve card. Just open the app and hit the lock button to lock down your account and prevent any unauthorised spending. Once you find your card, hit unlock. Simple, but very effective. No need to cancel anything or even contact anyone - unless you’ve genuinely lost your card!
And while all your transactions show up in one purchase timeline with real-time alerts (so you'll know instantly if your card has been used without permission), the Insights tab gives you a detailed overview of your monthly spending. Each transaction is automatically categorised into one of 12 options (travel, entertainment, etc) so you can track your live spending in each category - great for budgeting different types of costs - and filters help make comparisons and track transactions between specific dates.
So what makes Curve so unique?
While financial and banking apps aren’t new, I think Curve have found a gap in the market with their ‘one card, one app’ concept and its success is clear to see. With over 300,000 users spending over £500m to date, its user base is growing by around 40% every month. According to Curve CEO and Founder, Shachar Bialick, “it’s like selling a car while everyone’s riding horses”.
As I said, Curve isn’t a bank, so there are no credit checks to go through - you’re simply bringing all your existing cards and accounts under one roof for ease and convenience. And no one else seems to be doing it. But for me, it’s the “World first, patent pending” Go Back In Time ability that’s the real app stand out here.
Check out www.curve.app for more info!
To read another Director's Pick post, click here!