As 2018 comes to a close Curve’s Founder & CEO Shachar Bialick reflects on the year’s challenges and achievements
It has been an incredible year of growth for us, both in terms of our customer base and our team. We couldn’t have done this without you. Your feedback. Your advocacy. Your love. Thanks to you, we have been able to build a pioneering product on our journey to free your money. With this in mind, I would like to take the opportunity to reflect back on some of those achievements and share what we have planned for 2019.
|2018 | We had a fantastic year, together|
Highlights from the past twelve months include:
Launching Curve out of Beta
When we founded Curve back in 2015, not many believed it was possible to build a product like ours. But we believed in our truth: money is everywhere and in order to really free your money, we must connect it all together rather than asking you to move it from the services and products you’re using today. So we worked closely with the talented and forward-thinking people at Mastercard, and two years later, we introduced this new paradigm to the market. We launched out of Beta, making Curve available to everyone in early 2018.
Releasing Curve Cashback: We have always found loyalty points complicated and cumbersome to redeem. So we’ve started afresh and built the first-ever real-time cashback, giving you 1% at selected high-street retailers of your choosing. We initially launched it with a time limit of 3 months to test the waters and we are planning to eventually expand this programme to give you 1% cashback for the lifetime of Curve. Check our Roadmap below.
|Introducing Insights – stay on top of your spend|
It is expensive and stressful to stay on top of your spend. Earlier this year, we introduced the first milestone in giving you back control of your money. With Curve Insights, you can learn more about your money, how, when and where you spend it and across which accounts, business or personal.
Minimalist Curve Card design and higher acceptance
The Curve Card is a statement. It’s minimalist yet holds so much underneath. And there’s one thing it must do and do well – always work. This year we moved our cards from the Prepaid rails to Debit in order to increase acceptance at retailers which don’t accept Prepaid cards, which are generally considered more risky. In addition to that, we made the Curve Card design even more minimalist, hiding your sensitive card information on the back of the card, increasing its security and allowing you to share its pure elegance on social media without risking sharing your card details.
|Making all your cards fee-free when spending abroad|
Without requiring you to load money onto a new card, we made all your existing cards fee-free when spending abroad, giving you access to the intra-bank rate. This is a world-first. We connected directly to multiple currency exchanges, saving you up to 5% in fees (and even 7% savings versus some cards). With Curve’s new fee-free feature, you no longer need to worry whether you’re getting the best exchange rate for your money. Nor do you need to pre-buy currencies in advance or use a different card. Now you can keep using the cards you love and trust, and save money. Simple. (See the link above for more details including monthly limits and full T&Cs for different types of Curve accounts).
|Introducing new technology for transaction processing|
One of the principles of Curve is that we will always aim to improve or match the experience of using your underlying card directly. One of the challenges we have encountered due to the unique structure of Curve, is that some cards which provide double rewards on specific categories such as groceries or dining, no longer provided these benefits to its customers when they used Curve. So we worked hard and introduced the first ever MCC (merchant category code) pass-through engine, which allows us to share more transaction information with your card issuer, so you can earn those extra rewards. This change also meant that a small subset of our customers could no longer withdraw money for free from their credit cards. This is something for which we are sorry, but feel the change was necessary.
|Over 300,000 customers signing up|
One of my favourite activities in the past few months every morning has been to look at our ever-growing user numbers. It is not often one witnesses such exponential growth, and the vast majority of it is thanks to YOU – our dedicated customers who spread the word about Curve to their friends and families. We would have been unable to do it without you. If we continue with the current growth rate we will hit 2 million customers by the end of 2019! So thank you for joining Curve’s journey to Free Your Money.
Bringing Amex back
One of the most-awaited features was to reintroduce Amex cards to Curve. It wasn’t an easy feat. The challenges ranged from the commercial model to regulations and transaction processing. After 18 months in the making, I am happy to announce that we will be bringing Amex back as a Beta product. Due to the complexities in the model we had to launch it first in closed Beta, before releasing it to the wider Curve user base. The team is working hard to iron out all the bugs, and we look forward to releasing the Amex integration to your Curve app as soon as possible – first in our home market, the UK, and then in the rest of the countries where we operate.
Launching the Curve Community
One of our learnings this year is that you, our loyal customers, want to be more involved in our journey, influencing and seeing our product roadmap. We listened closely and opened the Curve Community; a forum where you are the owners. You create its content. And some of you, who are amongst our earliest adopters, are also managing parts of it. There you can find sneak peeks, participate in Beta products, provide feedback and share ideas of benefits we can add to Curve. If you haven’t signed up yet, there won’t be a better time than now. I look forward to seeing you there!
|2019 | We still have many cards up our sleeves|
|These are the things which are keeping us at Curve awake at night and smiling through the day:|
|Curve goes full metal jacket|
We will kick-off 2019 by releasing Curve Metal – the most rewarding card in the market yet. With a seductive selection of colours and superbly-crafted finishing, 1% cashback, unlimited fee-free Amex, unlimited access to the intra-bank rate, gadget insurance, worldwide travel insurance, and collision damage waiver insurance – Curve Metal will truly become the only card you’ll ever need. We will initially launch Curve Metal for UK residents only, however, we aim to roll it out across the EEA.
Adding more benefits to Curve Black
Worldwide travel and medical insurance (for UK, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain residents to start with), higher fee-free limits for spending abroad, Amex support for UK residents with £1000 fee-free monthly spend, and more – Curve Black is more attractive than ever. If you are already a Curve Black owner, we will send you an email shortly with more information.
|Curve Send P2P and Curve Cast|
Have you ever had to pay money to a friend or a colleague at work? Have you ever had to give your card to someone so they can buy something for you? Have you looked for a smart way to give controlled access to your cards to your children? With Curve Send and Curve Cast these are all things of the past. Launching in 2019, you will be able to send money and share any of your cards with other Curve customers, even if they are yet to have a Curve account. Again for the first time ever, Curve will allow you to send money from any of your accounts, and share any of your cards virtually (securely and with full control) with any Curve user.
In yet another world first, Curve will allow you to retroactively convert any transaction you’ve made on the Curve platform into a monthly instalment plan. Just swipe on the relevant transaction, choose the number of instalments, and Curve will credit back your account and will charge you monthly instalments instead, saving you money and, more importantly, giving you more control of your cash flow. Now you can afford more with your money.
|Swipe to cancel subscriptions|
How many times have you signed up for a trial service and it kept charging your account without your knowledge? Curve will allow you to see all your subscriptions through the Curve platform and cancel any of them with the swipe of a finger-saving you time and money.
Connecting your money further
We’ve applied for a licence which will let Curve connect to other banks and financial institutions on the Open Banking network, to allow us to bring your money closer to you. With enhanced Insights and Timeline, Curve will be able to be smarter for you, making sure you can focus on the more important things in life.
Last but not least – Integration with Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay
We know how much you want to connect your Curve card to the X-Pay bunch. We’ve started our integration work with them and are now waiting in the queue to connect Curve to each one of these platforms. We still don’t have a definite timeline for this, as it is not completely in our control, but we will launch as soon as we can. And the beautiful thing about it is soon all of your cards from all of your banks will work with Samsung, Apple and Google Pay.
|It’s going to be an exciting year ahead and we can’t wait to continue our journey with you. Thank you for supporting us, for talking about us and referring us and for your valuable feedback. We truly couldn’t have reached where we have without you and we look forward to building even stronger relationships with you and the rest of our smart, visionary customers.|
|One more thing! We are growing fast – so if you’re looking for an exciting career move with a tangible and direct impact on people’s lives, check out our Job Board and let us know if you find something for which you think you could be a fit. Even if you can’t find any suitable roles in our current open positions, we’re hungry for talent with the right attitude – so drop us a note, and we will try to find ways of leveraging your talent at Curve.|
Happy holidays from all of us at Team Curve!
Shachar Bialick Founder & CEO