London fintech startup Curve has always talked a good game when it comes to the bigger picture. That is, helping to converge disparate financial services into a single platform to help you manage your money better.
But when it initially launched, beyond being able to sync your debit and credit cards into a single app and the accompanying Curve card, coupled with a decent FX rate when spending abroad, it wasn’t always easy to see a truly compelling reason to make the switch. Arguably, however, that changes today with the launch of Curve Rewards.
The company’s new rewards program, which I understand has been 8 months in the making, sees Curve offer instant cashback when you spend using your Curve MasterCard at any of the more than 50 major merchants in the UK it has partnered with. This ranges from up to 2.5 per cent if you have the free blue Curve card or up to 5 per cent if you have the premium black Curve card. Partners at launch include Marks and Spencer, House of Fraser, Boots, and Marriott.
However, more interesting is the way Curve Rewards works from a UX point of view, going a long way to addressing the shortcomings of many existing cashback and rewards programs. Specifically, it doesn’t require you to jump through any hoops to quality for cashback at participating stores. All that is required is to pay using your Curve card, which, of course, can act as a conduit to any debit or credit card you have linked to your Curve account.
Cashback you earn shows up in your virtual Curve Rewards card/mobile wallet instantly, meaning you can spend it straight away at any merchant where MasterCard is accepted. Via the Curve app you simply instruct your Curve card to charge your Curve Rewards virtual card instead of any of your other linked cards, and away you go.
In other words, while, like any rewards scheme, Curve and its merchant partners want to influence where you spend, the user-flow doesn’t force you to change how you spend in order to earn cashback or spend cashback you’ve earned. That makes Curve Rewards as friction-free as any almost any rewards scheme I know of, if not more so.