5% Potential Exchange Fees Saved

Hi - received a marketing email in the UK which states that using Curve abroad offers 5% savings in fees compared to some card. And I got a marketing email from Shachar in December that said that compared to some cards you saved 7%.

Which cards charge so much for purchases abroad?

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Most I have seen on my cards are the 3% non-sterling fees. Only if you withdraw cash then you’ll get charged an additional fee.

No idea which cards are charging that much. I’ve got a ton of different cards and not one charges more than 3%.

7% sound insane
Thats alot of lost money for nothing
Never heard of any that charge that much

I don’t think it make sense to talk about the bottom of the list. Always look on the best!

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mBank in Poland takes 6% fee on FX transactions on their regular (non-premium) debit cards, on top of using their own unfavourable exchange rate. The real difference between their rate post-fees and live Forex rate is somewhere around 10%. Shocking, but true.


Thats sound like stealing

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I’ve gone through every card listed on MSE, and can’t find a card that charges more than 3%.

This implies that the card that charges the most in the UK for foreign transactions could actually be Curve itself! (Blue cardholders have variable fees, from 0%-3.5%).

@Curve_Marie Can you check which cards the marketing guys are referring to when they say Curve can save you up to 5% (or even 7%)? I don’t know if I’m missing something, but I wouldn’t want you guys to get dinged by the ASA.


Hi @Curve_Marie, is there any update on which cards are being referenced when Curve say there’s a 5% / 7% fee for purchases abroad?


@Curve_Marie & Team: do you know when you’ll be able to say which cards are being referenced when Curve say you save 5 or 7% when buying stuff abroad?

What happens in the app when I’m using the card abroad and it’s charging me 3.5% - does it still tell me I’ve “saved” money, or does it assume my underlying card would charge 2.99% and say I’ve lost out?


I’m pretty sure it’s the FCA not ASA that are in charge of advertisements for Financial Services.

As much as I believe they should come down hard on Curve, I don’t see it happening without a lot of attention being drawn to it.

If you get hit by free and Curve advertise you as having saved though you could definitely take it to the Financial Ombudsman Service assuming Curve refuse to uphold your complaint (I would actually encourage you to do so) as the more FOS complaints exist the more the FCA will have to pay attention (every FOS complaint is forwarded to FCA)

As for what your resolution would be, I would recommend you demanding changes to the advertising within the app to make things more transparent although this is obviously your choice :slight_smile:

I personally will be raising multiple complaints shortly despite being a somewhat satisfied customer with the actual core product.

Paweł, I have mbank account and last year ditched the debit card entirely for two reasons - they charge for it and I don’t really need it anymore. Now I have Starling account and can use it same as any Polish debit card while in Poland, being charged straight from British bank account. Strongly recommend to you. Of course, there’s also Revolut, Monzo and others to choose from. The very idea of using different bank cards in different countries is becoming a thing of a past.

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Sounds like a curve card would benefit

Thanks for advice, but I don’t really use the card I mentioned. I still have an account and a debit card in mBank, mostly because it’s free and I didn’t bother to close it. I bank in other institutions as well, so it doesn’t really matter that much for me.

I’m not sure if I made it clear in my previous post, but I am not a British resident, therefore offers made by British banks doesn’t really apply to me. I also prefer having Polish IBAN number for my accounts, for obvious reasons.

If they’d not mislead their customers I wouldn’t be be forced to go this route - I have informed @Curve_Marie and she told me to make the complaint :slight_smile:

Hi @Curve_Marie & co - was there any progress in finding out which cards are charging 5 & 7% in fees when you purchase something abroad? I would have thought this would be at your marketing team’s fingertips as it’s so regularly promoted.

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Hi guys - it’s been over a month and still no answer. I’ve look at all the UK cards I could find in that time, and the most expensive one at 3% was cheaper than Curve’s top fee (3.5%).

Curve have put out a load of marketing on Twitter etc. saying that you will save money when travelling with Curve, as it’s up to 5% cheaper.

There must be a British card out there that you’re using for this comparison - does it really take over a month for you to check which one it is? Or can anyone else find this card? I’m concerned it might not exist now, but the claim is still on the website.

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Right, I’m now really worried about Curve. I asked for clarification around their advertising nearly 2 months ago, and haven’t had any official response. Does it really take this long to get an answer from Curve, or is there something else going on? I’ve seen their crowdfunding invitation, so started performing some due diligence.

To recap, Curve’s British website says you can save up to 5% in fees when you use your Curve card for purchases abroad compared to your bank (and the CEO emailed every customer to say it could be up to 7% in certain circumstances!). I’ve had a look at every single bank I can find in the UK… and I think it might be an incorrect claim. This would explain why no-one from Curve answered the question posed in this thread on 11th July, 12th July, 18th July, 26th July, 2nd August and 15th August.

I’m really worried as a potential investor that Curve have had 6 opportunities to say which bank they’re talking about when they say 5% fees (https://www.curve.app/en-gb/travel) or even 7% (email from CEO). My findings are below. If you think there’s an error, I’d appreciate it if you could respond with a correction - I know this forum has a reputation for flagging arguments that people don’t agree with, but I’d appreciate a pass in this instance as it’s so important.

I looked at what the maximum cost for a purchase abroad would be - not giving any credit for banks that offer discounts in exchange for a fee or high spend (i.e. giving Curve the ‘best case scenario’ for how much it could save you).

Here’s my findings:

The Best: Negative 0.5% Fees

  • Aqua Reward (Credit)
  • Tandem (Credit)

The Good: Zero Fees

  • Aqua Advance (Credit)
  • Asda (Credit)
  • Barclaycard Travel (Credit)
  • Clydesdale B (Credit)
  • Creation Everyday (Credit)
  • Halifax Clarity (Credit)
  • Natwest (Credit)
  • Nationwide Select (Credit)
  • Post Office Plat (Credit)
  • RBS (Credit)
  • Santander 1-2-3 (Credit)
  • Santander Zero (Credit)
  • Monzo (Debit)
  • Natwest Reward+ (Debit)
  • Nationwide Flex (Debit)
  • RBS Reward Prem (Debit)
  • Starling (Debit)
  • Virgin Money (Debit)

The Average: 2.00 - 2.99%

  • Nationwide (Credit)
  • Coventry (Debit)
  • RBS Reward (Debit)
  • Cahoot (Debit)
  • Bank of Ireland (Credit)
  • Capital One (Credit)
  • Debenhams (Credit)
  • John Lewis (Credit)
  • Sainsbury’s (Credit)
  • Tesco (Credit)
  • Ulster (Credit)
  • Barclays (Debit)
  • Citibank (Debit)
  • Clydesdale (Debit)
  • Co-op (Debit)
  • M&S (Debit)
  • Natwest Other (Debit)
  • Nationwide Other (Debit)
  • RBS Other (Debit)
  • Smile (Debit)
  • Yorkshire Bank (Debit)
  • First Direct (Debit)
  • HSBC (Debit)
  • Aqua Classic (Credit)
  • Clydesdale Gold (Credit)
  • Lloyds (Credit)
  • MBNA (Credit)
  • Yorkshire Bank (Credit)
  • Amex (Credit)
  • Barclaycard (Credit)
  • Barclaycard Plat (Credit)
  • HSBC Premier (Credit)
  • M&S Bank (Credit)
  • The AA (Credit)
  • Vanquis (Credit)
  • Virgin Atlantic (Credit)
  • Virgin Money (Credit)
  • Lloyds Plat/Prem (Debit)
  • Metro (Debit)
  • TSB (Debit)

The Bad:

  • Santander (Debit) 2.75% + £1.25
  • Santander 1-2-3 (Debit) 2.75% + £1.25
  • Cynergy (Debit) 2.75% + £1.00
  • Danske Bank (Debit) 2.75% + £1.25
  • Lloyds (Debit) 2.99% + £0.50
  • Halifax (Debit) 2.99% + £1.50
  • Bank of Scotland (Debit) 2.99% + £1.50

The Highest:

  • Curve (Debit) 3.5%

Of course, Curve can be free as long as you don’t charge too much in a month and have your transaction processed on the right day of the week. But no matter how I crunch the numbers, I can’t make Curve the cheapest card out there, and indeed Curve can be the most expensive British card for purchases abroad. There doesn’t seem to be any circumstances in which using Curve would save you 5% in bank fees, let alone 7%, as every British bank charges under 3%. Can anyone find something that disagrees with this fact?


I’m not from UK, but reading that somebody even gives you negative fee for spending abroad, thats unheard for me. :open_mouth:
In my country, most banks apply 2.5 - 3% markup.

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Appreciate the effort and time you spent putting all this together. Curve should definitely respond and remove the 5% claim if incorrect especially before crowdfunding.

Just to balance it up a bit most banks charge two fees for every transection abroad, for example, below is from santander website

It show they charge pirchase fee and conversion fee so in some cases for small value payments their fees could be as high as equivalent to 8%

All those fees should be shown and included in my list - most banks don’t have 2 charges but some do. If there is a tiny transaction the fixed amount Santander add to their debit cards will be huuuuge as a percentage, much higher than 8% - Curve could claim a 95% saving! But you can’t claim untypical transactions in your advertising. Let me know if I have overlooked anything though.

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