5% Potential Exchange Fees Saved

All i am saying is in some cases Curves claim of up to 5% might not be wrong because if you look at Santander fees for a 10€ purchase i am sure these are higher than 5%

My Barclaycard years ago used to charge 2.99% Foreign Exchange Fee plus a 2.99% Non-Sterling Transaction Fee for a total of 5.98% fee.

I believe it is a flat fee of 2.9% now but I haven’t used Barclaycard abroad for 4+ years now.

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The ‘negative fee’ cards basically have no f/x fees and offer cashback on transactions.

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RBS Reward (Credit), RBS Balance Transfer (Credit), RBS Student (Credit) all charge 2.75% too.

RBS Debit is all a bit of a confusing mess:

Customers with Black, Reward Platinum, Reward Black, Reward Silver accounts do not pay any foreign purchase fees.

Other customers pay a 2.75% foreign purchase fee of the value of the transaction (minimum £1). But this summer (18th May until 5th October 2019) we’re helping customers spend little and often with reduced foreign purchase fees.

• Customers with Select, Premier Select, Personal Current, Student, Revolve, Basic and Foundation accounts pay 2.75% foreign purchase fees without any minimum fees applied

• Customers with Reward, Premier Reward, Select Silver, Select Platinum and Premier Select Platinum accounts pay only 2% foreign purchase fees and no minimum fees

In general they’ve made it so confusing I personally wouldn’t trust them and would avoid using my RBS card abroad!

Agree a lot of debit cards have fixed fees that will easily push up the cost.

I reckon it can be up to 7%. I have saved over £2000 in exchange fees in the last two years. One was nearer to 10%!

My apologies for the late reply. FX fees can indeed a bit tricky, but it doesn’t have to be. Thank you for bringing this up @Connie, we will update our webpage and review our comms :slight_smile:

You do realize that almost none of the cards you’ve listed (a notable exception is Starling) is actually using anything close to the mid-market rates that Curve does? You need to add between up 3% extra since the rates these cards advertise as “fee-free” are actually Visa and Mastercard rates, which (you can check this yourself using their respective calculators) ALWAYS have a significant spread. More details: https://milevalue.com/currency-conversion-fees-use-mastercard-not-visa-abroad/

The “The Best” section is especially fun since, well, remembering what Curve is, you can pay using Curve, use the (likely better) Curve exchange rate, and still get the corresponding cashback from Aqua and Tandem.

I don’t find Curve’s advertising misleading at all (especially when the likes of Amex will cheerfully charge ~6% FX total most of the time).

BTW, where’d you get the 3.5% number for Curve from?

Most likely math was like this: 2% (after free alovance) + 1.5% (in weekends) = 3.5%

May I suggest that you follow your own advice and check it yourself? MasterCard is something like 0.25% more expensive than interbank and due to the real time nature of interbank MasterCard can actually be cheaper a lot of times, tough of course with MasterCard you don’t know exactly when the transaction will post.

Nonetheless, MasterCard is only very slightly more expensive than interbank and Visa also very slightly above mastercard

I personally have a card that uses MasterCard and gives 2% cashback on top of that, so that’s what I use. Maybe I’ll use it through curve so that I can have a very slightly better exchange but it’s not really an appreciable difference


Wow Alex, that’s quite the response - thank you! I do find it slightly strange that you don’t find Curve’s advertising misleading, but don’t know that they can charge fees of 3.5% - does that not prove the point? :thinking:

I think the link you gave isn’t a proper news source, just a person’s blog. But I took up your invitation to look up the real numbers myself.

Amex don’t charge around 6% FX, they charge 2.99% and will itemise out their fees.

We’ve been told lots of times that Curve uses a much better rate (3-5%) than the rates used by Mastercard and Visa. A Curve representative said this week that their rate comes from currencylayer, which means for the first time we can actually check this.

I have looked at USD:GBP rates across a day in each of the last 4 months (I avoided August due to the Brexit craziness maybe having an impact!). The day of the month was moved if it fell on a weekend.

I have used this link for Mastercard, this link for Visa, and this link for Curve. Note Curve’s rates vary by hour, the historical rate from currencylayer returns the day’s average - over a few different days I expect this would average out. I am very happy for anyone else to do the same analysis over a bigger period or look at different currencies or just check my maths - this is really really important as we approach the crowdfunding deadline.

This shows that Curve’s rates are normally, but not always better than the rates you get from Visa or Mastercard. On average, Curve is 0.2% better than Mastercard, and 0.1% better than Visa.

For the regular Blue Curve users, if you are able to use card on a day in which it doesn’t charge fees, you haven’t spent too much in the previous 30 days, and your transaction is for <£500, then you are better off using Curve. But I can’t find any way in which Curve saves you 3% on a typical transaction, let alone 5%


Where did you see these savings?

As part of the research above, I looked at the savings shown in the Curve app.

Worryingly, they seem to assume that your bank card would always be 2.9% more expensive. If Curve charge you a fee (which could be 1.5%, 2% or 3.5% of the transaction cost), the app still says you have saved 2.9%. This just isn’t right - any customer who has ever been charged a FX fee by Curve could complain about this and get it refunded :flushed: Curve knows when you have put the transaction on to a bank card that doesn’t charge fees, but it looks to me as though they still say you have saved money, when Curve actually cost you.


No problem @Curve_Marie, thanks a lot for looking in to this! Would be awesome if you could also expand the scope to look at the amount shown as ‘saved’ in the app transaction feed, which has a very misleading bug in it (as per the post above).

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Lots of times? I can’t recall a single time! When did Curve make any comparison to MasterCard or Visa rates?

Look further up this thread :

or in another thread last week:

or https://support.imaginecurve.com/hc/en-gb/articles/214124809-What-foreign-exchange-rates-will-I-pay - “You can make purchases in foreign currency converted at the real exchange rate i.e. the rate at which banks exchange money, also known as the interbank rate or mid-market rate.”

You’re confusing some things, it seems. Curve compared itself to the fees of other cards, which are MasterCard or visa rates + some kind of fee. They’re not comparing themselves to the Visa or MasterCard rates by their lonesome

In what way? The first quote is all about how ‘fee-free’ cards are using Visa or Mastercard rates have a spread over the better rate Curve uses, the second one from Curve talks about how the raw rate is normally better than Mastercard’s. The third one from Curve is about how it uses mid-market, not the buy rate used by other banks (which includes a spread). There’s lots of other posts on the forum too about this, and last week we learned it’s the currencylayer rate which is used.

Curve’s currencylayer rate does seem to be better in most cases, but only by 0.1% or 0.2%. So Curve could be 3% cheaper than the most expensive bank card when you include the fees on a typical transaction, but not 5%. And that’s the best case - there’s 20 cards or so listed above that don’t charge any fees other than the Visa / Mastercard rate.

To be fair to Curve, they’ve acknowledged that their webpage is wrong and will update it.

I admire your efforts to compare the Curve rates to those of Mastercard/Visa.

In the UK, its generally believed that Visa give marginally worse f/x rates than Mastercard on the whole.

Given Curve is based in the UK and so are most of the users, I found it slightly confusing to follow your table so have recast your rate data to show the exchange rate as it would affect most Curve users


which suggests Mastercard offered the better rates on the days chosen in June and July, while Curve was better in April/May

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Agree, so your original assessment of the situation is wrong :thinking:

As I pointed out you somewhat confused things in your earlier post. The 5% cheaper claim is against some of the other cards that charge a spread over MC or Visa, not against the MC or Visa rates

No, you just need to read this thread for an example from Alex. I didn’t say Curve made these comparisons, just that we have been told lots of times that Curve uses a better core rate (ignoring fees).

You are very welcome to compare the rates across the different providers if you think I am really confused though :slight_smile: