ATM plus FX fees - up to 8,5%... (!?)

The ATM fees for Curve (blue) have become less and less transparent over time, and, unless I am reading something totally wrong in their new terms, can go up to 8,5 percent! Let me give you an example for this:

Let’s say you are travelling in Switzerland, using cash Swiss francs CHF and your underlying payment card s a EUR based true credit card. Let’s further assume that you already withdrew 200 Euro worth of CHF from an ATM in Switzerland. Let’s further say that you already had 10 ATM withdrawals before that (Curve terms do not say if that is 10 per month or per year or ever…)

Now worst that could happen to you is if you would need further CHF cash (value 50 Euro) from an ATM in Switzerland on a weekend, because no less than FOUR different fees kick in at the same time, according to Curve standard terms (!):

  • 2% because you use an underlying credit card instead of a debit card
  • another 2 Euro, which in this example is another 4% of the 50 Euro withdrawal value, because your ATM limit is used up
  • another 1,5% because you are using ATM in FX on a weekend
  • another 0,50 Euro which is this example another 1% of the 50 Euro value withdrawal because you already had made more than 10 ATM withdrawals

So in this hypothetical 50 Euro (in CHF) withdrawal, Curve would hit you with 8,5% of fees!

Even if you assume that the withdrawal would be 100 Euro value in CHF, and that it would only be your second ATM usage this month, you would still face a steep curve fee of 5,5% for this ATM transaction.

So wherever you would need more than 200 Euro of foreign cash from ATM per month when traveling, one should absolutely avoid using Curve (blue, at least).

I am making a case here for more transparency and a more consistent ATM FX fee structure for Curve blue, for example as follows:

  • do away with the 200 Euro limit for ATM and make a consistent limit of 500€ applicable for spending FX, regardless if payment or withdrawal

  • do away with the punishment fee of 2% for using ATM with an underlying real credit card. Or at least raise to 500€ and lower the fee to 0.5% or so

  • cancel the stupid weekend fees, or at least unify for all currencies to 0.5% like for USD and GBP

  • or at least add a cap like “no Curve ATM transaction will ever charge morel than 3 percent of fees in total matter what”

Best,
Corduroy

You are making it unnecessarily complex and expensive for yourself.

Use a debit card with no FX fees as underlying card and set it to the local currency (CHF in your example) in Curve. That way you can do up to 10 “domestic” ATM withdrawals per month without fees, including during the weekend, up to your daily ATM limit as shown in your Curve limits (1000 GBP for me, YMMV).

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Exactly, you prove my point!

This is not myself making it “unnecessary complex and expensive” for me - my example was meant to show that Curve can make it complex and expensive too use it as a travel card if you don’t take care, even though they claim it is ideal to use it for travel.

Because they way their fees are structured, for a user who has a credit card and maybe also an FX fee on this underlying card, using ATMs abroad without thinking about all this interconnected fees can get very expensive.

So my - slightly exaggerated -example was made to start a discussion if the Curve ATM and FX fees shouldn’t be lower and more transparent at the same time

Btw, does it work to go back in time in Curve and change from credits to debit card and switch the debit card to the foreign currency at the same time?
Would be interesting to see if that worked out to get fees refunded by going back to the payment method you propose.

2 Likes

I get your point. I think no matter how you slice it, Curve is just not a simple straightforward product and it pays off to make a little effort to understand how it works. That’s just the nature of the product. From that perspective I agree there is a bit of a gap between how the marketing department spins it and how it works in practice.

Yes you can use GBIT to “undo” the FX done by Curve and even undo weekend fees if you move to a card set to the currency of the transaction and let the underlying card do the FX. Not sure if it works to revert fees for using a credit card if you GBIT to a debit card, never tried that.

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We all know ATM withdrawals are expensive, so don’t do many especially with small amounts and you’re good. But I see your point that in theory it could be expensive if …

I think using a credit card to take cash out and getting charged for it is not something to add to the complain. It is well known cash out of credit cards is expensive, just use a debit card instead.

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Again, this is not my point. Of course I can personally use a debit card instead of a credit card. But with the same argument, I can easily avoid their fees by by not using Curve at all, so…

My point: their claim is “you can leave your others cards at home, you need just one card, travel only with Curve, avoid nasty fees (!), etc.”

But due to the circumstances and free structure I described, if for some reason a credit card and ATMs is what you need to use abroad, due to the way they structure their fees, you should rather take along the underlying credit card on your travels - in order to avoid the nasty Curve fees!

And a more transparent fee structure of at the very least a unified limit of 500 should not cost them the world and could be helpful to some credit card customers, so why should I not bring it up here. Maybe somebody from product development is listening…?

1 Like

Then I would get their fees and worse exchange rate.