Creation (IHG, Marriott) blocking all Curve transactions & closing accounts

I’m not surprised creation have done this. I only ever used Curve to make genuine purchases with my Creation Cashback Card (not IHG or Marriott) so I could use Apple Pay. I know people who used Creation to top up NS&I and rack up the cashback / points and recycle the cash back to the card. If I was Creation I’d be pretty fed up of people abusing the system.

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Mmm, that is a shame, and I can understand why this would be a problem for the card companies.

Whilst it is not against the rules, it isn’t really in the spirit of fair use, so it is a shame that potentially everyone who uses their card in a ‘normal’ way gets penalised as a result.

Perhaps one for Curve to look at otherwise I’m sure other cashback/rewards card will follow.

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Not sure about Creation, but cash recycling is at least against the rules of Curve as per the ToS, though for some reason Curves seems to limit the definition to “ATM withdrawal” (while this can/could be done in different other ways).

What can I not use my Curve account and Curve card for?

  • for “cash recycling”, which means using your Curve card to make an ATM withdrawal and using the cash to repay the payment card used for the withdrawal in order to receive rewards on the payment card or your Curve card,
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I feel sorry for the poor customers who might be abroad with only their curve card, linked to a creation issued credit card who could now be at a total loss!! Very poor of Creation to announce it in the way they did! I found that text very badly worded!!

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Yes, hence why it just smacks to me of “we don’t want to be doing credit cards anymore but none of you have done anything wrong so we have no legal basis to just close your account”

Hey! We’re aware that Creation have announced this and we’re currently in conversation with them. We’re hoping on getting a solution for this issue and we’ll get an update out as soon as we have any further information to share.

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As an investor, this is deeply worrying (and one of Curve’s identified key risks) - if card companies decide not to support Curve, can they simply ‘turn Curve transactions off’ or is this against their Mastercard agreements? Or to see it from the other angle, why would credit card companies allow this disruptor to come ‘steal’ their customer data and a slice of their profits?

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Card issuers (e.g. Creation) don’t specifically support individual merchants. Merchants (e.g. Curve) have an agreement with their own merchant services provider, and MasterCard is the intermediary between this and the card issuer. Creation is taking deliberate action to single out and block a specific merchant (Curve) for all MCCs (even basic retail purchases) without providing any justification.

That’s not what’s happening.

Creation card holders should demand a pro-rata refund of their annual fee (e.g. £99 on the black IHG Rewards card) on the basis that the service is being restricted outside the terms of the agreement. Blocking a specific merchant (i.e. Curve) for all MCCs is unreasonable and without justification.

If Creation refuses to refund the annual fee, then card holders can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service, which will cost Creation a case fee of £750, irrespective of the outcome.

There are rumours that Creation (owned by BNP Paribas) is planning to exit the UK credit card market anyway.

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Yes and also note that if you complain to MasterCard directly then they will investigate and again a few of £250 will be charged to Creation regardless of the outcome.

Got the same text this morning. I have been transferred to Creation from ASDA card when they shut down. I do use Curve fronted because of being a metal customer. It’s a shame that they are trying to pin point one specific company to bar any transactions through.

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I’m surprised you think that. Curve is definitely getting data on all its customers and is denying card companies from profiteering from FX fees. Curve also get a slice of interchange fees - somebody along the current payment chain is losing out.
If credit card companies can avoid this disruption by blocking Curve as a merchant, I would expect them to at least consider it. I’m surprised they’re allowed to.

Yes, Curve gathers data on its own customers, and it is as entitled to do so as much as any other card issuer. This is entirely reasonable and normal. But Curve doesn’t gather data from the underlying card issuer.

I don’t quite follow this argument. Without fronting my Creation credit card with Curve, I wouldn’t use my Creation credit card for any non-GBP transactions. Not wanting to pay a whopping 300 basis points for FX, I would have continued using Santander Zero or Halifax Clarity credit cards, as I had done for many years before the likes of Revolut and Curve appeared. Thanks to Curve, Creation receives a substantial slice of my non-GBP transaction flow that would have gone to other credit card issuers. So this is a joint win for Creation and Curve.

I believe that Creation receives the same interchange fees whether the Creation-facing merchant is Curve or the end-merchant directly, and that any additional profit for Curve is funded by fees charged to the end-merchant, particularly in the case of Curve coimmercial cards.

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Hopefully the Curve customer base is big enough to make them rethink. Crypto.com tried a similar thing, they denied cashback for any transaction via curve. It took them about 48 hours to reverse the decision and reimburse any cashback missed in the window where it was disabled.

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I honestly don’t think Creation care. They only have one card left advertised on their website, I think they are just trying to get as many people as possible to voluntarily leave them before they give up on credit cards entirely.

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Quite possibly true, and very plausible given that Creation is already evidently a very poor card issuer. But if every affected customer complains about Creation’s malpractice to the Financial Ombudsman Service with a cost to Creation of £750 as well as to MasterCard with a cost to Creation of £250, then the £1000 cost per affected customer (irrespective of the outcome) could add up to a significant amount. Although this won’t quickly restore the service for which we pay, it will give Creation a good kick in the teeth on its journey out of the UK credit card market.

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Sorry if I was unclear. I was talking about all credit card companies, not just Creation. As a community, they ‘suffer’ from Curve coming and disrupting their market when customers put all their traditional cards in a drawer and only have Curve in their wallet - these companies no longer get rich customer data (they don’t know where each transaction occurs for example) and lose profits from FX fees as Curve is doing all the translation. In the future, they’ll lose interest fees as Curve captures those profits with Curve Credit, and credit card companies lose out on ATM fees / cash advance fees.

If they have the legal ability to decline Curve as a merchant, then it would be economically sensible for them as a group to do so. It’s a bit like if Tesla Supercharger points could only be placed on Exxon and Shell gas stations - the hydrocarbon landlords could rent them space, but it’s going to cost them customers.

it’s a big risk as a Curve shareholder - if 3 companies in the US don’t want their lunch taken away, then Curve lose 40% of the market. Before this week we haven’t seen evidence of anti-competitive actions - Starling have made the customer experience poor (by hiding transaction details on statements) but there’s at least an argument to be made that Creation’s actions are an anti-competitive refusal to deal.

I’m not sure Creation see getting your Curve transactions as a win! By missing out on the opportunity to charge fees, they’re paying IHG more for hotel points than they’re receiving as interchange fees.

Time to dump curve and just use Apple Pay

The only downside to that is that Creation don’t support Apple Pay, which is why we were all using our curve card in Apple Pay linked to our Creation card

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I don’t really understand your argument.

I’d suggest most Curve customers wouldn’t be paying fees to Creation even if Curve didn’t exist, because if they’re sensible enough to use Curve they’re sensible enough to find a different credit card that doesn’t charge forex fees…they’re not exactly difficult to find!

Creation are a tiny card provider. They only advertise one product to new customers now… I’d be surprised if any of the big players were really that fussed - they still get their interchange/transaction fees and interest which I imagine is the bulk of their income. The big banks get to charge the merchant bank fees on the retailer side too, so any payment by card is a win for them whoever’s card it is.