Curve Fronted blocked for Metal subscribers as well

I’m a metal subscriber, but have been having some strange issues with my Curve card being declined.

I had assumed it was to do with the switch away from Wirecard, but apparently not.

I was informed today by Curve Support that “we generally don’t process transactions to retailers with the MCC 6012”. So, even though Curve’s own website says that “Curve Fronted makes these transactions possible… For Curve Metal customers, this is free” and the support page says “There are two types of transactions that we charge a fee for… Transactions falling under Merchant Category Code (MCC) 6012”.

I can see that this doesn’t mean that Curve have to permit every transaction under MCC 6012, given that the fraud system may flag certain transactions. And Support noted that “transactions to this merchant aren’t allowed with Curve, as we consider making this type of transaction using a Curve card to be high risk”. The merchant in question? Santander Bank. So according to Curve, Santander are high risk.

I honestly find Curve exhausting (I think I’ve suffered every debacle since the original “Legacy black”), but this is a really bemusing one. To advertise Metal as a way to avoid fees on MCC 6012, and then just block transactions altogether under the banner of “high risk” is unbelievably misleading. I’m not sure how Santander would feel about being identified as a high risk organisation by Curve, either.

In essence, Curve needs to make a decision. Either fee-free MCC 6012 transactions are part of Curve Metal and you don’t block them, or they are not permitted and not advertised. At the moment the “offer” is really not what it seems.


That’a really strange. Have you followed up with support re. Santander being a high risk?

Yeah, I’ve challenged them on that and the other aspects mentioned here. No response as yet.

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Really interested to see what they come back with, keep us updated if you don’t mind :slight_smile:

Am a bit confused. What are you actually trying to do with Santander?
MCC Code 6012, accorging to (which Curve now uses) is: “Financial institutions merchandise and services”, excluding manualr or automated cash disbursements.

What “service” arre you buying from Santander? Paying off one credit card using Cuve?

Correct, paying off a credit card as offered by Curve Fronted

Ah ok. In that case I’m not surprised. Even though Curve Fronted is available, merchants in the UK don’t generally allow credit cards to be paid off by other cards (which may have an underlying credit card) It may have worked once, but once they look into it they’ll ban it from happening the next time.

I have just used Curve Metal to pay my Amex bill partially, without a problem.

Oh that’s great. I’m aware others have had issues with other merchants, so I think its a case by case basis.

To be clear, I’m not saying that Santander are blocking Curve, I’m saying that Curve are blocking Santander.

The issue is that Curve are simultaneously advertising paying off credit cards on MCC 6012 as a perk of Metal (Curve Fronted) and then privately saying that it’s unsupported and they don’t permit it.

Each of those in isolation are fine, but you can’t do both.

They’ve told me this morning that they’re “looking into this”. Hopefully it is a case of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing.


Apparently Santander have been blacklisted, not for any particular reason, and they’ll consider whitelisting them in the future, but can give no indication as to when.

It’s hard to think how Curve could frustrate me more as a customer…

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High risk means that MCC 6012 merchants are likely to be used by money launderers to cash out stolen cards. Card issuers therefore have to deploy measures to mitigate the risk of being used for fraud and collared by the authorities.

If you’re going to spend regularly at these kind of merchants, blocks and flags are part and parcel of that and it’s something you have to live with. You can also pay off your credit card with a bank transfer from an account in your own name - I’ve never known this to be an issue.

On the face of it Santander being blocked would be anomalous when other card payments work but we don’t know what has gone on behind the scenes with other customers.

I’m very familiar with AML, my point is that Curve need to be more transparent about what they’re doing.

I’m well aware that I can pay with other means, but when Curve are advertising that they offer MCC 6012 payments in return for a fee, I expect to be able to use that service.

Obviously in some cases they will need to block merchants due to fraud, but the fact that they’re blocking one of the largest UK banks demonstrates to me that this isn’t about fraud at all. Their refusal to do anything about it promptly doesn’t help, either.


That’s fair enough. I’ve never been able to get Santander card payment to work, just says verification failed no matter which card I try.