Curve or Halifax Clarity

I am going to UAE, and I just wondered what would be most economical to use, the Halifax Clarity credit card or Curve with Halifax Clarity as the underlying card?

Both are Mastercard, are there any advantages of using Curve in this scenario as Halifax Clarity does not charge for foreign transaction fees.

Use Curve during the week, as the inter-bank exchange rate tend to be better.

Use Halifax on the weekend, as Curve charge extra on the weekends.


What he said, in addition to use Curve for cash withdrawals (check your limits, they’re fairly small). The Clarity will start charging interest on ATM transactions right away.

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So perhaps using Clarity as underlying card on Curve and Monzo at the weekend.

My Monzo cash free abroad limit is ÂŁ200 and so is my Curve limit. If I use Curve with Monzo, will that be ÂŁ400 in total or still just ÂŁ200 with Curve?

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Curve can’t see your Monzo limits and vice versa, so I believe you could withdraw 200 with Monzo as underlying card and 200 directly with Monzo, but it would be good to know if anyone has done this successfully.

Starling charge no ATM fees abroad, so by far the best card, if you want to withdraw lots of cash…

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Good question, and I should know by the end of the month when my Clarity statement is generated.

I took out cash from a cash machine in Iceland and Curve registered it as an ATM withdrawal as expected. My underlying card was a Clarity, but as far as I can see, the Clarity has not registered it as a cash withdrawal. I won’t know for certain until my statement is generated though and I can check if any interest was accrued.

I know that doesn’t 100% answer your question with Monzo but if my Clarity can’t pick up on the fact it was a Curve cash withdrawal, then I doubt Monzo will either.

My tactic in Iceland was to use Curve with Clarity underlying set up in GBP for weekdays, and then change my Clarity to ISK in the Curve app for the weekend. It seems to have worked fine as Curve did pass on all transactions in ISK when I changed it, which is what I wanted to avoid weekend markup.

All in all we’re talking about pennies being saved in my case, and being slapped with a ~£6 ATM fee in Iceland (apparently this was unavoidable) does put things in perspective a bit. Between my Clarity and the Curve card, I reckon any savings I made switching between them are completely wiped out by that one £6 charge. Oh well!


Was the ATM free from the ATM operator?

Cash is definitely to be avoided.

Yes it was a charge from the operator. Possibly because it was in an airport perhaps. It was unavoidable, regardless of what card or currency I was withdrawing in. I obviously withdrew in the local currency to avoid the ATM’s abysmal exchange rate.

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My Clarity did not register my Curve cash withdrawal as a cash withdrawal and as such did not accrue interest. It probably did register as “cash transaction” but the Clarity has no fees or penalties for this.

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Also consider this. Bit of an obscure rule.

You’ll likely pay interest but a controlled amount of cash advance with no FX fee cards can be minimal and often better a deal over paying FX fees.

Not sure what you’re trying to say? I used my Curve to withdraw cash from an ATM abroad, with an underlying credit card selected set to GBP. Curve allowed me to withdraw cash without fees or charges, and exchanged the currency from ISK to GBP at interbank rate. My underlying credit card (the Halifax Clarity) was charged in GBP.

Normally if I use my Clarity directly, in the UK or abroad, to withdraw cash from an ATM, they will start charging me interest right away (but no fees). The point of my comment was to confirm that when using Curve instead, the transaction details passed onto my Clarity card were not considered an ATM withdrawal by Halifax and as such I was charged no interest.

This is relevant because most other credit cards DO register Curve ATM withdrawal as cash advances and charge you appropriately. Halifax Clarity does not.


Ah- got your point now. Halifax should be charging you for cash advance, it’s happened to me before… this being the start point of my comment. Lucky for you and saving a bit extra.

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I don’t think they should. Their terms and conditions specifically state that “cash transactions” do not accrue fees or interest from day 1. I have used the card directly before to make a payment to a loan (MCC 6012) and again was not charged a penny more for it.

However I do not think many cards work like that. I am now testing Tandem with Curve to see if it accrues any costs when making a MCC 6012 transaction.

Unless you have an actual need for a massive wedge of cash, you’ll be fine with cards pretty much everywhere in the UAE, unless your going massively off book in one of the smaller Emirates…

I only needed to withdraw cash once (to book a tour with the hotel) using my Clarity card on Curve. No immediate extra charges but will update if and when it gets added.

My Barclaycard hasn’t charged me with cash advances either using Curve. I must be missing something or I must be lucky (many times).

Scenario… if make a purchase in US$ using Clarity as underlying card set to $ base currency. Would this bypass the Curve weekend fee and have Clarity use the MC rate?

That is correct.

Whatever currency you select as the base currency will mean that any charges in that currency will be charged to your card directly, without going through Curve’s exchange.