Forum AMA with Paul Harrald, CEO of Curve Credit

Forum AMA with Paul Harrald of the Curve team.

Hi everyone,

If you’ve ever been curious about how Curve Flex has developed and where its future lies then this is your chance to find out. Meet Paul :point_down:

Paul Harrald
Paul is the CEO of Curve Credit at Curve, where he runs our lending business feature known as Curve Flex. Paul is also the Chief Information Officer (CIO) of Curve, where he covers the use of data to manage the business as well as risk and compliance.
He also loves the movie Predator and fine wines.
Paul harrald headshot

Throw any questions you might have about Curve and Paul’s role in the thread below and he’ll respond to them next week!

I’ll curate your questions with the aim of cutting down on duplicates before providing these to Paul.

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  1. Why did you join the Curve Team?
  2. Why do you think Curve Credit/Flex is better then any other BNPL service?
  3. What is your personal opinion on Curve Credit/Flex?
  4. What is your favorite tea?
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Curve credit needs to improve.

  1. Where do you see it heading in the future?
  2. There is already a lot of flex products out there and much better ones. Why should I use flex when it’s only available for past transactions? Paypal, klarna and tymit offer better products in my opinion
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  1. Who underwrites the loans for the BNPL? Does Curve have its own financing arm?
  2. Do merchants pay Curve?
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Hey everyone, thanks for your questions! Paul is currently reviewing these and his responses will be posted tomorrow.

Hey Curve Community,

Thanks for your questions, it’s great to hear you’re as interested in Curve Flex as I am! Without further ado, let’s get stuck in with some answers.

A couple of things: one was the long term vision which struck me as, well, visionary. It seemed to me either our financial lives were becoming more fragmented with the fintech entrants, or if they were not, it’s likely to be lack of information or switching costs - then to foster competition, we need a way to simplify and empower customers - to allow direct comparison and ease of switching, whether it be paying for something, saving or investing.

I also saw the possibility of building out Flex and couldn’t resist, hopefully I can explain the attraction of that below.

With Flex, you can buy almost anything, anywhere with almost any card, and we’ll refinance it. We’ll refund it. In that simple swipe, Flex serves at least three purposes:

First, you can smooth the payments on more expensive items: buy something on your Curve card, use any underlying card, and you can pay over 3-12 months. This allows you to buy/pay for something and leaves you with more cash in case you need or want it, over the period of the loan.

Second, if you’d like an easy and available way to pay off your credit card balance - maybe you’re paying a bit too much and you want to commit yourself to clearing off some of the balance - then by choosing credit card transactions and allowing us to refund them, we will give you the certainty of paying off some of your balance in a known amount of time.

Third, if you need or want cash in your bank account, then find recent or historic Curve transactions with a debit card underlying them, and generally, we’ll refund those.

If our customers appreciate this utility as much as we hope, then all the more reason to use Curve too - as you build up a transaction history, each one represents the option to Flex…

This flexibility is available to approved Curve customers in their app, and it is unique to Curve and it was this product we set out to build when I joined Curve.

Honestly, I think it is beautiful. It is so “Curve.”

But,I do think it is a “slow burn” - it takes a bit of getting used to - and as an “insider” I take for granted its utility. Also, I hope that our customers appreciate our approach to responsible lending as much as they appreciate the beautiful UX too.

Well, when I lived in Singapore, on Saturdays we were lucky enough to go to TWG in the Ion shopping centre. I would always drink darjeeling or assam in there, but was quite naughty and sometimes put a dash of milk in. I also like the great blends (like PG Tips).

We have plans to move Flex around the world, such as the US

We also want to use our expertise to offer credit to new customers - those without a transaction history, and we have a few ways planned to do that.

I think Flex is ideal for small businesses who often pay what looks like a pretty high price for managing cash flows, for example by invoice discounting or even credit cards.

Yes, in fact the name “Flex” really is used a lot…

The interesting thing about Flex is that it is really an option to do something in the future. As I said above, this is a bit unusual, but perhaps no more so than an unused credit card limit. The ability to go back in time allows you to change your mind or make decisions later: you can use multiple cards - maybe to collect rewards - and you can “Flex” transactions other than purchases at merchants.

Paypal, Klarna, Tymit (may I add Zilch?) are also very nice too, pioneers and excellent businesses. Apple too!

However, I hope if you read above you can see why we like Flex above them all!

Yes, for now we fund our own loans with our own money. This will change soon when we will use wholesale funding (watch this space).

At present, merchants do not pay for Curve Flex use - our customers do by paying interest. We are looking at ways sustainably to offer non-interest bearing loans and by the end of the year we’ll perhaps launch something in this area….

Thanks for taking the time to speak with the wider Community Paul, I’m sure I speak for everyone when I say that we’re excited to see Curve Flex continue to grow and develop! :raised_hands:

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