HMRC surcharging Curve's 5375 91 BIN and terrible customer service from Curve

I have had a Curve commercial card since launch in 2016 and have previously used Curve commercial cards with a 5375 91 BIN to pay HMRC without any surcharges, but I see that HMRC has now started surcharging for commercial debit cards including this BIN.

Therefore I asked Curve to issue me with a consumer card instead. They issued me with another card starting 5375 91, which I haven’t received yet, but when I try to use it on HMRC’s web site, of course there’s still a surcharge. If I enter the card number of a cancelled Curve consumer card with a 5375 90 BIN, then HMRC’s web site doesn’t surcharge, but obviously I can’t complete the transaction with a cancelled card.

I have been trying to get a consumer card from Curve for a week, but Curve support fails to respond to my e-mails. Every time I respond to Curve support, I need to phone Curve on 020 3322 2585, and the receptionist then prompts Curve support to read my e-mail, otherwise I receive no response. When I’m paying £150 per annum, I expect better service.

When I wrote to Curve support:

The new card that you have issued me starts 5375 91, the same as my existing commercial card. HMRC has started surcharging for commercial cards starting 5375 91, but not for consumer cards starting 5375 90. Please could you ensure that you issue me with a consumer card starting 5375 90, and not a commercial card starting 5375 91.

Curve support responded:

I can assure you that my colleague [redacted name] reissued you a personal card rather than commercial. The sub-BINs will determine whether it’s business or personal and not the first 6 digits (BIN) of the card. Hope this clears things up!

This is clearly not true, because HMRC’s web site indicates there’s a surcharge as soon as one enters 537591, before entering any further digits.

Curve support are not responding. What more can I do? Can anyone validate what is written above?

Hey, unfortunately there’s nothing we can do about your account on the forum as we’re Curve users just like you! It’s best to get in touch with the support team through email (support@curve.app) or Twitter DM so they can take a look!

Sorry, I’m 537591 on a commercial card too so can’t help. I agree it doesn’t quite make sense when the HMRC site is varying their fee by the 6th digit.

You can make a complaint, if you like: complaints@imaginecurve.com

The BIN is the first 6 digits. 537591 is commercial, and 537590 is consumer. I believe that HMRC is differentiating correctly. But I don’t believe that any merchant can differentiate on the sub-BIN, i.e. digits beyond the 6th digit.

Yep, sorry I was meaning the Curve support reply didn’t make sense as my understanding was the same as you :slight_smile:

1 Like

MasterCard haven’t responded to a Twitter query about split BINs. While it sounds a bad idea, I guess it’s possible. Dozens and Loot shared a BIN until Loot went under. So they can be used in somewhat flexible ways…

So while like you, my gut feeling is that this shouldn’t be possible, I have to think it would be a bit of a stretch for Curve support to fabricate the notion of sub-BINs?

When I switched to personal, they tried to ignore it - despite me stating my requirement for a personal card (and the reason) in each message requesting it I still got sent a Commercial card on the first try.

Hope you can get a 537590 sorted…

Curve finally admitted their error. They wrote:

Unfortunately, I can see that a system error is affecting the reissue of your new personal card, and that’s why you’ve received another business card. To provide an immediate solution to the matter, we’ll need to cancel your existing Curve Metal card and send you a new one.

Curve have now issued me with a new consumer card, which is already showing in the app with a 5375 90 BIN, and I will receive the physical card on Tuesday.

4 Likes

Good news for you.

Increasingly likely Curve did in fact fabricate the existence of sub-bins… a new low if true.

1 Like

I still don’t get why HMRC is allowed to surcharge when it’s illegal for the rest of the UK to use surcharges for different payment types.

If, by “illegal”, you referring to Article 62(4) of Directive (EU) 2015/2366, which is enacted in the UK under Regulation 6A(1) of the Consumer Rights (Payment Surcharges) Regulations 2012, then this legislation applies only to consumer cards. HMRC stopped accepting consumer credit cards because of the legislation. HMRC surcharges for accepting commercial debit and commercial credit cards, and no legislation prevents it from doing so.

1 Like

Ah okay thanks, I wasn’t 100% sure on the details. Does it actually really save HMRC much money though by passing yet another expense onto small businesses?

Edit: From a quick Google, it seems it might be saving HMRC roughly £3 million, which in the scale of things is a tiny amount. They’ve spent more than 3 million in the time it’s taken me to Google something and write this reply.

Yes, because the interchange fees on commercial debit and credit card payments are not capped at 0.2% and 0.3% by Regulation (EU) 2015/751.

1 Like

It’s also £3 million it cost them very little to save…

I think that HMRC’s approach is that it’s not the amount of money involved but the principle that taxpayers who don’t pay by these methods shouldn’t be subsidising interest-free credit and rewards (points, airmiles, cashback etc) enjoyed by taxpayers who do pay by these methods.

1 Like

Yes true, debit cards are a convenience but given the effort in doing taxes etc paying by bank transfer is a minor undertaking to avoid a fee.

I never understood them taking credit cards - as far as individuals / small companies are concerned unless you’re in worrying debt with HMRC, your cheapest way to deal with taxes you can’t pay immediately is to set up a payment plan with them, which will cost you a lot less in interest than a credit card. Just don’t wait until Jan 31st to ask :slight_smile:

Which leaves only people with bad debt or as you suggest points chasers wanting to shove their tax on a credit card…

Do you happen to know if we can still use Curve Metal and avoid the surcharge ?

Curve metal holders will avoid the Curve (1.5%) fee.
If your metal card is a commercial card, HMRC will surcharge you. If your metal card is a personal card, HMRC will not surcharge you.

You can also tell by the first 6 digits on your card (mentioned above, I’ll assume you have a UK card if you’re paying HMRC…). It might have ‘commercial’ printed on it too, I’m not sure for metal cards.

1 Like

You are confusing Curve’s 1.5% surcharge with HMRC’s 1% surcharge. The two are separate and triggered by different factors.

2 Likes

thank you for flagging and educating me. I am new to the whole concept so bear with me. are you saying that even if I use a metal curve card (linked to a personnal card) hmrc will charge you 1% of the total bill owed ? keep to hear from you what these factors are ?