New Curve Fronted fees for Metal customers above £10k per month

When I upgraded to Curve Metal in April 2020, and when I renewed my subscription in April 2021, Curve’s UK terms of service stated with respect to Curve Fronted “Metal No fees”. This is evident in a cache of Curve’s UK terms of service at https://web.archive.org/web/20210227212832/https://www.curve.com/en-gb/legal/terms/

This contractual term to charge no fees for Curve Fronted to Curve Metal customers remains in force for the duration of the 12-month subscription for which I paid £150 until April 2022. Curve Fronted was the only reason that I upgraded to Curve Metal and paid an annual fee of £150.

Curve e-mailed me on 30th September 2021 stating “We’re introducing a £10,000.00 limit to Curve Fronted for our Metal customers. The first £10,000.00 you spend via Curve Fronted per calendar month will be service fee free, but from 1 December 2021 you will be charged a 1.5% service fee on the total transaction value in excess of the limit”.

If Curve charges me a fee for Curve Fronted before April 2022, then this would be a breach of contract, and also Regulation 5(4)(g) of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.

My use of Curve Fronted is usually £700 per week (£3,033.33 per month) with Creation as the underlying card. However, in some months, typically towards the end of the tax year, my usage is considerably higher when I pay tax bills and make contributions to ISAs and pensions. These are one-way payments and are not recycling. It is likely that my use of Curve Fronted will be considerably more than £10,000 per month in the two to three months preceding 5th April 2022 as it was in the same months in 2021. I am writing to Curve to ask it to ensure that it does not charge me any fees for using Curve Fronted before my subscription renewal in April 2022.

As a result of this change, I will not be renewing my Curve Metal subscription and will be downgrading to Curve Blue in April 2022.

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My problem is largely the same here. The £10,000 a month is fine for most of the year… and then it’s not.

Given this, and the fact that half my transactions of late seem to be blocked, it really makes me wonder what the point of Curve is any more.

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Exactly. If they had imposed an annual limit of £120,000, or even lower at £100,000, then I might renew in April 2022. But a monthly limit doesn’t work for me because my use of Curve Fronted is extremely seasonal, not monthly.

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I entirely agree. We have gone from one of the strongest Curve features, no fronting fees, to 1.5% fees on anything over £10k a month. Curve used the no fronting fee strongly in promoting Curve Metal and the £150 fee. My subscription will have 7 months to run from the end of November and I do not intend to continue to pay for a feature that has been radically changed during the in-contract period.

As to other benefits, I already have free airport lounge access and a £20 fee does not seem like a great offer per visit that can’t be matched elsewhere, and the gadget insurance limits are too low, as they will be for most Metal-carrying customers. And I also have a more comprehensive travel insurance policy. My Barclaycard gives me worldwide free worldwide usage, and .25% cash back, and if I use Curve’s 1% cash back on my selected retailers I lose loyalty points from them which makes the 1% far more marginal, especially set against the £150 fee. I’m not sure what’s left…

It strikes me that Curve benefits, and its novelty, are steadily diminishing whilst charges are increasing. I suspect that clients interested in financial innovation will gradually depart as this happens. With a bit of effort, most of the Curve benefits can be replicated, and the early Curve adopters were just the people who put this kind of effort in, and also keep a close eye on value for money…

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Just wanted to throw my two pence in, you can have a pro rate fee refund for unused curve subsription.

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It’s difficult to get clarity from the Curve app’s linked web pages as to the actual conditions for cancellation of Curve Metal as various documents are out of date and contradictory or refer to documents no longer available.

However, there seem to be different rules between those paying monthly or annually, on whether the account was first opened before or after 29 April 2021, and whether the subscription is a repeat one. Monthly customers seem to have to pay for six months and are charged £50 for the cost of the Curve Metal card, but not if you were a subscriber before April 2021. Some sort of flow chart is required!

It’s all a bit of a mess really although to give them credit they are much improved on earlier iterations where information on fees etc were months or years out of date.

I’ll have to look at things in more detail tomorrow, but at first glance I think I’m done with Metal.

Unfortunately this has been Curve’s approach from the very start - to continually move the goalposts and change T&Cs at pace as they change their minds about what they want to be.

Between the Legacy Black, Amex, Fronted charges, MCCs… I just want to use my card, not re-read T&Cs every few months because everything has changed again.

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This is also how I interpret the below text from the email.

If you’re unhappy with any of the changes we’ve made, get in touch, via the app or email our support team at support@curve.com. They will be happy to answer any questions, or close your account free of charge.

To me free of charge means that any subscription money that was paid in advance should be returned pro rata and no cancellation fees should be paid (regardless of when the subscription started or if it was paid monthly or yearly).

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I prefer to hold Curve to the terms of the contract for the remainder of the contract term. Allow Curve to breach the contract and to cancel the contract prematurely is not an option. I want the service for which I paid £150 for a 12-month period including honouring the terms of that contract.

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I completely understand but rest assured - all the financial institutions change their T&C as the time evolves, not only Curve. It is standard behaviour. It is always your right to cancel the contract free of charge when you do not agree with the changes. :dizzy_face::page_with_curl:

Yes, they do. But where T&Cs change in the consumer’s disfavour, these can take effect only after the current contract term has ended, otherwise it’s a breach of contract.

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No, that’s not true. :deaf_man: T&Cs can be changed in any way. The right of the consumer is to immediately cancel the contract free of charge if he/she doesn’t agree with the changes.

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Where are you reading this or are you making it up? If a contract term allows the business to change the contract terms during the length of the contract but does not allow the consumer to do the same, then that contract term would breach Part 2 of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 concerning unfair contract terms and would consequently be unenforceable. Section 62(4) states:

A term is unfair if, contrary to the requirement of good faith, it causes a significant imbalance in the parties’ rights and obligations under the contract to the detriment of the consumer.

If the business does not honour the contract terms for the duration of the contract term, then the consumer can claim for breach of contract, which in this case would include any fees charged in breach of contract.

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Well, you’re a lawyer? :thinking: I’m not. But the information from our corporate lawyers is that you cannot change anything in the contract itself without agreeing on that with both contractual sides, but you can change the T&Cs with a risk that the consumer can immediately cancel the contract free of charge (and it doesn’t matter whether the change is in favour or disfavour of the consumer). :money_with_wings:

We for example changed our corporate’s service (which we have under contract with our customers) T&Cs from a scratch :memo: when we were migrating to a new system and this was also confirned as valid by renowned external lawyer company. :man_judge:

Also it’s usual that banks for example stop providing card cashbacks with their updated T&Cs, which undoubtly is in consumer’s disfavour :sob:, and all you can do is immediately cancel the card contract…

Never heard about consumer can change something in company’s T&Cs, I don’t understand what you’re writing about… :man_shrugging:

That’s all I can say. Just wanted to help. I understand you, but I still think all you can do is get used to it or stop using Curve Metal… :flushed:

Yes, if a business breaches the contract terms (including by unilaterally changing them during the contract period), then one of the remedies can be, as you say, for the consumer to exit the contract without penalty with a refund of any relevant amount. But another option is for the consumer to claim for damages arising from the breach of contract, which in this case would be the 1.5% fees above £10k per month. I am choosing the latter.

Another example is flights. If an airline cancels a flight, then the passenger can choose whether to receive a refund or to receive rerouting to the final desintation(s) at the airline’s expense. This is such an established legal principle that the EU codified it into EU261/2004.

I still don’t think that changing T&Cs means breaching the contract or can be compared to cancelling a flight. :thinking: But if you’re so sure with your conclusions, just go ahead - good luck :four_leaf_clover: and please let us know your result. :balance_scale:

We may amend these Terms to reflect changes:

Because these Terms will continue till you or we end them, we may need to change these Terms every now and then. If we make changes that are clearly in your favour, we’ll tell you once we’ve made them. Otherwise, we’ll give you 2 months’ notice before the change will come into effect - so you can easily end these Terms if you don’t agree with the changes. Any such changes will only ofcourse be made if they are reasonable. We’ll assume you’re happy with the change unless you tell us otherwise.

So as long as they give you 2 months notice, then they can indeed change the terms. Just like every other financial institution…there is always a clause like this.

I suppose you can take them to court to argue as to what you consider reasonable or not, but ultimately Curve are a private business and they get to decide how their product gets used and who they want as their customers.

In this case, they’ve given us DAYS… so this wouldn’t apply anyway.

From 1st December 2021

…that’s over two months from yesterday?

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That proves the opposite - there is no right for reroute without the extra protection given via UK (EU) Reg No 261, just a refund. It doesn’t apply to all flights you might take, and the extra protection is worth seeking out, which wouldn’t be the the case if the rules were just ‘clarifying’ existing rights.

You might get a goodwill gesture as it’s easier for Curve, but they haven’t had many Ombudsman complaints so presumably don’t pay for these.

It’s similar to how mobile phone companies have changed their terms regularly over the years - you’re welcome to walk away from your contract, but you can’t hold them to the original terms. Curve will sort you out with a partial refund of your annual fee if you wish.