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The Best Curve Card Alternatives

The Curve card offers users plenty of benefits and some great rates when you shop abroad. But if you fancy trying something else, what are the best Curve card alternatives? I’ve taken a look at 5 options you could consider.

the best curve card alternatives
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The best Curve card alternatives

  • Mobile Payments
  • Revolut
  • Wise
  • Monzo
  • Starling Bank

The Curve card

I have been a Curve card user for over 2 years now, and quite frankly, love it. Not only have I found it useful when the contactless chip gave up on my credit card, it’s also earned me quite a bit of cashback. I’m sure you know, but Curve comes with some of these great benefits:

  • The ability to link all your debit and credit cards into one place
  • Earning cashback from selected retailers
  • Earn an extra 1% cashback by referring friends
  • Receive the interbank exchange rate when shopping abroad
  • Track your spending
  • The ability to change your chosen payment card after making a transaction

You can see my full Curve card review here. But if Curve doesn’t appeal to you for one reason or another, then what are the alternatives out there?

Curve card alternatives

First of all, I’m disappointed to announce that there is no direct competitor. Currently, no other companies on the market give you the opportunity to link all of your usual cards onto a single, physical card. But that’s not to say that you can’t pick up some of the other useful features elsewhere.

Mobile payments

mobile payments

If you’re looking to combine all your cards into one place, then using mobile payment is a good option. A simple process to set up on your phone, you can use Apple Pay for your iOS device or Google Pay if you use Android. When it comes to paying, just tap a button on your phone to open the contactless feature

Advantages over Curve

  • No need to carry any physical cards
  • Can also store loyalty cards
  • More secure than a card when using contactless – you need face ID or a pin number to activate

Disadvantages

  • It only uses contactless technology, so limited to how much you can spend
  • Digital wallets still aren’t compatible with all card providers
  • It means you always need to have your phone with you

Revolut

Revolut card

Revolut is a digital current account that comes with plenty of benefits all stacked in one place. Again, this is a card great for using abroad as, like Curve, it uses the interbank rate and you can spend as much as you like using your card without fees. You can hold multiple currencies, have junior accounts linked if you have children and trade in cryptocurrency. Plus, there is even an option to earn cashback. Take a look at my Revolut review to find out more.

The basic Revolut account is free to use, whilst the paid options comes with mobile phone and travel insurance included, plus the option to withdraw more foreign currency fee-free.

Advantages over Curve

  • Allows you to trade stocks
  • Great for keeping track of your kid’s spending
  • Can earn up to £60 by referring friends

Disadvantages

  • The same as Curve, a fee of 2% is charged if you withdraw more than £200 per month (for the fee-free Revolut account)
  • You can only earn cashback from a paid version of Revolut


Wise

wise card

If you’re going to be sending or receiving money from abroad, then this is the account for you. Wise allows you to set up bank accounts in many of the major countries across the world. So if somebody sends you money in the US, it arrives in your US bank account registered to you (complete with address) and it won’t cost them a penny.

You can then move that money to one of your other currency accounts, whether it be based in the UK, Europe or another country.

And when it comes to converting your money, Wise uses the mid-market exchange rate provided by Reuters when calculating the exchange fees, which means you won’t be stung. Although Wise does charge its own fees when you make transfers, these are nowhere near as much as you will be charged compared to a traditional bank. Take a look at my full Wise review to see how the costs compare.

Advantages over Curve

  • One of the cheapest ways to spend abroad or receive foreign currency
  • Earn £50 by referring 3 friends

Disadvantages

  • Few other benefits, so only suitable if international transfers/spending is your thing
  • No cashback on offer


Monzo

Monzo Card

Monzo is a digital, mobile-only bank. There is a free version of Monzo, which allows you to budget, place money into a separate account by using round-up and use your card abroad without fees. You can also withdraw up to £200 per month whilst away from the UK without incurring any charges. Unlike Curve and Revolut, Monzo uses the Mastercard standard exchange rate when calculating money changes.

Another popular feature is that if your salary is paid into your Monzo account, you can choose to receive it a day early. Plus, there is the facility to borrow money through an overdraft or loan.

If you’re a frequent traveller, then it may be worth checking out the 2 paid account options. They can include travel and phone insurance and the ability to withdraw more cash internationally without fees. And, unlike the free Monzo option, you are paid interest for the money in your account. Take a look at my full Monzo review.

Advantages over Curve

  • The option to earn interest on your savings at better rates than most banks
  • Monzo Plus is half the price of its equivalent Curve Black

Disadvantages

  • No referral bonus
  • Can’t combine cards to one account
  • Ability to borrow is very expensive


Starling Bank

starling bank card

Starling was released as the UK’s first mobile-only current account back in 2017. You’ll find many of the same features that you’ll see with Monzo, such as round-up spending, savings goals and no fees when you spend abroad. But the one major difference is the fact that you can withdraw as much cash as you like without fees. Like Monzo, Starling uses the Mastercard exchange rate.

There is also a Kite account, suitable for 6-16 year olds, which can be linked to your main Starling account.

Advantages over Curve

  • No matter how much cash you withdraw abroad, there are no fees
  • A ‘Connected Card’ is available, which can be given to another user, who can spend up to £200

Disadvantages

  • No direct benefit to you if you refer a friend. Starling does plant a tree though


Which is the best Curve card alternative?

This really depends on what features you’re after. If you want all your cards in one place, then mobile payments are the best option at the moment, although they do come with their contactless limitations. For international spending, then Wise provides terrific value.

But there’s no reason why you could use a combination of any of the accounts above and then add them to your mobile payment provider.

At the moment though, there is nothing quite like Curve. And that’s quite unusual when you consider how useful it is to be able to combine all your cards into one.

But when I think about how popular Open Banking has become over the last couple of years, I wouldn’t be surprised to see more banks offering the opportunity to merge all your cards into one.

FAQ’s

Is the Mastercard or the interbank exchange rate better?

This really depends on the day and the rates set. When I made a comparison, the Mastercard rate was actually slightly better

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