American Express shuts down Curve card access 48 hours after introduction

30 January 2019

Curve card customers hoping to use an American Express card through their Curve app have had the service cut short.

Curve announced the launch of Amex services on its app on Monday. It would have allowed Amex customers to use their cards at most retailers, whether or not they traditionally accept Amex. 

The Curve card operates as an aggregator of cards. You can load all your different debit and credit cards onto one app then pick which one to use when you spend using the app. 

But, some 48 hours later, Curve issued a notice to customers to say Amex had terminated its agreement with the app, and accused American Express of an "anti-competitive move."

The Curve statement says: “Like thousands of other UK merchants, Curve has a valid merchant agreement to accept Amex payments into its e-wallet. However, on Tuesday evening, Amex decided to terminate this agreement and block all Amex transactions to Curve with immediate effect.”

A spokesperson for American Express has responded to the Curve statement: “American Express participated in a limited Curve beta test where we enabled a small number of card members to load funds onto an e-wallet using their Amex Card in the Curve app.

“Following this beta test we informed Curve that we would not participate in the further roll out of the Curve e-wallet.”

Curve adds in its statement: “Amex has given no good or fair reason for their decision and we believe it is entirely disproportionate and discriminatory to Curve and all our (joint) customers.

“UK payment regulations clearly state that Curve should be allowed to access the Amex payment network on a level-playing field with every other fee-paying and legitimate merchant.”  

Moneywise contacted Curve for further comment. Its spokesperson says: “Last Monday morning, Curve announced the addition of American Express support for users of our platform in an open Beta test. The announcement was made based on a merchant agreement we had with American Express to accept Amex card payments into our e-wallet. American Express decided to terminate this agreement on Tuesday evening.

"We regret that American Express has deemed it necessary to take this action and we do not agree with their decision. However, Curve customers can rest assured that they can still spend any funds they may have already topped up in their existing Amex Wallets. While there may be a delay in replying, we will endeavour to respond to all our customers who have contacted us for support.

"We believe financial freedom is the future and we will continue in our mission to deliver a truly innovative product that can make that future a reality today.”

Debit cards associated with bank accounts benefit from FSCS deposit protection while being used through Curve. However, one drawback of the app is credit card customers lose their section 75 protection when spending between £100 and £30,000 through the app.

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