American Express blocks Curve

American Express blocks Curve

American Express has blocked attempts by Curve to load Amex cards into its all-in-one wallet, just days after the UK startup announced support for the feature.

The addition of Amex support would allow Curve customers to spend with Amex anywhere Mastercard is accepted for the first time, solving the annoyance card members have of retailers not accepting Amex cards due to their high fees.

Curve has been trialling Amex compatibility with its platform in closed Beta since November. During this time, at least 500 Curve users spent more than £1 million on their Amex cards, the company says.

In blocking the feature, Amex says it is not obliged to work with any third parties or individual merchants and that it terminated support for "business reasons".

This explanation has cut no ice with Curve, which is vowing to fight Amex's decision and take its case to the relevant regulatory bodies.

"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," says the firm in a statement to 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."

In a later bog post, Curve goes even further: "We intend to challenge Amex's decision. We have already sent a letter to them to reconsider their decision and have given them reasonable time to comply. Failure to do so will mean that we will be forced to exercise our rights in the courts and to submit complaints to the relevant regulators in the UK and Europe."
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Comments: (4)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 30 January, 2019, 13:532 likes 2 likes

Am I missing something here?

"The addition of Amex support would allow Curve customers to spend with Amex anywhere Mastercard is accepted for the first time, solving the annoyance card members have of retailers not accepting Amex cards due to their high fees".

If retailers choose not to accept American Express cards due to their higher fees, how does this product get around it? who pays the difference in fees between Amex and a standard Visa or Mastercard fee? Does this circumvent a merchants choice not to accept Amex? I just don't get it.

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 30 January, 2019, 18:32Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

I dont get curve in the first olace with apple wallet whats the point of it

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 31 January, 2019, 16:01Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Similarly confused. I also don't get how Curve works, is it a Magstripe skimmer effectively like 'Coin' or a single 'Pan' that is used at POS and then a Real time payment between the corresponding, Mastercard/Visa/not Amex?? 

Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune 31 January, 2019, 18:05Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

I have no inside track into Curve but, going by a sleight of hand followed by PayTM, I'm guessing Curve becomes Merchant on Account, funds itself, then sends that money along with Visa / MasterCard creds to Merchant who only accepts V / MC cards. At least that's how I interpret the following line on Curve's website: "In order to use your Amex with Curve you need to top-up your Amex wallet."

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