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Amex scraps Curve tie-up after two days, start up vows to fight decision with ‘full might’

The fintech start up said American Express has ‘discriminated’ against it.


American Express has blocked attempts by Curve to load its cards into the start ups all-in-one wallet, less than two days after the deal was announced.

Curve customers will be able to load their Amex cards onto the UK start up’s app and spend on its own-brand smart card, as part of final-stage Beta testing, the fintech business said on Monday.

But in a note sent to customers less than 48 hours later, Curve said: “On Tuesday evening, Amex decided to terminate this agreement and block all Amex transactions to Curve with immediate effect.”

The London-based firm hit back saying it had a “valid merchant agreement” with the giant US charge card business. It called the move “discriminatory” and vowed to fight the decision “with our full might”.

Curve added: “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.”

However, Amex said that while it took part in early testing with Curve, it told the fintech firm it was not interested in a wider roll out of the service.

“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,” Amex said in a statement.

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

Curve also said that its customers can still spend any cash they have already topped up in their existing Amex e-wallets.

However, Amex’s decision will come as a blow to the launch of Curve’s new premium Metal card, which comes with a range of benefits such as travel and gadget insurance and airport lounge access to be added soon. But the £14.99 a month card prominently advertises the unlimited use of Amex as a key feature.  The high-end card currently runs with a banner saying: “Amex functionality is suspended for reasons beyond our control.”

Curve, founded in 2015 by Israeli chief executive and serial entrepreneur Shachar Bialick, launched its card last year and said it had notched up 300,000 customers by last December.

On Monday, Bialick said he was “thrilled” about the Amex tie-up, adding the deal was “another important step on our journey”.

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Shachar Bialick

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