Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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Is a “Curve” card worth trying?

April 10, 2017

I’ve been reading about the Curve card.

From what I can work out, it’s a MasterCard prepay card that, instead of you topping it up with credit, provides a “token” when you use it for a transaction which links the transaction back to Curve. The transaction can then be re-charged to any of the cards (credit or debit) with which you’ve linked it.

A beta Curve card

It’s multi-currency, and will give you a decent exchange rate (MasterCard rate + 1%) without commission on foreign currency transactions.

One of their big claims is that you can use it to pay with your Amex card (and get loyalty points) anywhere that takes MasterCard – which is more places than take Amex at the moment.

They also suggest this is a way of reducing the number of cards you have to carry to one. Indeed Ted Truscott has written a review after using Curve for a week where he suggests this is now the only card he carries.

But I’m skeptical.

First, from what I can see from Curve’s FAQs by using Curve you compromise your consumer rights: if you use a credit card directly to buy something then the transaction is between you and the credit card company, and your final recourse in the event of a problem is to the credit card company as the vendor. The same protection doesn’t apply to debit cards – they’re essentially the same as paying with cash. And using Curve give you the same consumer protection as using a debit card:

“using Curve is not a direct purchase from the user’s original card, so the purchases are not covered by Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act”

Second, I’m concerned that putting all your cards on Curve gives you a single point of failure: while your individual card details will be concealed, if the Curve card, the privacy of your app, or the token the card uses, becomes compromised surely all your cards are at risk?

Third, if I were to use a Curve card, and put all my debit and credit cards on it, I would reduce the number of those in my wallet from four to one. And I could carry my Euro debit card which I normally only have with me when I’m travelling. But I also have loyalty cards, membership cards and my driving license to carry: I couldn’t stop carrying my wallet – I’d merely have six cards in it instead of nine.

And fourth, I already have a MasterCard that gives me low-cost, commission free foreign exchange purchases.

So for me, the only real benefit would be that I could use my Amex card in a few more places. But I already have a MasterCard, so I can still buy stuff in those places – and get consumer protection on the purchase which I wouldn’t get if I used Curve (or the Amex alone, as it happens, since it’s a charge card).

So, while I’m tempted to try it – it’s new technology (and I’m a sucker for that), I’m not quite tempted enough to actually part with the joining fee yet.

I’ll be keeping an eye on its development…

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It’s hard being young

October 28, 2011

It was George Bernard Shaw, that most quotable of authors and playwrights, who said, “Youth is wasted on the young”. He had a point, but the young don’t have it easy, and while I wouldn’t mind having youth, I wouldn’t want to be young again today.

Getting an apprenticeship isn’t easy

My nephew has not had the easiest start in life. Oh, don’t get me wrong, he grew up as part of a loving family, has a doting mother and four gorgeous siblings, and a fantastic auntie and uncle who took him on all sorts of adventures (guess who that might be). But he suffered with “glue ear” when he was young, ended up having to have grommets and now has mild hearing loss; he also has mild dyslexia. So his education wasn’t the easiest. He dropped out of sixth-form college after having been badly hurt in a car accident – as an innocent pedestrian I should add.

Since when he’s had a series of jobs, none of which really offered him the career potential that he is capable of. Earlier this year, inspired by a friend of his, he decided he’d like to qualify as an electrician, and started looking for an apprenticeship. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Does it have to be like this?

October 7, 2010

A tweet from the inestimable Bill Thompson (@BillT) this morning about being over 50 and throwing yoghurt on his trousers prompted me to contemplate the pros and cons (mainly cons, I admit) of being in my 50s. It has to be said that it’s a bit depressing…

What was I saying? Yes, that’s the worst. I haven’t got to the point of forgetting what I’m saying mid sentence yet, but I’m sure it’s coming. I sure as hell forget what I climbed the stairs for, only to remember just as I reach the bottom step. I guess the exercise is good for me.

I am the invisible man. I work in the City of London, most of the time    Read the rest of this entry ?

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Leave Mark Thompson alone…

June 26, 2009

IMHO the expenses row has now gone too far.

So following the MP’s expenses scandal, and in the spirit of openness and transparency, Mark Thompson the BBC director general has published the expenses of the most senior 100 executives at the BBC including himself.

News story here.

Does he get praise for this? Like hell he does. I was unhappy to see the normally balanced and sensible Kirsty Wark on Newsnight last night implying that claiming for air fares to fly his family home from their disrupted holiday was unreasonable… and there was a vox pop on the BBC 10 o’clock news with people saying that this claim was “disgusting”.

No it’s not.

Sure there are some cheeky and unreasonable claims among those published, but let’s get the facts about Mark Thompson’s flights home straight:

Read the rest of this entry ?