Curve, the U.K. FinTech that enables customers to consolidate bank cards into a Curve card, was shut out by American Express just two days after announcing it had reinstated support of AmEx.
TechCrunch, citing an email Curve sent customers on Wednesday (Jan. 30), reported Curve informed customers of the move, saying “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.”
Curve said it plans to fight Amex's move to block it from accessing the payment cards. In 2016, when Curve was just launching as a startup, Amex blocked Curve. This time around, however, Curve has the backing of a bevy of investors and has competition regulations in the U.K. and European Union on its side when going up against Amex. Still, it's not clear if Curve will be victorious, noted the report.
According to TechCrunch, in the email to its customers Curve said Amex's move to block it was anti-competitive and “entirely disproportionate and discriminatory,” to the FinTech. “U.K. 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,” Curve said in the email, reported TechCrunch.
A spokesperson from American Express told TechCrunch that it doesn't have an obligation from a regulatory standpoint to work with Curve or other “individual merchants.” TechCrunch noted that Amex said it ended the relationship with Curve due to business reasons. “We participated in a limited Curve beta test in which we explored enabling Card Members to load funds onto an e-wallet using their Amex Card in the Curve app. A very small number of Amex Card Members participated in the test. Based on the results, we communicated to Curve that we would not participate in the further roll out of Curve because of concerns related to the overall American Express Card Member experience. Subsequently, we terminated our contract with them,” Amex said in the statement to TechCrunch.