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The Amex/Curve debacle we broke the news on late last night is shaping up into a bit of a soap opera and doesn’t look like it’s going to be resolved in the immediate future.
In case you missed it, Curve sent out a strongly worded email stating that,
“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.
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…
…we intend to fight Amex’s decision with our full might. We believe financial freedom is the future and we are prepared to fight for yours”.
If you were just going on Curve’s comments, it would therefore seem that Amex’s actions are completely unexpected and unjustified. However, Moneywise is reporting that an Amex spokesperson gave the following response when asked about the situation with Curve,
“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”.
Assuming the Amex spokesperson is correct and that the message was received by Curve, it’s very difficult to see how Amex blocking Curve could have come as a total surprise to Curve.
I make no judgement whatsoever as to whether Amex is acting reasonably or not (I have no inside information and have no expertise in the area), but the result is definitely disappointing for Amex and Curve cardholders.
I’m genuinely astonished that Curve would announce Amex compatibility with such fanfare (indeed, its a key feature on both of their two new paid products!), if they thought there was any meaningful chance of Amex pulling out, so it’s very difficult to work out what is going on here.
All we can say for now is that there has been a miscommunication/misunderstanding of epic proportions between the two companies and hope they can reach some sort of resolution. Judging from the comments coming out of both companies though, it could take a while for trust to be rebuilt.