Curve and credit Suisse $1B credit deal

Curve’s $1 billion Credit Suisse loan fuels live rehearsal for ambitious goals

Just in time for the holiday shopping season, payments app Curve closed on a $1-billion credit facility deal to fund loans across the UK, EU, and US.

Credit Suisse will back the Curve Flex split-pay option the company offers on transactions within the app.

Curve cards

After launching crypto rewards payments in September and vying for BlockFi’s credit card customers in November, Curve showed no signs of slowing down during a global fintech pullback.

Paul Harrald, CIO of Curve Group and Head of the consumer lending arm Curve Credit, said the Buy Now Pay Later-style product was a test for ambitious plans in lending.

“We have launched and successfully tested our unique Curve Flex product and are delighted to be able to scale our lending capabilities with this new financing,” Harrald said. “Securing financing of this size during this period of economic uncertainty is a testament to the broad support of our bold expansion plans underpinned with now demonstrated expertise with data.”

Trend chasing, but times are changing

Curve launched Flex in September 2021, as split pay was the style of the time, letting users split card payback or larger purchases into monthly installments. Through the app, customers connect their credit cards under one Curve card, with options on how to split up spending kept track under one roof. The firm said it allows users to smooth out cash flow bumps, flexing Curve features to put cash back in the bank account.

“We certainly are very pleased with the results of our lending to date, with our highly responsible approach encouraging responsible borrowing providing for excellent credit quality in a difficult market,” Harrald said.

Curve launched to the public in 2018, and in the past four years, the firm said it had amassed more than 4 million customers globally. The goal was to build a digital wallet that combines money into one app with one card, a super app.

Curve’s rewards offering also allows customers to “double dip” rewards – offering an additional 10% cash back on purchases made with Curve on top of existing credit card rewards programs.

Curve cryptocurrency rewards through Zero Hash

At the end of September, Curve launched a new reward program that enabled users to claim 1% cash back in cryptocurrency. The firm worked with partner Zero Hash. US CEO Amanda Orson said Curve wanted to give users a wealth of options for rewards.

“We want to be able to enable quick rewards for our customer base as quickly as possible, and working with a third-party partner is the fastest way to make that happen,” Orson said.

“If you’ve been around the space, many precise licensure requirements are required. Another big differentiator in our market is the U.S., so we have to pay attention to 50 states’ attorney generals, all of the different interstate regulatory requirements.”

Orson said Zero Hash thought that the team was super collaborative and that they were able to deploy fast. Despite downturns, she said the future is one where consumers want to get paid their own way, and cryptocurrency as a reward feature was a great way to safely reach consumer exposure.

Choose rewards

“Essentially, the core customer can choose whatever way they want to be rewarded. They want cash; they get cash, they want crypto, they can get crypto tokens,” Orson said. “It’s just so it’s very obvious that the world is moving into, people don’t see a differentiator even quicker with cash. We’re definitely driving toward a much more open future between borders, with regulation keeping things in line. We think rewards are a perfect way for consumers interested in crypto but not know how to get started to gain some exposure.”

Shachar Bialick, Founder and CEO of Curve, said that Curve crypto rewards are a safe route for the curious.

“We know that millions of people worldwide already hold cryptocurrency, but, for many, it remains a complete unknown. Curve has evolved to offer a route into the cryptocurrency world for the ever-growing ‘crypto-curious market,'” he said. “Now, not only are customers able to take control of their money and earn cashback through Curve, but we are empowering them further by offering cryptocurrency rewards too in the most accessible way possible.”

A super aggregator app

Meeting consumers where they are is the entire mindset of Curve, Orson said, a super aggregation app. Not a completely consumer-friendly word, she said, but compared to in-house offerings at challenger banks, Curve does not care how the consumer wants to do business.

“The difference between our position in the market and winner take all challenger banks in the market is that we are completely consumer-focused. We don’t care if the consumer wants to use Bank A, B, and C, and payment card or credit card one, two, or three,” she said. “We just want to ensure that we’re the single point of contact for the consumer to interact with their finances wherever they might be.”

Flexibility is the name of the Curve game, she said.

“Curve is a credit card form factor, but from an industry perspective, if you add multiple funding sources to Curve, you get the ability to dig into optimization through flexibility, optionality, and visibility,” Orson said.

The secret to good Saas? Rhythm and communication

Zero Hash Powers Curves cryptocurrency Credit card rewards, a B2B2C embedded infrastructure platform that helps integrate digital assets natively into the customer experience. Orson said in building embedded products; the team can only go as far as the partner can run.

“The most difficult thing about building embedded products or building products that rely upon a lot of strategic partners is that you end up with you’re constantly you’re having to choose to run as fast as your partner can go,” she said.

RELATED: Podcast 349: Shachar Bialick and Amanda Orson of Curve

After many meetings and referrals, the trick is sniffing out the partner with a team that will back you up. It’s naturally about good communication, and a lot can change if a partner answers help requests right away or 24 hours later in a text.

“One of the most important things that you need to filter for in that initial negotiation conversation with their potential partner is how collaborative they are. If you have a request, can you pick up the phone and call them? Or is it something where you will end up opening a ticket?”

The industry is still small

“We’re an extremely well-connected industry, it’s growing, but it’s still pretty small. Everybody has a degree of separation,” she said. “You have to diligence on your own, and you have to actually get to a place of comfort with his team, not just the salesperson that you’re on the initial hallway.

Edward Woodford, CEO, and Founder of Zero Hash, said Curve is bringing customers a reliable source of crypto.

“Zero Hash’s mission is to empower innovators like Curve to focus on developing impactful crypto user experiences while we abstract away the complexities of regulatory compliance and technical lift. Our API-first solutions are perfectly built to support Curve in bringing its crypto offering to the US and providing its customers with a dynamic and reliable crypto rewards program customized to match Curve’s unique offering.”

Zero Hash also powers BlockFi crypto reward cards, now up for grabs to the highest bidder after the exchange’s untimely bankruptcy.

A spokesperson for Curve could not share the transaction details now under NDA. Curve showed interest in purchasing BlockFi’s 87,000-plus credit card customers left out in the rain after the firm declared bankruptcy following the FTX blowup.

Zero Hash Liqudity Services LLC is licensed to engage in virtual currency business activities by the New York State Department of Financial Services.

Curve has raised more than $180 million in equity investment and has reached millions of customers worldwide with its unique product and innovative partnerships with the likes of Samsung.

  • Kevin Travers

    Intensely energetic news reporter asking questions covering the collision between Silicon Valley, Wall Street, and everywhere in-between. Studied history at the University of Delaware, learned to write at the Review, and debanked.

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