Amex blocks Curve as the fintech startup vows to fight “anti-competitive” decision

TechCrunch | 1/30/2019 | Staff
townskey13 (Posted by) Level 3
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Well, that was short-lived: Just 36 hours after Curve, the London fintech that lets you consolidate all of your bank cards into a single Curve card, re-instated support for Amex, the feature has once again been unceremoniously blocked by American Express. This time, however, the context feels very different from 2016 when the startup was barely off the ground, with Curve telling customers in an email this morning that it intends to “fight Amex’s decision with our full might”.

Going up against the deep pockets and dominant market position of American Express will be a “David and Goliath” battle, although, unlike two years ago, Curve is now backed by an array of investors that includes Connect Ventures and Santander. Arguably, the startup will have U.K. regulators on its side, too, although it is hard to predict with certainly if the U.K. regulator will use its full teeth in a situation like this and how it interpret existing U.K. and EU regulations.

Curve - Position - Email - Customers - Company

Curve’s position, however, is clear: In the same email to customers, the company has called the move “anti-competitive” and says the move is “entirely disproportionate and discriminatory” to Curve. “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,” write the startup.

However, American Express disputes this, telling TechCrunch it doesn’t have regulatory obligations to work “with Curve or any individual merchants”.

Credit - Card - Giant - Journalists - Merchant

Meanwhile, the credit card giant has been busy briefing journalists that it ended its merchant contract with Curve for business reasons, following what looked like a successful beta test with a small number of joint customers. Perhaps the trial was too successful, with American Express telling me Curve customers were using Amex added to Curve in ways that were different to its regular customers,...
(Excerpt) Read more at: TechCrunch
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