Wirecard, Curve Aim at SMEs with Smart Card, Mobile Combo
What if SMEs had one smart card—and a companion mobile app—to rule them all? That’s the premise behind London-based startup Curve, which is teaming up with Wirecard AG to target SMEs such as freelancers and micro-business owners. Curve enables users to load multiple payment cards onto one physical smart card equipped with chip-and-PIN, mag stripe and NFC technology.
The Curve card functions as a prepaid MasterCard, which acts as a conduit for payment from the chosen card. A companion mobile app provides account management, transaction history and other functions. Germany-based Wirecard is the issuer of the Curve prepaid card and is providing the payment technology behind the card and app.
Other startups have offered similar smart cards, including a pair of San Francisco companies; Coin (which recently sold its wearables business to Fitbit) and Stratos Inc. But Curve—which in April took second place in a startup pitch competition at Money20/20 Europe—is seeking to differentiate its product by marketing it to small businesses out of the gate. The current slate of retail banking apps often aren’t up to the task of managing the complex personal and business needs of such users, which can include managing payments and multiple cash flows, the companies said.
“We have designed Curve to help ambitious business users simplify their finances, without asking them to depart too far from familiar card payments,” noted Curve CEO Shachar Bialick, Curve users who travel for business benefit from a foreign exchange rate of 1 percent over MasterCard’s wholesale rate and support for 15 different currencies.
In other Wirecard news, the company recently announced its first-quarter 2016 financial results, reporting revenue of €210.5 million (US$235.7 million), a 32 percent increase over the previous year. The volume of transactions processed through Wirecard’s platform jumped by 35 percent for the quarter, to €12.8 billion (US$14.3 billion), from €9.5 billion (US$10.6 billion) in Q1 2015.