U.K.-based payments consolidation startup Curve has officially opened its first North American office in Brooklyn, N.Y., aiming to extend its products to a select group of U.S. customers by the end of this year.
Curve plans to invest $17 million in research and development in the next decade. Its product offering is a physical and digital card that consolidates multiple bank accounts and cards into one payment vehicle, supported by Mastercard. The startup plans to launch its offering for all U.S. consumers in 2021.
“Curve’s all-in-one value proposition, ease of use and obsession with customer experience are exactly what the U.S. market needs,” said Amanda Orson, Curve’s head of North American operations, in a statement.
According to Orson, Curve’s objective is not to compete with U.S.-based digital banking startups, but to disrupt the payments market, making it easier for consumers to consolidate several payments methods in one unified physical and digital interface.
“We don’t think your bank is doing a bad job — we want to work with them,” Orson said.
Whether the growth of cards in consumer wallets will result in an uptake for Curve’s offering is yet to be seen.
Curve sees entrance into the U.S. market as an opportunity to partner with regional and community banks on contactless payments, the company said.
“There’s a minority of people that have a contactless payment card; [user adoption] takes a long time for community banks, and Curve is uniquely positioned to help them,” Orson said.
While she confirmed that Curve is currently speaking to several U.S. banks about partnerships, she did not say which.
The 4-year-old European startup has seen significant growth in the last year, raising more than $74 million, including a $55 million Series B led by Gauss Ventures in July. As of December 2019, Curve’s European customers could connect the Curve card and app to Google Pay and Samsung Pay. And as of January 2020, Apple Pay users could connect their accounts to Curve as a payment method. Late last year, the company also launched Curve Send, a tool that allows European customers to send and receive money from their Curve accounts across 25 currencies without currency–conversion fees.
The U.K. company is banking on the appetite among U.S. consumers for easy payment solutions, but it will be a challenge to unseat incumbent providers like Zelle and Venmo. In the fourth quarter of 2019, Zelle reported $56 billion sent via 230 billion transactions
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