Ryanair prepaid card customers face 'hefty' fees
Published 29/09/2011 | 12:06
Ryanair customers who try to avoid the budget airline's booking fees by using its new card could be charged hefty fees unless they use it every month.
The user guide for the Ryanair Cash Passport reveals that after six months, anyone who does not use the card will be charged £2.50 (€2.87) a month for inactivity, while a ten pound charge will be levied every time the card goes into negative territory because of the inactivity fee.
Customers will also be charged £2 (€2.30) for withdrawing money from cash machines, and £4 (€4.60) if they try to get cash out over the counter.
From November 1, the new prepaid card the only way to avoid a £6 (€6.90) each way charge per person per flight when booking with Ryanair. Previously, customers could use any prepaid Mastercard to avoid the charges.
Unlike a debit card, a prepaid card has to be loaded with money in advance before being used to pay for things and is estimated to be held by only 5pc of the population.
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) in the UK has proposed that charges for paying by debit card should be banned, prior to Ryanair introducing the new card.
This followed a super complaint from Which?, lodged with the OFT in March. The watchdog claimed that the actual cost to the retailer for processing card transactions was no more than 20p (23 cents) for debit cards and no more than 2pc for credit cards.
Stephen Heath, CEO of rival prepaid card company FairFX.com, said that the Ryanair charges were "some of the most expensive on this market".
"Unlike most MasterCard Prepaid products the Ryanair Cash Passport card is free to purchase, free to top-up and free to use on Ryanair.com, making it one of the most competitive MasterCard Prepaid products available." a Ryanair spokesman said.
"However, the Ryanair Cash Passport will also provide passengers with the additional benefit of avoiding Ryanair's £6 (€6.90) per passenger per flight administration charge."