Ryanair is launching a new prepaid card and it will only be those who pay for flights with this card that will avoid additional charges for paying with a credit card.
Despite the OFT cracking down on misleading card surcharges, Ryanair currently charges customers £6 each way on the flight prices just for paying with a credit card. It can do this as it doesn’t charge those who use a prepaid Mastercard.
Once the new Ryanair Cash Passport is introduced at the beginning of October though, it will only be customers who use this card who will avoid the additional card charges.
MoneyHighStreet comments: “This move by Ryanair is clearly sailing close to the wind in terms of flouting the rules as laid down by the OFT.
“These rules state that card surcharges need to be made clear. Maybe you can argue that this is the case. However, making the charge effectively compulsory by only allowing customers with a Ryanair prepaid card avoid them, the fees are not truly voluntary and therefore the fee should surely be included in the headline flight prices.”
Prepaid cards work like pay-as-you-go mobile phones, allowing consumers to load the card with cash which they can then use to withdraw it or make purchases. The do not provide any credit facilities as such – once the balance reaches zero they cannot be used to make further purchases until they have been topped up.
They are being used more and more for such as holidays, helping manage a budget and personal finances as well as for shopping online.
It’s important to note that prepaid cards are not covered by the UK Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) and as Mark Neale, Chief Executive of the FSCS said: “This means that if the provider goes bust then cardholders will lose all the money on their card and will not be eligible for protection.”