/ Travel & Leisure

Ryanair says use our card or pay up. We say no thanks

Tail of a Ryanair airplane

As we work on a hat trick of successes to get rid of surcharges, Ryanair delivers the third iteration of its free payment method – a Ryanair Cash Passport. Get one, or pay £6 per person extra – sound like a good deal?

Ryanair always justifies its admin fee (or surcharge) for paying by credit or debit card because it has a free alternative to avoid the £6 per person charge.

First came the Electron card. Ah yes, let me just call my teenage niece to borrow hers as I haven’t been offered an Electron card in the last decade.

Pre-paid MasterCards

Then came the standard pre-paid MasterCard. I now understand the pros and cons of owning a pre-paid card but I confess I don’t have one, nor would I invest in one just to purchase flights.

So with just 25% of its customers using a pre-paid card to purchase Ryanair flights, they’ve taken it one step further by producing their own branded version – the Ryanair Cash Passport.

There’s a £6 charge for it – but don’t worry, you get a £6 voucher to spend with Ryanair in return. Having checked their in-flight menu, that gets me a hotdog and a bottle of water. That’s a big enough reward – no?

So if you want to avoid a fee for the privilege of paying, you’ll need a Ryanair Cash Passport. Ryanair brands it as ‘a convenient and secure way to carry money abroad, make purchases and make ATM withdrawals’.

But be warned, from April 2012 you’ll be charged 50p per non-Ryanair transactions (and a £2 to withdraw money at an ATM).

Amend the Payment Services Regulations

So will I be investing? No thank you. I’m hanging on to my cards and waiting for the government to ban debit card surcharges and cap the charge applicable to credit card surcharges.

We know the public agrees and the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has backed our campaign. We now have to wait patiently for action.

There are two ways Ryanair could be challenged about this in the near future – through price transparency issues which the OFT could challenge. There’s a legal process which needs to take place before the OFT can take enforcement action so watch this space.

And then of course there’s the government’s Mark Hoban who could change the Payment Services Regulation to ban debit card surcharges. This would result in fewer consumers being cornered into needing a company’s own payment method when they could use their debit card for free!

Do you feel forced into purchasing a Ryanair Cash Passport to avoid a payment surcharge or will you be waiting for the government to take action? I know where I stand.

Andrew says:
10 September 2012

Thanks John I will try again nexttime, had to use debit card this time

Michelle says:
3 November 2012

And now to top it all off, we’ve been notified that we won’t be able to save £6 card charge any more even if we use Cash Passport. BUT …… wait for it …..I CANNOT just close my account and withdraw the money that is still on the card. However I claim the money back – it will cost me. Anybody know how I can get my money out and close the card down without incurring further costs? Please help – I HATE this company. Have sent them message upon message but no reply.

Simon says:
4 November 2012

I’m in the same situation. I only got the card to avoid the admin charges. I have £88 still on the card, but will get charged using it for any transactions I make. Ryan Air say that if you spend £2,000 on your Cash Passport you’ll earn one return flight – BUT you have to spend that £2,000 in one calendar quarter, how many people are likely to spend £2000 in 3 months?

Hello Michelle and Simon, this sounds interesting (but also very annoying). Do you know when the change came about?

Simon says:
4 November 2012

This was the email I received yesterday:

Dear Cardholder,
Firstly we would like to thank you for purchasing a Ryanair Cash Passport card. We have seen thousands of our cardholders benefit from the offer of avoiding the admin fee charge on Ryanair.com since the launch of the card on 1st October 2011. We thank you for your continued support.
It is with regret that we write to inform you that, as a result of decisions by the UK Office of Fair Trading, Ryanair Cash Passport card users will no longer benefit from avoiding the £6 admin fee for transactions made on Ryanair.com from 1st December 2012. While we are disappointed at this development, Ryanair is obliged to honour the decisions of the UK Office of Fair Trading.
We are committed to providing you, the cardholder, with further updates on card promotions and intend on notifying you shortly on our planned changes in the card offering.

Hello Simon, if you’re able, would you be able to forward this email to us at conversation.comments@which.co.uk Thanks, Patrick.

Michelle says:
4 November 2012

Patrick, it’s effective from 1st December 2012.

travel_lite says:
5 November 2012

I am now,so pleased that Ryanair made the application so arduous Yippeee…not burdened with their odious card! (but feel sorry for those who are).

Simon says:
5 November 2012

Patrick – I’ve sent you a copy of the email as requested.

Sorry Simon, wrong email address. It’s conversation.comments@Which.co.uk Thanks!

Chris Smith says:
14 November 2012

I am a very regular Ryanair traveller. Feel free to feel sorry for me. I have purchased over 100 flights with my cash passport for myself and friends. Massive savings for me and then they blame the OFT. Well done OFT say I. The god thing is all debit cards should in future attract low or nil charges.

I also decided to get a RYanair credit card as it promised free flights if my spend levels were high enough, which they have been. Good old Ryanair sent me a voucher for free flights. I have tried to use this 4 times now without success. When I call them to get a flight they say it is available but their underlying charges for tax and using my card!!!! Were always more than the advertised cost of the flight. Yes no kidding the free flight was more expensive than the full price. Only could Ryanair come up with these freebies.

I’ve sent them an email informing them my credit card in now shredded and in the bin, and told them why. I await their response with baited breath.

Travel_lite says:
14 November 2012

I think I’d not be taxing my respiratory system awaiting a response Chris.

Ah, bated breath. No chewing on worms then? 🙂

I’m sure Simon, Michelle and others were ‘chewing on worms’ waiting to see what we did with their information. Well we published a new Conversation and news story. Join the latest debate here: https://conversation.which.co.uk/money/ryanair-cash-passport-admin-booking-fee-flight-prepaid-card-oft/

‘More than 50,000 people supported our campaign to end rip off surcharges. We want businesses to be transparent and make costs clear to consumers. Companies should show surcharges clearly in the headline price so that people can make an easy comparison and this charge should be a genuine reflection of the cost of processing a payment.

‘Airlines should not use the government’s ban on excessive surcharges as an excuse to push up prices. When the new rules come into effect, we want to see a tough enforcement regime in place to make sure firms are held to account if they flout the ban.’

Kris says:
5 December 2012

Back to normal for some routes from Poland to Scandinavia. No administration fee in January and February. You can buy the ticket for 20p using any debit card. example: WMI-Rygge 28 Jan total cost 1 PLN this is about 20p.

Mike says:
30 January 2013

Beware – Ryanair passport is just another one of their cons.
They charge you £2.50 if you don’t use it over a 6 month period.
They charge you 50 pence for each transaction in UK
They also charge your UK transactions at an exchange rate of 1.
You eventually get this back, but it does prevent you from making a transaction that leaves nothing in the passport.
So one way or another they are going to con you out of money.
Don’t get a card and dont fly by Ryanair as they just treat you like cattle.

john says:
30 January 2013

were these charges not already divulged at the point of application – they were when i signed up !

anyway as they card no longer avoids the booking charge – i cant see many people signing up anymore

Yippee says:
2 February 2013

It feels great that ryanair are charging admin fees for every single flight. They must be really chuffed that theres no way round the admin fee. The OFT have done a great job (sarcastic tone) I think they should go teach barcelona how to play football. Mayb they’ll put them into administration once they lose every game after their fantastic coaching advice. Is the OFT really this useless…. muppets

Rob Posted 24 April 2012 at 8:03 pm that you can use the number 01733 457 816 if you are calling from a mobile. He got it from http://www.saynoto0870.com. However, I tried it and the first thing you hear when connected is ‘this number is for reverse charged or collect calls’. I put the phone down in case that means I will be charged an exhorbitant amount for the call. This card is a right royal pain in the a**e and I am cancelling mine. The problem is how to do it with the least penalty! Odious Ryanair.