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.
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.