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Thursday, January 21, 2010

No more free VISA Electron on Ryanair purchases

A Ryanair Boeing 737-800 on take-offImage via Wikipedia

Ryanair has done it again. In its endless efforts to make budget conscious travellers pay additional fees on top of the flight charge, they have now decided to end its free use of VISA Electron. This move from Ryanair seems to coincide with the fact that more and more travellers opt for an Electron card to avoid the hefty credit card charges. As the additional fees are what Ryanair makes its money on, it was an inevitable move from the Scrooge-like Mr O’Leary.

Even if the VISA Electron wasn’t widely used and could not be obtained in several countries, there were ways for the traveller to use Internet based VISA Electron cards, such as Entropay. As this knowledge spread on the Internet and Ryanair saw the increase of payments with the Electron card, they seemed to have decided to make its move. As they need to have a free option, they quickly established a relationship with MasterCard and are now offering passengers free credit card charges if the use MasterCard’s prepaid credit card. However, the prepaid card itself is not free of charges so in effect, Ryanair has now managed to make all its passengers pay some sort of fee for paying for its flights.

It is very hard to know exactly how much these prepaid MasterCard actually costs as there are different cars and various ways to pay for using them. The most common methods are a card issue fee, a type of loading charge, cash machine withdrawal charges and monthly fees. For example, Ryanair has introduced its own prepaid MasterCard in the UK and it has a £15.89 annual fee and in addition to this, it costs 50p per purchase.

The best way to minimize the fees are to find sites where you can get a free prepaid card and where the transaction charges are low. For example, This is Money have partnered up with FairFX and through This is Money’s webpage you can order your free prepaid card. It is free to load up if you use a debit card or bank transfer, has no monthly or annual fee and has free Euro and Dollar purchases. It charges a 1.5% fee on sterling transactions. More of these sites might be available to the customers.

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