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article imageRyanair to charge its customers for using Visa Electron cards

By Maciej Lewandowski     Dec 7, 2009 in Travel
Irish budget airline announced that from Jan. 1, 2010 it will be charging customers paying online for the tickets by Visa Electron debit cards.
In the statement announcing changes to card policies, Ryanair states that a fee charged for using Visa Electron will be €5 (£5), while from Dec. 1, 2009 there will be no fee for the MasterCard Prepaid cards users.
However, the statement does not clearly explain that the €5 (£5) fee for using Visa Electron is charged per person, not per transaction, even if the tickets are booked and paid for together on the same card. It means an extra €40 (£40) on the travel bill of a four-person group.
The same way Ryanair already charges its customers paying by other debit or credit card, while most of the other airlines charge flat €5 (£5) fee per transaction.
According to many commentators, the introduction of the new free payment is dictated by the requirements of the advertising rules. Airlines must include all unavoidable charges in the ticket price they advertise, so they need to maintain a fee-free booking option. As the Irishtimes explains:
By keeping credit card charges optional – regardless of how hard it is to find a fee-free way – they keep advertised fares lower than they would otherwise be.
However, despite the fact that Ryanair does not charge the MasterCard Prepaid cards users, it doesn't mean they don't pay for using them. As opposed to the normal debit or credit card, various fees are applied to the prepaid cards. In some cases the fees can be significantly higher than the extra €40 (£40).
The research carried out by the Guardian shows that the best (which means the cheapest) solutions are the CaxtonFX Global Card (only £1.50 per transaction) and the Ice Travellers card (2% fee for loading money onto the card).
Ryanair has its own prepaid MasterCard in Ireland (but not in the UK) and it charges an annual fee of €85 plus 75c on each transaction. According to the Irishtimes, this card was no longer being offered.
To celebrate its new free payment method Ryanair released 250,000 Christmas seats for just €5 each for travel on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays in late December, the statement reads.
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