Staff at budget airline FlyBe has told a Which? member that its ‘free payment’ method may eventually not exist.
FlyBe currently allows customers to dodge its high transaction fees if they pay by Visa Electron. However, one Which? member took out a Travelex Visa Electron card, only to find he was unable to make a payment.
FlyBe technical support told him the problem may have arisen because ‘existing (Electron) cards are been (sic) reclassified by online systems to be now recognised as Visa Debit cards instead.’ FlyBe technical support added that ‘it is possible that all banks associated with Visa Electron appear to be redefining to Visa Debit, so eventually I do not think Electron cards will exist.’
Excessive card charges imposed by FlyBe
FlyBe currently charges a ‘transaction fee’ of £4.50 per person per one way journey if you pay by debit card – meaning that if you book a return flight for a family of four you could end up paying £36 in fees. Which? estimates the real cost of processing a debit card transaction should be no more than 20p.
FlyBe told Which?: ‘The specific comments made were not approved by FlyBe. As a result all customer communications have been changed with immediate effect.’ It added that ‘it is evident that the (Electron) market is reducing’ and said it was ‘planning change.’
FlyBe isn’t alone in imposing high surcharges. Which? has submitted a supercomplaint to the Office of Fair Trading aiming to put a stop to excessive budget airline card surcharges – for more detail, see our unfair card fees campaign page.
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