Travellers with a Thomas Cook prepaid card are being sent emails claiming its range of prepaid cards is about to close and all remaining funds need to be withdrawn. However, many customers are worried it’s a scam.
All Thomas Cook Lyk card, Multi-Currency Cash Passport and Single Currency Cash Passport accounts will close on 6 April 2020, according to an email recently sent to customers.
However, this email is at odds with the card’s official website, which states that the cards can still be used after the Thomas Cook collapse.
Which? investigates whether the email is genuine, what travellers with the Thomas Cook prepaid card need to do, and where you can compare prepaid cards for your next trip.
Are the Thomas Cook prepaid cards closing?
When travel company Thomas Cook went bust, its prepaid travel cards, operated by Wirecard Card Solutions, were expected to be unaffected.
Wirecard has released no official public announcement or advice for customers about the closure on its website.
However, some cardholders have contacted Which? about an email stating that their card is closing, unsure whether it’s real or a scam.
We got in touch with Wirecard, and it confirmed that it would be closing Thomas Cook prepaid card accounts, but didn’t give us any more information.
- Find out more: prepaid travel cards explained
What to do if you have the Thomas Cook prepaid card
We have concerns that the email, as well as looking like a scam, may not even be reaching all affected customers. As a result, their money could be at risk.
Our advice is to spend or withdraw any remaining balance on a Thomas Cook prepaid card as soon as possible, and destroy your cards.
To withdraw your money, you can log into your account online, or contact the Wirecard customer helpline free from the UK on 0800 023 2098. You can also call this number to find out what amount might be in your account.
Your account should automatically close after 6 April 2020.
If you have questions about withdrawing your money, get in touch with Wirecard customer services.
What will happen to money on a closed prepaid card?
Unfortunately, the Financial Services Compensation Scheme does not cover deposits on prepaid cards.
You should never store lots of money on a prepaid card; just what you need to spend in the near future.
Most prepaid providers will deposit customers’ cash in a ring-fenced account held in a bank or building society. So, if the prepaid company goes bust, your money should be protected by the bank holding your cash.
We’re unclear about what will happen to the money for Thomas Cook customers who miss the deadline, but, theoretically, if Wirecard has ring-fenced the cash, you should still be able to get at it.
- Find out more: the Financial Services Compensation Scheme explained
Where to find a new prepaid card
If you have one of the Thomas Cook prepaid cards and need a replacement for your next trip, you should shop around for an alternative.
You can use our prepaid reviews to help in your search. We’ve compared the exchange rate, fees and usage limits of a range of euro, dollar and multi-currency prepaid cards.
Prepaid cards are a safe way to carry cash overseas. But you won’t be able to spend from your main current accounts or borrow money in an emergency.
A credit card with low fees on overseas spending can work out as the best option for purchases made abroad, as long as the bill is paid off in full each month. Check out our picks of the best credit cards for overseas spending to find one for you.
Alternatively, many banks offer debit cards with fee-free overseas spending. We round up your options in our guide to the best debit cards to use abroad.
- Find out more: prepaid travel money cards reviewed