Sainsbury’s won’t give me the cash on my currency card

11 December 2018

Moneywise helps a reader hoping to recover cash from a pre-paid card

In 2013, I loaded money on to a Euro cash passport with Sainsburys ready for a holiday. When I came back, I had €150 left on my card.

I have not needed to use it until now, but found out that it had expired. So I rang Sainsbury’s Bank and it told me that my €150 had been used up in non-use fees over the past five years.

I knew nothing about these fees, but it responded that it was all in the terms and conditions on the booklet I received when I signed up.

However, who reads these? I had expected that all the money would remain until I used it next – if anyone had mentioned non-usage fees when I took the card out, I wouldn’t have done so.

The company now refuses to return my money, saying that I had notice of the fees in the booklet. Is there anything I can do?


I’m afraid not. You’ve fallen victim to the hidden-fees syndrome. I was a victim myself some time ago when I left a currency card languishing in a drawer for a couple of years.

Many of the cards have these stinking, non-use fees, which means your cash simply disappears.

A Sainsbury’s Bank spokesperson explained: “Pre-paid travel money cards can be very convenient as you can track your spending and add more cash at any time. If you don’t use your cash within 18 months, a small monthly fee will be applied. Our terms and conditions can be found on our website and at the point of purchase. There are a number of options to re-activate the card and avoid incurring the fee such as topping it up, using it at an ATM or arranging a buy-back.”

It’s a lesson for all readers: check the charges if you don’t want to lose the cash on a currency card.

OUTCOME: Failure to check fees costs reader €150



In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I do not agree that there is nothing you can do.It is not clear whether or not you have gone through Sainsburys formal complaints procedure but if not you should do so.When they reject your claim at that stage you should go to the Financial Ombudsman who may well take the view that the fees themselves are not fair and/or they were not sufficiently brought to your attention.The notion that "if it is in the T's &C's there is nothing you can do" is quite wrong and it is disappointing to see a personal finance journalist going along with that advice.Be warned though -dealing with the FOS can be pretty dispiriting.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Read the small print, it's no different to Pay as you Go mobiles where it is cancelled after 180 days if not used. Sainsbury's have to cover their cost to run the card.

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