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