Beware of sneaky ‘inactivity’ fees on currency cards


Holidaymakers whose travel plans were dashed need to watch out for sneaky ‘inactivity’ fees on prepaid currency cards

Holidaymakers whose travel plans were dashed this year need to watch out for sneaky ‘inactivity’ fees on prepaid currency cards. 

Such cards often save travellers money as they offer better exchange rates and lower transaction fees than ordinary debit and credit cards. 

But the sting is the inactivity fee – where charges for lack of use are deducted from credit remaining on the card. These are typically £2 a month and kick in after 12 months. 

People who holiday overseas every year rarely face paying the penalty. But since the coronavirus pandemic caused many people to abandon going abroad this year, more people are likely to be caught out. 

Sneaky: The sting is the inactivity fee – where charges for lack of use are deducted from credit remaining on the card

And unless they are on top of communications from their providers, they could well be paying them without knowing. 

Financial expert Andrew Hagger, of consumer research company MoneyComms, says: ‘Prepaid currency cards are great for regular travellers. But consumers may not be aware that most will charge a monthly inactivity or dormancy fee. 

‘The charges soon eat into any leftover balances, especially if Covid-19 has scuppered your holiday plans until perhaps summer next year.’ 

Currency cards provided by Caxton FX, Post Office Money, ICE and Travelex apply these fees. 

WeSwap only introduced an inactivity fee from the end of June. However, it includes any time that a card was idle prior to that date in the 12-month countdown. 

This means customers who haven’t used a WeSwap card in the past year are now already paying inactivity fees. Only activity on an account will end inactivity fees. 

This could involve spending on the card, making a withdrawal from a cash machine or loading it with money. 

Hagger says: ‘I would recommend calling your card provider to check your balance and ask if and when it will start charging.’ 



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