Ryanair being ripped off on Credit Card Charges

I have come to the conclusion that  Ryanair are being ripped off on the credit cards charges they pay to the banks. How? – well compare these online purchases:

on Ryanair.com: The credit cards charges on a €5  customer purchase is €10.00.  This charge is passed on to the customer. This translates to a rate of 200%.

on PuddleDucks.ie: The credit cards charges on a €5  customer purchase is €0.11 (that’s 11 cents). This is not passed on to the customer. This translates to a rate of 2.2%.


I first thought that Ryanair could have been profiteering or trying to screw extra money from the customer. But I checked online and it appears that it’s not the case! Ryanair state the following in the FAQ on their website.

To defray the substantial administration costs we incur when processing credit and debit cards or ELV direct debits a handling fee applies to each passenger per flight segment.

So if we are to take Ryanair at their word, then the logical conclusion is that Ryanair are paying exorbitant rates to the banks for processing credit cards on their website. Almost 100 times more than little PuddleDucks are paying.

If I were them, I would begin a serious renegotiation with their bank or credit card processor. It looks like they are being ripped off royally. By renegotiating the charges down to the 2.2% that PuddleDucks are being charged, they could dramatically reduce the bottom line cost of their flights to their customers.

As an example, I booked a return flight from Cork to Dublin last week. I was charged €5 for the flight and €10 for the luxury of using a credit card. If Ryanair managed to renegotiate their charges to get a similar deal as PuddleDucks, the cost of the flight would be €5.11 rather than €15.

By the way, if Ryanair don’t manage to successfully renegotiate their charges, I have heard about two tips that can help the customer avoid them. I haven’t tried them out but hopefully they should work.

1. Purchase a Gift Voucher from the Ryanair site. This does not attract credit card charges (why not?). Then use the voucher to book your flight. Slight drawback – the minimum denomination of the voucher is €25 and as expected, Ryanair will not refund or give change for any unused funds..

2. Buy an EntroPay card (select GBP as the currency) and use this when paying for flights on the Ryanair website. It is seen as a Visa Electron card which does not attract credit card charges. You pay around 5% commission for the use of the card – a lot less than the charges imposed by Ryanair. The process is described in detail on the Bargains for Irish Consumers blog here.

Thanks to John Peavoy and Anthony Creswell for the above tips (via Twitter of course).


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  2. bargainsireland said

    Thanks for the pingback.

    I can guarantee that Ryanair don’t pay the banks anywhere close to what they charge the consumer. My guess would be that they pay 1.5-2%.

    “administration costs” is a very vague term. The reason that they impose a credit card charge is so that they can advertise offers like ‘free flights’ (or €5 or €10 or €15 etc..) whereas if they were to add it to the taxes and fees then they couldn’t advertise the flights as being free.

    Of course, in order for the flights to be considered free they must actually offer free flights with at least method of payment hence free flights with Visa Electron

    Be in no doubt that Visa are paying Ryanair for the privilege to be the free method of payment as it promotes and encourages use of their visa electron card (which is in Visa’s interest as all electron transactions are handled digitally and thus allow visa to carry out transactions much more cost effectively)

  3. Vanessa said

    What drives me bonkers about the Ryanair c/c charges is that they charge you per segment… so if I book a return flight, they charge me another €5/£4.75 for the return flight, even though there will only be one financial transaction!! Surely the “Payment Processing Fee” should only be charged once per booking, as it’s only one charge on your credit card.

    Oh well. I went and got a Visa Electron card from my bank, so I have no credit card fees to pay.

  4. Ivan said

    “So if we are to take Ryanair at their word”.

    Ah, it took me a while to stop laughing at that one :o)

  5. Mike said

    €10/£10 as a transaction fee for two legs of a journey (i.e. a return flight) is clearly a rip off.

    Most credit card companies offer some kind of travel based ‘inconvienience insurance’ too, and further protection under the UK consumer credit act. If you want this kind of insurance / protection from your card issuer then you must pay Ryanair for the privilege. Debit cards such as VISA Debit (formally VISA Delta) and VISA Electron cards have lesser protection if things go awry.

  6. Mike said

    Ryanair smallprint states…

    “The flight you have booked is not ATOL protected, even if you book accommodation from another company via a link on our website. If you made payment via credit card it can provide financial protection: Please check with your credit card provider for details. If you do not pay for your flight by credit card you may wish to purchase our scheduled airline failure insurance. CLICK HERE”

    Clicking here tells you that if you have already purchased Rynair’s travel insurance policy, you can pay the extra to upgrate it to Gold in order to offer scheduled airline failure insurance; which is kind of protection that comes free with most credit cards.

  7. @bargainsireland – I agree with you – I know Ryanair don’t pay the banks anything like the fee they charge the customer. It is clearly a way to get extra income for what they can advertise as cheap fares. The funny thing is that I would be happy in most cases to pay what I am paying for the fare and the costs – what gets me is the dishonesty.

    @Vanessa – Yes that cost per segment and indeed per passenger is so much of a rip off that it defies belief that the authorities still allow it.

    @Ivan – Yes my tongue was so firmly in my cheek when I wrote that line – it’s still hurting.

    @Mike – Good points on the Credit Card protection – I hadn’t thought of that. I wonder what protection you get if you purchase the flight with a Ryanair gift voucher.

  8. John said

    Hi everyone.Im just wondering at the new charges for online check in being introduced on Ryan Air.Will people who book their flights online using visa electron be exempt from these charges,or will they have to pay this profit tax to Ryan Air.Seems like a crazy move by Michael O Leary to make as it makes other ailines prices more attractive.For the first time ever im getting cheaper flights from other airlines.Got flights to bulgaria return for 105 euros, better than Ryanair.from Aerlingus.So hopefully some on can tell me is it the beginning of the end of free services of visa electon at Ryanair……..John

  9. Paula said

    Yet another sting in the tail – if you want to add even a single bag or baby equipment to your booking after you have booked, Ryanair will charge the credit card fee again per person. With a family of five this is an extra 25 euro per sector in credit card fees for a 10 euro carseat charge!!!!.

  10. CHRIS said

    my friend went to the ryanair desk and paid cash for a flight.
    then they charged her the credit card fee
    she refused to pay saying she was not using a credit card, but cash
    they insisted .. said it was administration charges.
    she refused and said they were not administering anything
    they then said …. pay up or no flight
    good company hey?

  11. tom houlihan said

    The credit card charge by Ryanair is a a revenue gathering exercise for them.If they took Maestro/Lazer/Debit card they would only be charged a transaction fee by their bank approx 15c per debit..not per flight…So if I buy a flight for say
    e40….Ryanair will charge me E5 for Cr Crd…yet they will be charged say 2/2.5% by thier Cr card co…say E1…so a ‘profit’ of E4 for Ryan air….
    Now if I could pay by debit card the cost to Ryanair would be 15c…so a drop in income for them of E4.85……. Lazer/debit cards don’t attract a % charge…only a processing fee by the bank approx 15c..
    Michael O’Leary isn’t stupid!!!


  12. John M said

    Have seen so many of these blogs and have found the definitive answer to the Ryanair conundrum – Move to Cork. See the piece below for details.
    (LINK to forward: http://www.bishopstowncu.ie/news.asp?ID=59)

    Goodbye to Ryanair Booking Fees
    January 2010

    Goodbye to Ryanair booking fees with Bishopstown Credit Union’s DEBIT card

    Bishopstown Credit Union is delighted to announce that their DEBIT card can be used to book flights on http://www.ryanair.com without incurring a booking fee. This saves our members €5 per person per flight. This is a substantial saving for our members, many of whom have already availed of the agreement which Ryanair and MasterCard have recently entered into.

    To avail of this you must book the flight with your Bishopstown Credit Union DEBIT card. Proceed as normal with your booking and select Pre-paid MasterCard as the payment option from the drop-down menu. Say goodbye to booking fees and say hello to a new way of saving money with Bishopstown Credit Union. Sign up today and fly away tomorrow, for less!

    Hope that solves the topic. I know it has for me!!

  13. ritamoreno said

    Ryanair will charge the credit card fee again per person. With a family of five this is an extra 25 euro per sector in credit card fees for a 10 euro carseat charge!!!!.

    0% apr credit card

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