Online foreign exchange provider FairFX accused Ryanair of profiteering from prepaid currency cards this week, and said rates charged by some agents were on a par with the airline.
The firm picked out Thomas Cook and Co-operative Travel agents as “some of the worst offenders”.
However, Thomas Cook rejected the charge, arguing FairFX based its claims on an exchange rate few customers pay.
FairFX claimed some travel agents and airlines “are profiting excessively by encouraging customers to take out a prepaid card [and] cashing in by offering poor exchange rates”. FairFX chief executive Ian Strafford-Taylor said: “Some reputable brands are charging well over the odds for what should be a way of saving money.”
The company compared its 1.4% foreign exchange card fee and the similar charge of rival Caxton with Thomas Cook and Co-op Cash Passport rates of 5.75%.
However, Thomas Cook pointed out the 5.75% rate was to withdraw euros or dollars using a card loaded with sterling.
A Cook spokeswoman said: “We wouldn’t load someone’s card with sterling if they were going to Europe.
“We’d give them euros and they would pay the exchange rate on the day of purchasing the card. It is inaccurate to say we charge 5.75%.”
A FairFX spokesman said: “The comparison is for cards loaded with sterling because the sterling rate is fixed. The sterling-euro exchange rate will vary.”
Ryanair is advertising a 2.5% rate on prepaid cards, before the rate reverts to 5.75% next month.
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