Avoid the credit card charge when booking with Ryanair

Ryanair have a free flights offer running at the moment which expires today (21st November). Of course they whack on a credit card charge of €5 per journey when booking with a standard credit card.

There is an exception however. If you book with a Visa Electron they will waive the credit card booking charge, which means that you will be paying €0.01 per flight including all charges.

I rang around a few of the Irish banks (AIB, BOI, Halifax, Permanent TSB) and none of the banks offer a visa electron card. I was determined to see if I could get my hands on an electron because I wanted to book in bulk a series of about 30 flights. 15 return trips, 30 x €5 = €150. Which could come in handy with Christmas coming up.

A bit of research and a few emails to some helpful people and I found EntroPay who provide virtual visa credit cards but crucially they are recognised as Visa Electron cards by Ryanair.

An Entropay Virtual Credit Card

  1. Sign up for EntroPay but make sure that your chosen account currency is GBP (This is because your card will not be recognised as a Visa Electron if you choose EUR). Postal code is required so type in EIRE or some random postal code.
  2. Use your regular credit card to fund the account.
  3. Activate the account using the activation email that they send you.
  4. You will need to load at least €10 on to the account from your existing credit card, they also take a 4.95% commision, so it will cost €10.50.

That’s it (Well almost, see appendum below), you should be able to log on and get your new visa electron credit card details. Make sure that you choose Visa Electron when booking your flights with Ryanair and you will only pay €0.01 for your flight.

Appendum: EntroPay are now asking for you to email them identification once you have registered, this is because Sterling (GBP) is not the currency of Ireland. if you have any questions then the best thing to do is drop the EntroPay guys an email they are very nice and they responded to all my questions very quickly.

Here is what a one cent flight booking confirmation looks like!

Here is what a one cent flight booking confirmation looks like!


112 responses to “Avoid the credit card charge when booking with Ryanair

  1. If this works I know a lot of people who’ll want to buy you a pint !

  2. bargainsireland

    It works but I’m more of a whiskey drinker actually! :p

  3. Tight Cavan Man

    Thanks for this. You are a star.

  4. Hi

    thanks very much for the info, couple of questions for you, hope you can answer them

    1 why choose GBP and not EUR, is it because in Ireland Visa dones’t have the Electron card?

    2 In the mail about Uk address what did you say as the reaon was? did you explain it was for Ryanair bookings.

    Thanks for the hint.

  5. bargainsireland

    Hi Paul,

    1. I have not tried it but I have been informed that if you choose EUR as your currency then the card will be recognised as a standard Visa and not a Visa Electron.

    2. No, they asked me for a scan of my passport and a scan of my credit card with the digits blocked. I emailed it to them and they activated my account 20 minutes later.

  6. Pingback: Bypass the Ryanair Credit Card Charge | Irish Internet Entrepreneur - Smemon

  7. Pingback: How to book a Ryanair flight without paying credit card charges | le craic

  8. Well done, great work and even better for sharing!

  9. Thanks just saved me €40 on CC charges. I think Iwill need to send you that bottle of whiskey 🙂

  10. I like this idea,BUT, the exchange rate! end of trading yesterday “The euro reached 87.80 pence sterling earlier today,” As we’re talking about very small savings on each flight, a disadvantageous exchange could easily eat up savings, and have always found the UK banking institutions very good at gouging on ex. rates.

  11. bargainsireland

    Doh: I don’t understand your point?

    If you’re paying €0.01 for a flight then how are you going to get hit by the exchange rate?

  12. Anyone know what to enter when using the card to pay for aer lingus flights:

    Cardholder First Name *
    Cardholder Family Name *

  13. Excellent descriptive article…could have saved myself €18+ last week on Ryanair tickets…but saved that to-day using the card….I wonder how much longer Ryanair will not charge for the use of this card though??

  14. bargainsireland

    Cathal — Thanks! I don’t know the answer to your question but I do know that Ryanair can’t advertise ‘Free Flights’ unless it is possible to book a flight without paying a credit card charge. I would expect Ryanair to continue offering at least one card that doesn’t incur a booking fee.

    I also know that Visa have entered into an arrangement with Ryanair to encourage use of the Elecron card. I presume that Ryanair get a small kickback from Visa on each flight booked with an Electron.

  15. Taken from the ryanair website:

    Visa Electron – As a special offer to Visa Electron card holders, Ryanair, for a limited period only, will not apply a Debit Card charge

    Limited time only looks like it could be pulled at any time

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  17. Still, EntroPay could be a nice alternative to 3V for online transactions. 3V charge €2.50 – €5.00 for every cash transfer, which encourages bulk lodgements, and each lodgement creates a new card number, so eventually you end up with lots of “cards” with a few quid on each.

  18. There is another way around the credit card charges, and depending on the cost of your flights, could save you a bit of money.

    I recently booked return flights to paris for £20.02. Credit card charges on top of this doubled the price.

    However, if you pay in Ryanair Gift vouchers, there is no charge.

    And there is no charge to buy these e-vouchers by credit / debit card! The only problem is they only do them in £25 multiples, and you do not get any change from them if you use less. Altogether , I ended up saving £15 , by paying for a £20 flight with 1 voucher, and not credit card.

    Definietly worth a look into!

  19. thanks, If I get the virtual card in GBP and pay for tickets in Euros on Ryanair, I guess Visa converts that into GBP before deducting from my account.

  20. Does Entropay work with aer lingus?

  21. thanks for the tip and keep up the good work!

  22. signed up 4 this today, gr8 job and easy.
    A note on the Gift Vouchers also, did this at the weekend, works perfectly, only thing is that the minimum is £25 or €25, so if your flights are very low, u could be spending a lot more, than you would with the card above. Also they say they will email you the voucher in 24 hours, I just copied the voucher number and pasted it into the box when booking. I waited for apporx 10 mins, before making the booking after the purchase of the vouchers. Hope it lasts!!!

  23. Note that the voucher is non-transferable, as the named recipient must be the lead passenger.

    Also, the maximum voucher value is € 50, and a maximum of 4 vouchers can be used to book a flight, so if the total flight cost is over € 200, you have to pay the balance by credit card, defeating the whole purpose of the exercise.
    If booking for more than 1 person at a time, then its hard to keep the total below this limit.

  24. Pingback: Ryanair being ripped off on Credit Card Charges « PuddleDucks Blog

  25. Is there a 4.95% ‘load fee’ every time you want to add money to your EntroPay account? Or just the first one?

  26. I had assumed a Ryanair credit card would be exempt from the charge, but I see I am wrong. But with your suggestion, do we still have to pay a €30 annual fee to entropay ? At least with my tesco visa I get “rewarded” by Tesco for using the card. Thanks

  27. “Use your regular credit card to fund the account.”

    question: i dont have a credit card proper, i.e. i only have a 3V card for cc transactions – is there an alternative to providing cc details to fund the account!

    PS: thanks a mil for highlighting this

  28. cancel that query, they accept Laser/ Maestro – bingo!

  29. bargainsireland

    Neel — Yes

    Eoin Campbell — Thanks for the info, you could also simply book separately for each person.

    Eoin — Yes, there is a 4.95% ‘load fee’ every time you add money to your entropay account. It is 3.95% if you top up via bank transfer

    Richard — No, there is no annual fee.

    father roneo sensini — Never knew they accepted Laser, that’s a win! They also accept bank transfers.

  30. Looks like Ryanair wins. no matter what you do you still have extra charges with load fees and no refund on using ryanair gift vouchers. It all seems too much like hard work.

  31. sorry i meant to say that if you dont use up the all of the gift voucher amount it is not refunded. That does not seem fair.

  32. hi mate

    I put my name down as the cardholder by mistake instead of ‘ENTROPAY’. The transaction went through and the money was debited form my card. Do you think its ok?

  33. bargainsireland

    Gary — If you get a confirmation from Ryanair then everything is ok!

  34. I presume if you do this, you lose the ability to charge back the transaction if things go pear-shaped with your flight? That freedom is a key feature of credit card use IMO…

  35. iv been tryin to register for entropay, it keeps sayin system error, i put my dublin address and eire as post code, is that how i do it, i need to book b4 sunday night, if i can use my laser to top up card can i buy flights when i register and load card or do i have to wait for card and pin to b delivered to my home address? god this is such hard work 😦

  36. ok in the end i went and got the ryanair gift card, the flights are 100 euro so two vouchers is handy and i dont waste anything, but upon signing up for entropay first i came by loads of “system errors” but its finally gone thru, im stuck now on stage 3 adding a card, i decided to add my 3v details cuz i cudnt see anything for bank transfer or laser (my laser doesnt have the cvv code like) but yeah like i said, im stuck, there doesnt seem to be any other options, now that iv added the card(it was accepted) ive got to load the entropay card now ( it lasts for a year seemingly) but just want to know where the hell i go to do bank transfer to them,… anyone got any pointers?

  37. bargainsireland

    Hi Fiona,

    I’ve just checked the EntroPay site and although I saw the bank transfer option advertised, I could not access it. It definitely used to be available before.

    I’ve logged a ticket with their support team, I’ll post a comment when they get back to me.

  38. bargainsireland

    Fiona — It is a virtual credit card therefore it is activated immediately and you don’t actually receive a physical credit card.

  39. sorry, totally retarded when it comes to these kinds of things, yeah cudnt find the bank transfer tab, and each time i log in now it brings me straight to the last stage of my registering process, so i dont even have a chance to access it from elsewhere…

    lost my damn laser card today… hoping its somewhere in the house but yea it means i cant now even use my laser to top up.. 😦 hoping my ryanair gift card confirmation comes thru soon.. then i can book my cheapo flights 🙂

  40. bargainsireland

    Fiona, Bank transfer is back up:
    EntroPay Cards › Load Card › Choose ‘Bank Account’ from the dropdown menu.

    If you’re having problems then try contacting EntroPay’s support team by email, their very helpful!

  41. hey, im gunna leave it for now, im sure it works for ebay tho 😀 i booked my flights with the gift vouchers, no cc charges, it worked out really well the confirmation email came 6 hrs later max of 24 hrs 🙂

    ur deadly, thanks for all d help 😀 xx

  42. Hi,
    If I get one of these cards will I be liable for the Irish Revenue €40 card levy?

  43. pat patterson

    You don’t need to wait for the confirmation e-mail for the ryanair gift vouchers, just write down the voucher numbers and you can use the straight away

  44. bargainsireland

    @Pa — Nope, it’s a virtual card from the UK so you’re not liable for any charges from the Irish Revenue.

  45. Cannot get Ryannair to reconize my EntroPay virtual VISA as a Visa Electron……..

  46. Just tried it today and it still works great – brilliant tip, thanks! What an absolutely delightful feeling to finally be able to screw back O’Leary & all his nonsense charges! I did encounter one minor hickup in the procedure, though: after hitting Enter to confirm payment (using cardname “ENTROPAY USER” as shown in the example), the Ryanair site did some thinking and then came back with message “Your session is locked”. No idea why, nor what it meant, but the important thing is: my booking got through just fine and I received an instant confirmation by email as usual. After closing the ‘sessionlocked’ window and opening a fresh one to ryanair, the ‘locked’ state initially persisted, but after some 10-15 minutes the lock had apparently expired and everything Ryanair worked fine again. (The hickup may also have been due to me working on a Mac + Safari…)

  47. Hi.
    When I transfer money to my virtual visa card from an Irish account, is that instant or how long does it take till I can actually use the money?

  48. wow, this is soooo cool! thanks!!

  49. Thanks, a friend just asked me to book a Ryanair flight for her and I was just about to pay when I remembered this information. Checked it out, and I was up and running immediately. Now I’ll be all setup for the next flight. Wow, those baggage charges keep going up don’t they? I convinced my friend to bring cabin luggage only. We’ll all be traveling light soon.

  50. Ryanair has just added a €5 online-checkin fee. Good bye to the 1c flights.

    FYI: I added an irish address to the EntroPay’s account in Sterling and they asked me for a proof of identity, copies of my credit card AND a bank statement for proof of address.

  51. Hi.
    Just brilliant idea 😉

    Thanks for this.

  52. Hi all,

    I set up an entropay account a couple of hours ago. However, I cant seem to go past the “Funding Details” step. I’ve tried adding my credit card details like a 100 times and it still keep saying “Action not allowed” “Your account has not been set up yet”. whats that supposed to mean??? Thanks everyone!

  53. thank u so much! it worked! return flights booked, no extra charges paid! wicked !

  54. Brilliant!!

  55. Thanks, I just used my own first €1 flight and all worked well (Dublin-Luton). Mike, I’m not sure about the €5 online check-in fee, but I just (Friday 12 June, 12:15am) bought more flights for August, for £2 each, using entropay electron visa, no taxes and charges, I didn’t pay any on-line check-in fee. Trouble is, now everyone is bringing on as large as possible carry-on luggage, there’s hardly any room in the overhead lockers!

  56. bargainsireland

    Yes, Ryanair don’t charge for online check-in (or any other non-optional charges) on promotional flights.

    Also remember that you can store luggage under the seat which is very handy and means you can easily access stuff from your bag during the flight.

  57. Ah, just found it (before I saw the last post) on Ryanair website… “Ryanair will remove its £10/€10 airport check-in fee and introduce a £5/€5 online check-in fee per person, per flight, on new bookings, other than promotional fares (fares of “Free”, “€1” and “€5” will include web check-in on a free of charge basis)”… So they’re the ones to look out for.

  58. Clarification: Flights I referred to were £2 return

  59. Sorry to hog this forum, but I’ve been checking flights to ome for someone, and there are some free flights & some @ €4.99 which still have charges, e.g. Thu, 3 Sep 09
    Regular Fare
    Rome (Ciampino) 10:50
    Dublin 12:55
    1 x Adult 0.00 EUR
    Fare: 0.00 EUR
    Online Check-In: 5.00 EUR
    Taxes / Fees: 22.44 EUR
    Total Price: 27.44 EUR

    Still an excellent price, mind

  60. Sorr! That should read flights to Rome

  61. thanks for the tip and keep up the good work!


  63. Be very careful with your hand baggage tho’ , and read all the small print..They are so strict. On recents flights, I saw 2 girls with weekend cases, which were the correct size, but they also had small handbags on their shoulders. They were told at the boarding gates to put the hand bags inside the case, and they couldnt fit them in, so had to pay €30 each to check in their cases. There was also a man travelling with a child..the child had no hand luggage, and the fathers bag was slightly larger than the dimensions allowed. He also had to pay €30. He and his child could have brought 2 smaller bags, but not 1 (slightly) bigger. The flight was only half full too when we got on, so it wasnt like there was even a problem with space..!!

  64. Brilliant! Just opened an Entropay account as per instructions. No hassle. Took 5 mins max. Now we have just booked return flights to London for €1 each way. You are a genius!! Keep up the good work.

  65. Pingback: Como evitar la comision al pagar con VISA en la página de Ryanair [ENG]

  66. HALIFAX does offer you Visa Electron!

  67. bargainsireland

    @Miguel — I may be wrong on this but I believe that Halifax Ireland offer a type of Visa debit card but it can not be used on ryanair.com as a Visa Electron.

  68. hi, you put in EIRE as postcode but still fill in your normal irish address yes?

  69. entropay now telling me they cannot accept maestro/laser for loading money, they hope to fix that prob in a few months!! Trying to set up a bank transfer, looks like your first load has to be by card, then transfer after that.

  70. thank you so much for a great tip! btw i opened euro account and it works as vise electron too 🙂

  71. Followed this tip today. Many thanks.

    I chose a Euro account and I managed to use this as an Visa Electron CC on Ryan Air saving me a little over €19 on their bizarre CC Processing Fee.

  72. Just booked my ryanair flights and used entropay…excellent, very user friendly…thanks a bunch…

  73. Seems straightforward enough to get Entropy’s Visa (Virtual Card), but then the prompt to also get a real plastic card (Mastercard) led to a request for email of very sensitive bank and passport details. Doesn’t sound too secure to me.

  74. By the by, just put in your county name as the postcode. It works. At least it did for me. Laois, Kerry, Cork, etc. Good work, guys. Thank you.

  75. Tanks alot…worked a treat though left mine in Euro and not a problem on the Ryanair website…

  76. hello,

    I’m from Portugal. Could I open an entropay account and put in EIRE as postcode?

    kind regards

  77. Dinis Quelhas

    Hi Guys,

    the website http://visa-electron.co.uk/ has a list of banks in the UK that issue Visa Electron cards and a list of low cost airlines that don’t charge any fees on Visa Electron cards.

    Hope this helps,


  78. I can’t even get into the site to get a card it keeps saying temporarily down due to maintanance. Any good times to try does anyone know. I need to book a flight and the extra charge was 37 euro. Please help

  79. Anyone else notice their plastic Mastercard was badly embossed. Shallow and irregular. Noticeably on the back. It’s not a clone, is it?

  80. Does this work for other airlines, eg Easyjet and Flybe?

  81. It works on Aer Lingus, they usually include the credit card charge on the screen, then it’s reduced when you pay by electron. (But if you click on taxes & charges a box appears that itemises the charges). Also works on flybmi & easyjet, who both charge for using cards other than electron. Flybe, I don’t know

  82. Una: when the site says down for maintainance, just hit the ‘try again’ button straight away. Then immediately hit ‘Log in’ again. It usually works fine. Good luck!

  83. Hi,

    I see a comment from “Robert // August 3, 2009 at 12:18 am” who says that choosing a “Euro account” works as well…..can someone else re-confirm or do we need to use currency as GBP ONLY !!!

  84. Hi, does the card definitely work in Euro now so? A few people above have said they left their account in Euro instead of Sterling but it still works fine! Handier keeping it in Euro if you can…

  85. Robert, did you really manage to open a euro account and not pay a credit card charge? The entropay helpdesk sent me this:

    Thank you for your email.
    In your case you may register a new EntroPay account and select EUR as the operating currency.
    Further, EntroPay Virtual Cards are categorized, and branded by VISA as the “VISA Classic Debit” however if you plan to use it at Ryanair then their payment system does recognise our cards as VISA Electron. However this is only the case if your EntroPay account operates in GBP.

    If we can be of any further assistance do not hesitate to contact us.
    Best Regards

    EntroPay Support

  86. Hi guys…this is a great tip as the old way of using the Ryanair Vounchers is now kinda redundant for flights less than €100!

    Anyway, i’ve set-up my entropay account and tried to add funds using my Laser card but it says “Declined”. It asked me for a security number which I put down as the last 3 digits of the card number as there is no other CVV number on a laser like on a Credit Card. I read a few post back that someone else mentioned that entropay is not accepting laser for the moment? Is this true or is it a case that I must make my first load with a normal card and then change my funding source to laser?

    Once again, great tip…can’t wait to try it out. heading to italy in a few weeks.

  87. Set up an entropay account today, in sterling.
    Set up went fine.
    Then went onto ryanair website to book my first flight using the account.
    Went fine, only had to pay taxes & 99c tickets.
    Savings still made even when you factor in all the conversion rates & transaction fees.
    Happy days. 🙂

  88. Hi all, I just used the Entropay in GBP to pay for Ryanair flights. Loved it! Writing about it in my blog, check out http://igotthetravelbug2009.blogspot.com/2009/09/avoid-ryanairs-credit-card-fee-by.html

  89. I set up my account in EURO rather than GBP.

    It took a couple of attempts but the ryanair website did eventually accept my Entropay card as a Visa Electron.

    Not sure if this will continue to work but so far I’ve saved the hassle of having to send off bank statements / passport details etc.

  90. Great I have also now opened a euro account and bought tickets with no credit card charge. I wonder why Entropay say you have to open the account in pound sterling. As a reminder to everyone, if you use entropay for tickets costing more than €100 each you will pay more than €5 in bank charges. But for most airlines I’ve looked at, certainly ryanair & aerlingus, if you want to, you just buy the tickets with entropay, then later if you want to add baggage, just use any credit card as they don’t charge cc fees for adding baggage

  91. Pingback: Cost of lying with infant - Page 3 - Politics.ie

  92. Charles Fitzgerald

    Can someone confirm that this card will definitly work in €uro??

  93. I tried loading up with my Permanent TSB Maestro laser and it asks for my card security code but there is none on the card.Does anyone know what that is? Then I tried to load up with an American Visa card I still maintain from when I lived there and my account was suspended as it seems this is not available to Americans!

  94. Can I just clarify something:
    If I got this right – I pay in euros for a sterling fund on the electron card. I then pay sterling from the card to cover the euro cost of the flight. So I am subject to the exchange rate between sterling and euros at two points?
    Appreciate your point, that this is not an issue if the cost of the flight is 1 cent – but if booking a family of four to malaga, it might be?


  95. i dont know how to transfer money from my bank account. i dont have a credit card so the bank account transfer is my only option.

    i have filled out the first step for application but now it wants my credit card details? 😦

  96. If you set up an account in GBP from Ireland are you charged a handling fee everytime you make a transaction because switching from Euro to GBP? Also, if anybody has a Euro Visa Electron does it really work without problem?

  97. Amazing Job, thank you!!!

  98. Ryanair will be charing a handling fee for using Visa Electron from 01/01/2010. Since 01/12/2009 Ryanair will now accept Mastercard prepaid without charing a fee for using it.

  99. http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/bargains-and-rip-offs/travel/article.html?in_article_id=495106&in_page_id=1093

    says that Ryanair will start charging £5 for Visa Electron from January. Now do we all need to get pre-paid mastercards ? Are they easily available in Ireland?

  100. A quick search suggests
    http://rubycard.ie/buy.html (2 options, whichever one is better depends how much you use the card) &

    Costs and fees vary, but are detailed on the webpages. Read the small print!
    E.g. Payzone say “If your account is inactive for over 3 months you will be charged a fee of €3.50 for every month it is inactive.”
    Ruby charges €5 government tax, I’m not sure about payzone.
    I wonder if aer lingus & bmi will still give reductions to visa electron. I hiope so, as I still have a balance on my electron accounts, both in sterling & euros!

  101. There 2 available in Ireland. As this operates by having a plastic card there is also a E5 government tax payable annually. payzonemoney.com is 1 issuer. rubycard.ie is another provider. I’m presuming visa electron will still be on offer with the other airlines.

  102. By the way for some reason in my earlier post I spelt charging as charing! Not once, but twice. Shame on me….. 😉

  103. Can Bargains Ireland please show us how to get a prepaid MasterCard? Thanks for the info on the Visa Electron. I got one ok and booked a cheap few flights!

  104. Well I successfully opened an account with Neteller.com. There has been no fee yet, I’ve had it since February 2010, and have had no charge. (I’m expecting a government duty fee, maybe January 1st). I had to take a photo of my passport & email it, and then I got a phone call once, to confirm a couple of things (including my phone number!) the whole thing took about 10-14 days. Ryanair don’t charge me credit card fees now. You can add credit to the prepaid Mastercard for free from a regular bank account.

  105. I just saw the date on Tony’s post – 6 December 09. I hope you got sorted by now, Tony.

  106. Hi All! 🙂 I am surprised you all haven’t discovered that you can purchase a Mastercard pre-pay in Ticketmaster in St.Stephens Green Shopping Center! It is so easy and no messing now! 🙂
    Here is the deal:You can purchase a card for a value up to a maximum of 150 euro.You can’t top it up but can discharge funds from cards with small amounts and put it on a new one.
    I don’t know about you guys but this 5 euro makes a difference as I book many flights that I don’t even use(I am sure Ryanair are making a lot of money this way.)
    One flight I will be taking,for sure is this Saturday to London to see Bon Jovi in London’s O2! 20euro return.
    Happy flying…The Greens must be puking! Tony

  107. Yes, Tony, I agree, I sometimes buy a couple of flights if I’m not sure exactly which day or time I’ll be able to fly – at €3 or €5 a flight I don’t mind if I don’t use them all!

  108. Neteller are brilliant, just saved €40 booking flights with RyanAir using their (free) prepaid mastercard.

  109. when using entropay with aerlingus, what name and address do you fill in. thanks

  110. Hmmm, over 18 months since the last post. I just booked Ryanair flights, but they have once more changed the goalposts. The regular prepaid mastercard now attracts a €6 fee like all the other cards. The only exception is a Ryanair “cash card”. It’s probably worth getting one if you fly often, but how often are Ryanair allowed to keep changing their own rules. My Neteller mastercard is useful for other things as well, but if I apply for a Ryanair card, how long will it be before they make us pay “fees” if we use it?

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