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  • FIRST POST
    • jamesbrownontheroad
    • By jamesbrownontheroad 30th Sep 10, 5:31 PM
    • 574Posts
    • 359Thanks
    jamesbrownontheroad
    0 WOW
    Your Co-Op Visa Electron is now a Visa Debit: alternatives for flight bookings?
    • #1
    • 30th Sep 10, 5:31 PM
    0 WOW
    Your Co-Op Visa Electron is now a Visa Debit: alternatives for flight bookings? 30th Sep 10 at 5:31 PM
    Hello everyone.

    Perhaps I missed an MSE discussion or news article on this elsewhere, but it seems that Co-Operative Bank Visa Electron card holders (i.e. quite a lot of folk with basic accounts for booking FlyBe and Easyjet flights without fees) are about to get stung by new debit card fees.

    While trying to book a FlyBe flight this afternoon, my Visa Electron card was repeatedly declined, because it was not recognised as Visa Electron. I've held this card since March 2009, and it's valid until March 2012. Nothing has changed, no new card has been issued to me, and it's still a Visa Electron. I last used it about two weeks ago with FlyBe and it was accepted without a hitch as a (fee-free) Visa Electron.

    However, as part of their suspension of new Visa Electron card accounts, it seems that existing Visa Electron cardholders with Co-Op are now having their cards reclassified as Visa Debit, which means fees with most airlines. As far as the airline sees it, the sixteen digit card number is now recognised as a Visa Debit, not Visa Electron.

    I already knew that Visa Electrons were being phased out, but can anyone point me in the direction of an alternative?

    Thanks
    Last edited by jamesbrownontheroad; 10-10-2010 at 10:47 PM.
Page 1
    • zzzLazyDaisy
    • By zzzLazyDaisy 30th Sep 10, 5:34 PM
    • 12,135 Posts
    • 18,762 Thanks
    zzzLazyDaisy
    • #2
    • 30th Sep 10, 5:34 PM
    • #2
    • 30th Sep 10, 5:34 PM
    I have a Halifax Easycash account which has a visa electron card. I used it to book a flight in August and it was definitely okay then.
    I'm a retired employment solicitor. Hopefully some of my comments might be useful, but they are only my opinion and not intended as legal advice.
  • tightarsey
    • #3
    • 8th Oct 10, 5:44 PM
    Visa Electron Cards are now 'reclassified' as Visa Debit by flybe.com to force charge
    • #3
    • 8th Oct 10, 5:44 PM
    Hi James,
    Its being mentioned on zdnet.co.uk
    flybe.com online bookings: Visa Electron Cards are now 'reclassified' as Visa Debit to force £9 additional fee.
    http://www.zdnet.co.uk/blogs/apples-are-not-the-only-fruit-windows-are-for-gazing-out-of-not-at-10014376/visa-electron-cards-are-now-reclassified-as-visa-debit-to-force-charges-10020712/


    Have spoken to Visa Card Services Directly today, Visa Electron payment method is NOT being phased out by Visa. Its the banks themselves such as Cooperative/Smile that have decided to no longer issue Visa Electron Cards. According to Cooperative all new cards now issued are Visa Debit. Companies such has HBOS are continuing to issue Visa Electron.

    Cooperative can't simply reclassify a Visa Electron Card as a Visa Debit Card - this requires a change to their terms and conditions, which certainly hasn't been sent out - so they are in breach of regulatory controls.

    Its seems Cooperative have though - by changing their backend system by reassigning the bin number to existing cards so that cards starting 4508 are reclassified as 'Visa Debit' rather than 'Visa Electron' (which is what has happened according to flybe.com),

    This should not apply to existing Visa Electron Card holder of Cooperative/Smile, only newly issued card with a 'Visa Debit' logo, until you card expires.

    An initial complaint has been filed with the financial ombudsman in this regard, and hopefully will mean that any Visa Electron Card transactions which have been financially disadvantaged should be refundable.

    Phoning flybe.com, (which took 22 minutes to get answered @10p a minute, this afternoon), were also unhelpful - why would they be - they are making £9 per flight from the reclassification of Visa Electron to Visa Debit. They are also in breach of advertising standards, as all Visa Electron cards going through there payment systems have been reclassified to Visa Debit, so its physical impossible to purchase the flight at the advertised price, without incurring a £9 fee.

    I gave flybe.com the Smile's phone number 01614771927 to confirm cards starting 4508 are 'Visa Electron', which they refused to call.
    (This number is on their contact us page, smile.co.uk)
    But they did send this email:

    Thank you for contacting the Technical Support Desk at Flybe.
    Please note that this card had been re-classified as a Visa Debit Card and is no longer classed as a Visa Electron Card.
    This has been confirmed to us from our Card Company as we do get regular updates with regards to the bin ranges of cards and in view of this the charges we have made on-line are correct and there would be no refund due.
    I hope this helps in answering your query.


    The best approach is to send a formal complaint in writing to Cooperative/Smile, if you send a secure message this will not help, as you will be asked to put it in writing, (its a staller to prevent too many complaints), you need to stalemate the issue to take the matter to the financial ombudsman, but they will open an initial complaint, which you can then follow up.
    The reference for the complaint with the financial ombudsman is 9877130, quote this in correspondence, as everyone effected can be linked. Financial Services Ombudsman 0207 964 0500. Email: complaint.info@financial-ombudsman.org.uk

    Write to:
    smilecustomer feedback
    4th Floor
    Miller St
    Manchester
    M60 0AL
    So much for Ethical Bank?

    If you have been affected by this post a reply/(& make a complaint).
    Last edited by tightarsey; 08-10-2010 at 5:48 PM.
  • tightarsey
    • #4
    • 8th Oct 10, 9:11 PM
    Visa Electron Cards are now 'reclassified' as Visa Debit t
    • #4
    • 8th Oct 10, 9:11 PM
    A bit more digging...

    In phasing out Visa Electron Cards - The problem seems to occur from banks such as the Cooperative Bank's poor decision to keep the same card number rage (starting 4508-Visa Electron), and instead reclassifying this range of cards as Visa Debit rather than Visa Electron, by a change to its 'bin number type', how it is classed to retailers:Electron,Debit,Credit etc. Without really realising the full consequences for existing card holders. The other option - Issuing new card numbers would have caused problems with Annual automatic payments such as the AA.

    The whole thing was poor judgement by Co-op and has caused some companies to still classify the card as Electron and some as Visa Debit, and thus Cooperative bank's customers are incurring charges of £9 per flight using their existing Electron card on sites such as flybe.com. flybe.com are also refusing to refund this amount, or provide manual discount via phone. A phone call to the financial ombudsman stated today, that if Customer's had been disadvantaged (ie. financial losses) by the Visa branding anomaly, they would be very interested in taking up the case.
  • tightarsey
    • #5
    • 10th Oct 10, 9:43 AM
    Cooperative Visa Electron - Formal Complaint Template Letter
    • #5
    • 10th Oct 10, 9:43 AM
    News: Co-op Travel business to merge with Thomas Cook

    Is it !!!8216;coincidental!!!8217; that Cooperative Bank/Smile are phasing out Visa Electron Cards for its customers?.

    Visa Electron is the one form of payment related to the travel industry which has the lowest fees related to booking flights, hotel accommodation and car hire.

    Note, Visa itself is not phasing out the Visa Electron Card, this Branding is used throughout Europe.

    Cooperative are using their positions in banking and travel to force higher transaction charges on its customers, which they will be in a position to take advantage of through their Cooperative travel arm.

    The additional transaction fees of booking 2 flights on flybe.com, between a paying via a Visa Electron Card compared to a Visa Debit Card is £18.

    This change has been forced on existing customers, by
    reclassifying the bin number (first 4 digits - 4508) of existing issued Cooperative/Smile Visa Electron Cards with the fees related to Visa Debit Cards (4988-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx), so both Cooperative Cards are recognized by retailers as !!!8216;Visa Debit!!!8217;.

    No notification has been given to existing customers of this
    change though their terms and conditions. This is a clear breach of regulatory rules.

    Here is a copy of a formal complaint I sent to Smile.

    Formal Complaint.
    ----------------
    As a consumer/Smile customer !!!8211; I rely on notification on any changes to my bank account via a change to the terms and conditions.

    If I have a Cooperative/Smile bank card which says Visa Electron on it, and I select Visa Electron from the drop-down box on a online website, I expect the fees incurred to relate to a Visa Electron card transaction fee, not a Visa Debit card transaction fee, and this is my complaint !!!8211; I don!!!8217;t care or need to know how this will be processed by Cooperative/Smile but expect this to match the existing card issued to me.

    For Cooperative/Smile to !!!8216;reclassify!!!8217; existing issued Visa Electron cards as Visa Debit cards is a change to terms and conditions, to which I have not being given 30 days notice.

    I also do not accept Smile can reclassify an existing Visa Electron issued card as now been processed as a Visa Debit card !!!8211; it!!!8217;s a Visa Electron card till it expires, under the Visa transaction rules, whats to stop it being classified as a Visa Credit Card for fee purposes?

    This is a breach of regulatory rules, there has been no notification in the terms and conditions to this effect and breaches Visa brand descriptions.

    I attempted to use this card to pay for a flight online with
    flybe.com. flybe.com terms state that flights paid with Visa Electron Card the fee is 0.00, flights paid with Visa Debit Cards the fee is 4.50 each way,per person. Two People, 2 flights, one transaction = a £18 Visa Debit Charge.

    On submitting the transaction 'it stated the Electron card (starting 4508) is not recognised as a Visa Electron Card, and to continue you will incur an additional charge of £18, as the card has been recognised as Visa Debit Card (based on the bin number issued by Cooperative)

    I emailed flybe.com and received this reply:

    Thank you for contacting the Technical Support Desk at Flybe. Please note that this card had been re-classified as a Visa Debit Card and is no longer classed as a Visa Electron Card.This has been confirmed to us from our Card Company as we do get regular updates with regards to the bin ranges of cards and in view of this the charges we have made on-line are correct and there would be no refund due. I hope this helps in answering your query.

    If Smile are phasing out new Visa Electron Cards this should not affect existing customers of Visa Electron until the card issued expires. Visa itself is not phasing out Electron Cards. Existing Smile cards starting 4508, must still be processed as Electron payments under Visa rules- this is not happening.
    They are being processed by card services based on the bin number issued for these cards as Visa Debit and Customers are being financial disadvantaged.

    End of Complaint
    ----------------

    -------------------------
    • apt
    • By apt 10th Oct 10, 10:24 AM
    • 3,065 Posts
    • 1,728 Thanks
    apt
    • #6
    • 10th Oct 10, 10:24 AM
    • #6
    • 10th Oct 10, 10:24 AM
    'Is it !!!8216;coincidental!!!8217; that Cooperative Bank/Smile are phasing out Visa Electron Cards for its customers?'

    Yes, because the switch away from VISA electron began and was announced months ago.
    • jamesbrownontheroad
    • By jamesbrownontheroad 10th Oct 10, 10:40 AM
    • 574 Posts
    • 359 Thanks
    jamesbrownontheroad
    • #7
    • 10th Oct 10, 10:40 AM
    • #7
    • 10th Oct 10, 10:40 AM
    Yes, because the switch away from VISA electron began and was announced months ago.
    Originally posted by apt
    For new customers only. No mention was made of shifting existing card holders to another card type.
  • tightarsey
    • #8
    • 10th Oct 10, 12:22 PM
    • #8
    • 10th Oct 10, 12:22 PM
    'Is it ‘coincidental’ that Cooperative Bank/Smile are phasing out Visa Electron Cards for its customers?'

    Yes, because the switch away from VISA electron began and was announced months ago.
    Originally posted by apt
    And the Merger between Cooperative Travel Business and Thomas Cook was not planned months ago? ie. 'coincidental'
  • debutyou
    • #9
    • 11th Oct 10, 4:53 PM
    • #9
    • 11th Oct 10, 4:53 PM
    READ THIS THREAD!: If you have a COOPERATIVE or SMILE Visa ELECTRON Card (as marked 'Electron' on card) Changes for existing customers mean you are being financially disadvantaged by the card being reclassified 'Visa Debit', it could cost you upto £9 in transaction charges, when booking flights. DON'T ACCEPT IT COMPLAIN. You have an Electron card, it should incur charges related to an Electron Card - it doesn't. Its the Bank's mistake - not the retailer - don't be fobbed off.
    Last edited by debutyou; 11-10-2010 at 4:56 PM.
    • StuieUK34
    • By StuieUK34 13th Oct 10, 10:29 AM
    • 1,751 Posts
    • 870 Thanks
    StuieUK34
    How about this:
    I just booked a hire car through Netflights.com...
    I've had my Co-Op VISA ELECTRON card for over a year, but had it changed to the VISA Debit card about 3 weeks ago which i'm cool with....
    When trying to book the hire car, the website kept saying that the card was invalid when selecting - VISA DEBIT...
    So i selected VISA ELECTRON and the payment went through ??????????

    How do you explain that!!!! Am slightly worried now as the hire car booked is for use with DOLLAR in Las Vegas, i know they accept VISA Debit cards for there security deposit, but the above and given the card begins with 4508 is making me think its still an electron card, just with the word DEBIT on the front ?? which means Dollar may not accepy my card ?
    oh crumbs!!
  • tightarsey
    Cooperative Visa Electron - Formal Complaint Template Letter
    How do you explain that!!!! (
    Originally posted by StuieUK34
    Retailers get regular update of Bin Ranges for Cards (see the email reply from flybe.com above), companies such as flybe.com have to be extremely accurate regarding the 'card type', classified by its bin number, ie. whether it is a Visa Credit, Visa Debit (formally Visa Delta branding), and Visa Electron - but they get this information from the card processing company, who get it from Cooperative.

    Cooperative issued Cards starting 4508, were always Visa Electron Cards.
    Cooperative issued Cards starting 4988, were Visa Debit / formally branded Visa Delta.

    So retailers regularly update their bin tables, reflecting any changes - the card processing company for the rental firm hasn't done this yet and is using the old data so the card is recognised as Visa Electron, its previous bin type. Its complicated by the fact that the website itself might do the check, or can be part of the card processing.

    Currently Aer Lingus recognised cards 4508 as Visa Debit - now incurring charges, selecting Visa Electron, the card number is mark 'Not recognised'
    Capitalone , the card has to be registered as Visa Debit, in order to act as payment for online accounts.

    Cooperative stupidly, started issuing new Visa logo (with Electron Branding removed) 'Debit' Cards as replacements for the Visa Electron Card, stating they were phasing out Visa Electron Cards.

    Rather than issue these new cards with 4988 number (Visa Debit) they kept the existing numbers for customers to save upsetting Annual automated payments at the AA etc - BIG MISTAKE.

    When Cooperative switched the bin range of cards starting 4508 to Visa Debit earlier this month, they didn't take into account existing customers with Visa Electron cards, that actually want the card to work as a Visa Electron card till it expires.

    It has meant all existing Cooperative Customers with a Visa Electron Branded Card have to pay charges related to Visa Debit Cards - £18 in the case of two flights on flybe.com

    The upside of the card been classed as Visa Debit it is accepted at more places, i.e Tesco, but this might not last for long, because Cooperative will have to update the bin range back so that cards starting 4508 is still classed as Visa Electron, and reissue new card with Visa logo (Visa Debit cards) starting 4988.
  • tightarsey
    Follow up to Formal Complaint: Coperative Smile Visa Electron Cards
    Follow up to existing formal complaint.
    ----------------------------------------

    (Italics show reply received from Smile Via Secure Message)

    For the purposes of this letter following definitions apply

    *!!!8216;Visa Electron Card!!!8217; ; a valid card issued by Smile beginning 4508, specifically, with a Visa Electron logo, not yet expired, in use/used by existing customers. This is the card I have.


    * !!!8216;Online Debit Card!!!8217;, a ambiguous term used internally by Smile describing a newly issued card (since March 2010) issued with a Visa logo, beginning 4508 without a Visa Electron logo. The term !!!8216;Online Debit Card!!!8217; has no relation to the three licensed Visa Card types/bin classifications, which are Visa Electron, Visa Debit (formally Delta), Visa Credit. Visa itself is not phasing out the Visa Electron Card; this Branding is used throughout Europe.


    I received several replies both verbal and online regarding my complaint regarding Visa Electron Cards.

    I want to make clear now as part of my formal complaint that Smile has given me a great deal of !!!8216;misinformation!!!8217; over the phone through your call centre operation and via secure messages. The replies I have received are both deceitful and untrue, whether this is intentional or not, customers deserve better. For the purposes of this formal complaint I believe it is intentional.

    I specifically single out Call Centre Operator !!!8216;xxxx!!!8217; who I spoke to via phone, whose complete disinterest in the problem at hand and ability to treat the matter as a !!!8216;non-issue!!!8217; was extremely apparent in by tone and attitude. This is certainly not a !!!8216;non issue!!!8217; it affects 1000!!!8217;s of existing Smile Customers, holders of valid Visa Electron Cards (4508) who are being financially disadvantaged by Smile actions.

    Due to the serious nature of this complaint due to number affected, I need to be specific regarding my complaint.

    My Complaint has nothing to do with the fees charged by online retailers, online retailers have NOT changed their existing systems. Fees charged by online retailers relate to three categories; Visa Electron, Visa Debit (formally Delta) or Visa Credit. There is no such card/term !!!8216;Online Debit Card!!!8217;, in relation to card processing. Online Retailers use the bin card type (first 4 digits) information to categorise a transaction into one of these three categories, and charge fees accordingly.

    My Complaint has nothing to do with the new issuing of !!!8216;Online Debit Cards!!!8217; (as termed by Smile) to new customers or as replacement for Visa Electron Cards, !!!8216;as such!!!8217;. (I do not have this card)

    My complaint does though, relate to the consequences of new issuing !!!8216;Online Debit Cards!!!8217; with card numbers beginning 4508, as this has had a direct effect on existing customers of Visa Electron Cards. The cards have inadvertently being classed !!!8216;the same!!!8217; by Smile - issued with bin type 4508, when they are clearly different cards. This is the basis my Complaint.

    I expect Visa Electron cards (4508), to be processed as Visa Electron Cards until they expire. This is not happening.

    The !!!8216;Online Debit Card!!!8217; is clearly designated a !!!8216;Visa Debit!!!8217; card for processing purposes and therefore should have been issued with bin type 4988 , using Smile!!!8217;s existing !!!8216;Visa Debit!!!8217; bin type, not the bin type 4508 !!!8216;Visa Electron!!!8217;. Smile themselves have stated it is a !!!8216;Debit Card!!!8217; replacement for Visa Electron Cards.

    I reiterate: The ambiguous term !!!8216;Online Debit Card!!!8217; issued with Visa logo has no !!!8216;real world!!!8217; card processing equivalent; Visa Licensed Branding is Visa Electron, Visa Debit or Visa Credit.

    Issues brought up by Smile, relating to the how transactions are authorised when funds are not available/overdraft fees have no relevance to my complaint.

    How and why Electron cards were issued has no relevance to my complaint. The fact that I have a valid one until 03/11 is relevant to my Complaint.

    My Complaint is specifically, regarding Visa Electron Cards*

    In reply to the secure message I received, I wish to reply to each sentence/paragraph in turn.

    !!!8216;The card which was previously called an Electron card is now issued without the Electron logo, the card is now for our purposes called an online debit card!!!8217;
    Visa itself is not phasing out the Visa Electron Card; this Branding is used throughout Europe.

    There is no such card/term !!!8216;online debit card!!!8217;, in relation to Visa card processing/Visa Card bin types (first 4 digits) classifications, which are Visa Electron, Visa Debit (formally Delta), Visa Credit.
    Online Retailers use the bin card type (first 4 digits) information to categorise a transaction into one of these three categories, and charge fees accordingly. I have no complaint with how Retailers do this, they are relying on information issued by Smile i.e the card!!!8217;s bin type.

    this change was enacted from March 2010 however in terms of functionality it is exactly the same.
    This statement is untrue, !!!8216;misinformation!!!8217; - the functionality of the Visa Electron card (how it is processed by UK Payments is now a 'Visa Debit' in terms of functionality/processing terms. This change took place around the 1st October 2010. This change was made by Smile, NOT by Online Retailers. Existing customers did not receive notification to this change in their terms and conditions.

    I!!!8217;m using the same Visa Electron Card*, on the same Website, which the Retailer have informed me have not been modified, selecting the same settings (Visa Electron) yet I!!!8217;m now charged £9 extra by flybe.com, as flybe's card services attempts to process the card as Visa Debit, due to changes made by Smile, no one else.

    Retailers use the bin number associated with the card '4508' to recognise the card type - this being Visa Credit, Visa Debit or Visa Electron, the three 'brandings' of Visa, There is no such
    processing method 'online debit' as a payment method in terms of Visa - its does not exist.
    Its either Visa Electron or Visa Debit, or Visa Credit .Which is it?
    Up until 1st October 2010, Existing issued Cooperative Visa Electron Cards are 4508, Visa Debit are 4988, were processed as Visa Electron and Visa Debit respectively. After 1st October 2010, both card types are processed as Visa Debit.

    It is important for me to state that the Electron card was designed with a purpose in mind, that was to help people avoid having transactions authorised when funds were not available, having authorised transactions when funds are not available can lead to informal overdraft fees ect.
    This paragraph is irrelevant.
    Therefore Electron cards were issued out to customers experiencing financial difficulties. The status for authorisations in this respect has not changed, funds have to be available, and if an authorisation cannot be requested then a decline will result automatically.
    This paragraph is irrelevant.

    The name has now been reclassified from Electron to Online debit, but it is the same card in all respects but name.
    Untrue !!!8211; It!!!8217;s not just the name that has been reclassified. It!!!8217;s also how the card is processed.
    The is no such Licensed Visa term !!!8216;Online debit!!!8217;, the issued card under Visa licensing terms is either an Electron Card or a Visa Debit Card, or a Visa Credit Card; these are three payment methods recognised by Visa.
    The card has being reclassified from Electron to Visa Debit, !!!8216;Online Debit!!!8217; does not exist. This is a change to Smile terms and conditions, to which existing customers of the Visa Electron Card* have not being notified.

    There is still no cheque guarantee facility on the card. Part of the change was so that those who have had financial difficulties are not embarrassed by making card payments in public using chip and pin terminals for example.
    The Paragraph is irrelevant. Having a cheque guarantee facility on the card doesn!!!8217;t not effect how a card is processed, the Visa card bin type (first 4 digits) defines how payments are classified and processed.

    My Complaint has nothing to do with the issuing of !!!8216;Online Debit Cards!!!8217; (ambiguous term used by Smile) as replacement for Visa Electron Cards, !!!8216;as such!!!8217;, but my complaint does relate to the consequence of issuing !!!8216;Online Debit Cards!!!8217; with card numbers beginning 4508, as this has had a direct effect on existing customers of Visa Electron Cards.
    The problem being both cards have been issued with card number beginning 4508.
    Smile incorrectly issued these new !!!8216;Online Debit Cards!!!8217; 4508, as they are clearly !!!8216;Visa Debit card in terms of card processing, and therefore should have been issued with number beginning 4988 , which is the bin type !!!8216;Visa Debit!!!8217; for Smile Visa Cards.
    This is the essence of my complaint.

    By issuing !!!8216;Online Debit Cards!!!8217; as 4508 Cards, then switching the bin type at the start of October, the consequence of this was to also switch all existing Visa Electron Cards* to Visa Debit, for card processing purposes. This would require a change to the terms and conditions, which was not received.

    The fact a particular merchant applies a charge for using this card now, when they did not previously is due to their own policy.
    This statement is completely false,untrue and deceitful. The reason the merchant applies a charge relates directly to the bin number and the categorisation of the card by Smile.
    There are only three types of Visa Categorisation, Visa Electron, Visa Debit, or Visa Credit !!!8211;
    !!!8216;Online Debit!!!8217; has no real world equivalent. Visa Electron Cards have been reclassified !!!8216;Visa Debit!!!8217; for card processing purposes, and without informing existing customers.

    We do not apply the charge for the transaction therefore there is no reason why we would consider refunding you for a charge that is applied to your account by another organisation.
    You do not apply the charge but you do apply the classification of the card, which has been incorrectly reclassified for existing Visa Electron Cards*, under Visa licensing terms -since 1st October 2010. I therefore, find Smile liable for my financial losses, as I!!!8217;m being financially disadvantaged by incorrect procedures being applied to the processing of card transactions relating to my existing Visa Electron Card*. There has been no notification to customer of this change in terms and conditions, therefore Smile is liable under banking code of practice.

    You stated that they refused to accept the online debit card for the transaction, you will need to confirm with Aer Lingus as to why they will not accepts your online debit card when the vast majority of organisations do. If they still accept Visa Electron cards then they should still be able to accept this card.

    Aer Lingus, use two forms of validation on the Aer Lingus Website. First, when you select !!!8216;Visa Electron!!!8217; as the card type from the drop down box, the card is validated against their own database of values to check the card is a !!!8216;Visa Electron!!!8217; Card. The card passes this test. The second is when the card details are passed to the card processing company. This check fails as the card has been unlawfully reclassified by Smile as Visa Debit. The transaction cannot be completed.
    A Smile Visa Debit Card starting 4988 was then used, the two transactions completed but incurred additional fees of £20. Smile is responsible as the Visa Electron Card is being incorrectly classified by Card Processing Systems. This change was made by Smile, not Retailers.

    I can appreciate that you may have spoken to Aer Lingus and they have given you information which has inferred that we are somewhat responsible for the charge, however we issue you a debit card, whether that card format is accepted by a retailer is dependant on them as we cannot insist that they use the card.

    Cards issued by Smile under Visa licensing terms can have either a Visa Electron, Visa Debit, or Visa Credit bin classification in terms of card processing. The card format accepted by the retailer is dependent on one of these card types , as defined by Visa. There is no such thing as !!!8216;Online Debit!!!8217; straddling both Visa Electron and Visa Debit formats. If my card has been reclassified Visa Debit, I should have been notified of these through my terms and conditions. This has not happened. Smile is therefore liable to my losses, as I!!!8217;m being financially disadvantaged by Smile!!!8217;s mistake..

    The card is a Visa card, and as they have a visa license they can accept and make payments using visa, the fact they apply an ambiguous acceptance and charging policy is an issue you would need to take up with Aer Lingus.

    It!!!8217;s Smile applying the ambiguous !!!8216;Online Visa!!!8217; branding under their Visa Licensing terms, my card states Visa Electron, I expect it to be processed as a Visa Electron Card, not as the ambiguous term !!!8216;Online Debit!!!8217; which has no real world Visa equivalent. It!!!8217;s either a Visa Electron or Visa Debit. If it!!!8217;s a Visa Debit, I!!!8217;ve not been notified to this change in my terms and conditions, Smile is therefore liable to the financial losses as a result of this mistake.

    The Office of Fair Trading have stated that it is at the discretion of the company concerned which charges they apply, so long as they are not hidden.
    As stated my complaint is not with the Retailer, it is with Smile itself.


    End of Follow Up Complaint
    ----------------------------------
    Last edited by tightarsey; 24-10-2010 at 2:07 AM.
    • jamesbrownontheroad
    • By jamesbrownontheroad 1st Nov 10, 10:59 AM
    • 574 Posts
    • 359 Thanks
    jamesbrownontheroad
    Another update from me. When I started this thread back in September, I sent a complaint to Co-Operative Bank similar to those shared above. This morning I received a letter as follows:

    Dear Mr. OnTheRoad,

    Further to our earlier letter acknowledging your complaint, I am writing to let you know that my enquiries into the matters you raised are continuing.

    I have been looking into your complaint but unfortunately, I am not yet in a position to advise you of the outcome because our investigations are continuing.

    I will be in a position to reply fully to your complaint once I am in possession of all the necessary information. I will contact you again as soon as possible and, in any event, within the next four weeks.

    Yours sincerely,

    PP xxxx xxxx

    Customer Feedback Consultant
    On behalf of The Co-Operative Bank
    In my experience, when I company is happy to fob off a complaint, they don't send "placeholder" letters like this more than once. I interpret this as a positive sign... Co-Operative weren't expecting existing customers to be inconvenienced or angry about the change to their cards. Watch this space...
  • tightarsey
    Cooperative/Smile agreed to pay all 'Visa Electron' fees incurred till next March.
    Good Initial News, but still needs to go to Ombudsman - I've received an official reply from Cooperative. They have refunded my £18 in fees for flybe, but also will refund all fees relating to the incorrect bin card type until March 2011, the expiry date of my Visa Electon Card. Cooperative/Smile have conceded they are in the wrong, but have NOT conceded to do this for ALL Customers.
    I also have £20 in fees charged by Aer Lingus, where I was unable to use my Visa Electron Card, as their systems/the website check recognise the card as Visa Electron, but the payment system treats the card as Visa Debit - so you cannot even use the card on the Aer Lingus Site. Instead had to book with my Visa Debit (Delta) Card - and incur £20 in fees.

    I received so much rubbish/misinformation from Cooperative/Smile that to say they are 'Ethical' / morally sound is a joke. Customer Service have at times made out my complaint was trivial, a 'non issue', avoiding branded Visa terms such as 'Electron', 'Visa Debit'. Tried to make out the card issued by Smile is neither an Electron Card or a Visa Debit, which is boll*cks.
    The letter received was even signed 'D. Myszor' (as in Miser! - well I do watch the pennies/and the banks), which I am assured is not taking the p*ss, but is really the person's name dealing with the complaint. They also employ an 'A. Mugg' I'm presume. Having this detail checked too, because nothing worse than arrogant departments having their little 'in' jokes.

    This has taken hours upon hours of research, to narrow down the complaint and get a result which Smile/Cooperative couldn't back out of, sorry not accepting the offer of £18, but I expect Smile to publish an Apology on their Website, and ways in which Customers can reclaim fees incurred, which they have agreed to repay me. Doubt they will agree - so will forward complaint to Ombudsman for resolution.

    Cooperative/Smile state they made this move because they didn't want to pay a second fee to Visa International in relation to having two card bin numbers 4508(Electron) and 4988(Debit). I bet their thinking that paying that fee might have been cheaper than paying back all the fees/charges incurred by customers as a result of this BIG Mistake. If you have had to pay charges as a result of this - make a complaint.
    Last edited by tightarsey; 21-11-2010 at 3:05 PM.
    • Lizzie75
    • By Lizzie75 21st Nov 10, 4:19 PM
    • 29 Posts
    • 49 Thanks
    Lizzie75
    Seriously good for you, for fighting this one!

    The card charges with airlines are beyond ridiculous....and completely unfair. Fair enough to charge one credit card transaction but to do it per flight, even though it's just ONE transaction....is nothing but theft. Book a flight for a family of four and you pay £36 JUST to pay....utter madness.

    I travel to NI a lot....and have just applied for and received an electron card with Halifax....it expires in 2013, so am trusting the bank will honour the electron status till then....but if not...I will follow your lead and kick up a stink!

    Thanks for keeping us posted....so good to learn from how others do it!
    • StuieUK34
    • By StuieUK34 22nd Nov 10, 9:42 AM
    • 1,751 Posts
    • 870 Thanks
    StuieUK34
    Here here.... rock on dude, i'm doing battle in a similar way at the moment (not visa related mind!) But good to see peeps standing up to big firms!
    • Hastobe_Katt
    • By Hastobe_Katt 28th Nov 10, 12:36 AM
    • 147 Posts
    • 197 Thanks
    Hastobe_Katt
    Good for you on fighting back! Banks do seem to think they can impose charges / changes on customers and that they will get away with it as most customers either won't notice or won't bother to argue the toss. Customer apathy is factored into 'product development' - i.e. that a percentage of customers will keep a product even when it makes no sense just because they can't be bothered to change. (As an aside, those that do change are nicknamed 'rate tarts'.)

    We are in the same boat. We had an electron card on our Co-op bank account which expires in Jan 2011. Fortunately, ours was still accepted when we purchased Jet2 flights a couple of weeks ago but it won't be renewed in January. We have now opened a Halifax Easycash account specifically for the electron card - but we are closing the Co-op account. Co-op aren't my favourite bank. Having worked for them (and watched their behaviour over the recent mergers) I have no desire to continue giving them my business now I've left the company.

    Our main bank account is with the Nationwide. (We have a place abroad and their debit card was the cheapest way to access our sterling funds without doing a sizable transfer through a broker.) Given the recent NW debit card charges, we have just got a Halifax Clarity card and drew equal amounts on both this and the NW debit card when we were abroad a week or so back - just to compare. Given the new NW debit card charges we are planning to reduce the balance in our NW account to a minimum and open one of the new 'best buy' accounts (Halifax or Santander) as our main a/c. Since 1 Nov we have tried to keep all our overseas spend on our Nationwide credit card as that is currently the cheapest option.

    We also have a 1% cash back card for use in the UK and have a CaxtonFx card that we preload just to use for Ryanair flights. We'll soon have enough cards to play snap - the challenge is in educating the OH on which card to use when!
    • stickman
    • By stickman 29th Nov 10, 5:40 PM
    • 163 Posts
    • 31 Thanks
    stickman
    Good Initial News, but still needs to go to Ombudsman - I've received an official reply from Cooperative. They have refunded my £18 in fees for flybe, but also will refund all fees relating to the incorrect bin card type until March 2011, the expiry date of my Visa Electon Card. Cooperative/Smile have conceded they are in the wrong, but have NOT conceded to do this for ALL Customers.
    I also have £20 in fees charged by Aer Lingus, where I was unable to use my Visa Electron Card, as their systems/the website check recognise the card as Visa Electron, but the payment system treats the card as Visa Debit - so you cannot even use the card on the Aer Lingus Site. Instead had to book with my Visa Debit (Delta) Card - and incur £20 in fees.

    I received so much rubbish/misinformation from Cooperative/Smile that to say they are 'Ethical' / morally sound is a joke. Customer Service have at times made out my complaint was trivial, a 'non issue', avoiding branded Visa terms such as 'Electron', 'Visa Debit'. Tried to make out the card issued by Smile is neither an Electron Card or a Visa Debit, which is boll*cks.
    The letter received was even signed 'D. Myszor' (as in Miser! - well I do watch the pennies/and the banks), which I am assured is not taking the p*ss, but is really the person's name dealing with the complaint. They also employ an 'A. Mugg' I'm presume. Having this detail checked too, because nothing worse than arrogant departments having their little 'in' jokes.

    This has taken hours upon hours of research, to narrow down the complaint and get a result which Smile/Cooperative couldn't back out of, sorry not accepting the offer of £18, but I expect Smile to publish an Apology on their Website, and ways in which Customers can reclaim fees incurred, which they have agreed to repay me. Doubt they will agree - so will forward complaint to Ombudsman for resolution.

    Cooperative/Smile state they made this move because they didn't want to pay a second fee to Visa International in relation to having two card bin numbers 4508(Electron) and 4988(Debit). I bet their thinking that paying that fee might have been cheaper than paying back all the fees/charges incurred by customers as a result of this BIG Mistake. If you have had to pay charges as a result of this - make a complaint.
    Originally posted by tightarsey
    Thanks for your excellent posts re electron issues.
    I too have a similar issue in that my co-op visa debit is still being classed as electron in some retail/on line outlets. I spoke to co-op who indeed said that they had simply rebadged the card to visa debit BUT then went on to say they kept the same BIN 4508 which still in some cases comes up as electron. They said it was up to the retailers to up date their system to take account of this change in card "type". When I asked why they did'ntjust give a visa debit BIN I was told that that number was for their current a/c holders and all the benefits that card gave ie no authorisation,cheque guarantee etc etc , these are not afforded those with basic cashminder a/c.
    This brings me on to the AID (Application Id)

    This is simply a reference on the chip, that must match that of the card reader before they can "talk" to each other.

    The card reader will have a list of Aid numbers that it can do business with, when you stick your card into the machine it checks if your card belongs to a recognised card scheme by cross referencing the number on the chip with its list.

    With reference to the co op card, the aid is electron, but has a visa debit label, but as electron is going to be in the list on the card machine, it works.

    In places that don't accept electron, they omit the electron aid from their card machines/tills so when its swiped the machines says "your not on the list so we can't do business"

    Positive Authorisation Mandatory Service Code.

    The AID number has absolutely nothing to do with your card being online or offline. It is just there to make sure the equipment is singing off the same hymn sheet.

    The only number that dictates whether your card is online or off is a PMC ( Positive Authorisation Mandatory Service Code. x0x for offline cards and x2x for online cards. There is no what of seeing that number its embedded in the chip.
    X2X require authorisation. So could co-op just change/add the AID to their existing visa debit cards and use that BIN.
    Thanks
  • tightarsey
    Update:Formal Complaint now going to Financial Ombudsman
    Attention all Co-operative / Smile Visa Electron Cardholders.

    Finally at the point of taking the !!!8216;Visa Electron cards reclassified as Visa Debit!!!8217; Complaint to the Financial Ombudsman. I need help to concisely combine all the problems Cardholders have had (still having!) regarding being charged Visa Debit Card fees when attempting to use as their Co-operative Visa Electron Card or Smile Visa Electron Card.

    It mostly affects Travel/Airline sites where they distinguish between Visa Debit / Visa Electron Card Payments. Fees are charged for Visa Debit, but not generally for Visa Electron. Ryanair are the exception, they charge the same for both Visa Debit and Visa Electron, with no fee for prepaid Mastercard.
    Aer Lingus
    Bmibaby.com
    Flybe.com
    flythomascook.com

    If you have been (since 1st Oct 2010) or a currently being charged a Transaction Fee for using your Visa Electron Card (card must show the Visa Electron symbol) due to it being reclassified a Visa Debit Card, list the website and the fee incurred. I!!!8217;ll summarise the list of problem as part of the complaint. Or if you are unable to use your card on certain site such as Aer Lingus, as the card type is unrecognized and have had to use a different card to make the transaction (as I did). Need a list of fees for each airline, difference charges between Visa Electron / Visa Debit. Thanks for the help!

    TAGS: Formal Complaint,Financial Ombudsman,Financial Services Authority,FSA,Co-operative,Cooperative,Coop,Smile,Visa,Visa Electron,Cooperative Visa Electron,Co-operative Visa Electron,Coop Visa Electron, Cooperative Visa Debit, Co-operative Visa Debit, Co-op Visa Debit,Cooperative Visa Card,Co-operative Visa Card,Smile Visa Electron,Visa Debit,Smile Visa Debit, Aer Lingus.com, bmibaby.com, flythomascook.com, flybe.com, Visa Fee,Visa Debit Card Fee, Visa Electron Fee, Transaction, Transaction Fee,Transaction Problem,Airline Charge Charges,Mastercard,Solo,Switch, bin number,4508,4988,Cardholder,reclassified,Problem,£ 10 fee,fee per flight,£4.50 per flight,Card fee,Booking Fee.
    Last edited by tightarsey; 14-01-2011 at 2:06 PM.
    • StuieUK34
    • By StuieUK34 14th Jan 11, 3:28 PM
    • 1,751 Posts
    • 870 Thanks
    StuieUK34
    Hiya,
    I'm with you on this, but for the opposite reasons.... I dont like paying airline fee's or any fee's to be honest
    However, i like the idea of having my Co-Op card appear as a Visa Debit card, purely for the reason that my credit rating sucks, so therefore i have a basic account....
    So when i goto shops, or petrol stations even, i like the fact that i can use my card in the Chip & Pin machines in the forecourt as opposed to queueing in the shop to pay the bill....
    HOWEVER...... am finding that most petrol stations flash up DECLINED as soon as i put the card in, despite having thousands in my account, so therefore still have to go in the shop to pay..... And when it comes round to hiring a car in Las Vegas and Orlando in June, i dont use Credit Cards, and the Car rental firms confirm they accept VISA DEBIT cards as 'security style holds'.......
    If i turn up and they say you cant have a car cos your card is an Electron, despite saying DEBIT on there, i will be pretty stuck to get to where i need to get to!
    So i need to get my card as a proper Debit card!
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