Travellers with a Ukash prepaid card will have to pay a fee to transfer money back to their bank account if they don't spend their balance before their travel cards are shut down on Tuesday 21 February.
Ukash, a prepaid Mastercard you can reload and use to spend in euros or dollars when travelling, blamed intense competition for its decision to close its service next month.
The company's card issuer, Prepaid Financial Services (PFS), has now confirmed that both existing Ukash cards – the Travel Money Prepaid Card and the Prepaid Mastercard – will be closed as of 21 February.
If you're a Ukash cardholder, you'll be contacted via email with information about how to transfer the outstanding balance on your card if you're unable to – or choose not to – spend the cash overseas in the next six weeks.
Ukash used to appear among our top-pick prepaid foreign-currency card providers as recently as 2015, but dropped down the rankings. The cards used to be free of any monthly or sign-up fees, though in April last year a series of fees were rolled out and a charge was introduced for transactions that had been free.
Check out our Prepaid Travel Cards guide for info on our current top picks.
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I'm a Ukash cardholder – what happens next?The programme supporting the Ukash card is closing on 21 February and customers are being given two options:
- You can spend your remaining balance before the closure date.
- You can request a transfer of the balance to a nominated bank account – but this will be subject to "terms and fees".
If you choose the second option you'll have to submit the following details to PFS at firstname.lastname@example.org:
- A valid proof of identification
- A copy of a recent bank statement of your nominated account
- Confirmation that the funds belong to you and that on payment of the card balance, you discharge PFS of any future claims
In its email to cardholders, the company stated: "Upon receipt of the documents and completion of checks by our verification team, the balance of your Ukash prepaid card account will be transferred to your nominated bank account".
PFS declined to reveal how many customers will be affected by the closure of the Ukash cards, but a spokesperson told us that "all customers were contacted by email, and if the email bounced, the customer would then be notified in writing to their postal address provided".
How much will I be charged to transfer my balance?
PFS refused to give us details about its fees, although a spokesperson told us "standard transfer fees" will apply, "as per the terms and conditions". Under the PFS terms and conditions, it lists a £4 charge to transfer a domestic payment to a UK bank account.
What will happen if I don't take any action by 21 February?
In essence, nothing – the funds will remain in your 'account' despite the fact your card will become inactive. Any funds left in your expired account can still be transferred to your bank account after 21 February.
Who should I contact to discuss the closure of my Ukash card?
Cardholders wishing to learn more about the closure of their accounts are being advised to contact PFS's customer services team via email at email@example.com.
What's the reason for closing the cards?
A spokesperson for PFS told us: "The currency card market is very competitive and the providers of the old programme, known formerly as the Ukash programme, have withdrawn from the market."