An Post had to freeze about 50,000 pre-paid “currency” cards because of an ongoing accounting scandal at Wirecard.
German fintech company Wirecard filed for insolvency last week after admitting it had lost €1.9 billion from a largely fictional balance sheet.
Last week the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK ordered An Post to cease operating the “Currency Cards”.
Subsequently, An Post confirmed that they had suspended all the cards issued by Wirecard Card Solutions until further notice.
Update- Late on Monday 29th June , the UK FCA said the UK subsidiary of Wirecard could resume payment activities from midnight. An Post was working to restore the currency card service for customers and it was expected to happen at some point late on Tuesday 30th June.
An Post aimed the currency card at travellers. It allowed customers to purchase and top up multiple currencies on a single card.
It’s fair to assume that most people used these cards for a one-off holiday. They would not be used for day to day spending. Therefore we don’t expect many people to have financial problems because of the frozen cards. (Especially with the current lockdown situation)
Alternatives To the Currency Card from An Post
It’s surprising to hear there are 50,000 active cards because the exchange rates used by An Post are not great.
Most people will now be using the likes of N26, Bunq or Revolut when spending abroad. These cards have become very popular in Ireland in the last 2 years.
These 3 cards would have better exchange rates and lower fees than the An Post currency card.
Of the three, N26 and Bunq have full banking licences whilst Revolut doesn’t
Wirecard’s share price is down about 97% in 2020, having traded as high as 140 euros per share as recently as April, and at over 100 euros in mid-June.