Can I use my WeSwap card on a cruise and on a plane?

Your WeSwap Prepaid Mastercard works just like a debit or credit card and can be used to pay for things in shops, restaurants and to withdraw cash. However, your WeSwap card behaves slightly differently when on a cruise or on a plane and, as a result, we’d recommend avoiding using it where possible.

There are two main reasons your WeSwap card may not work whilst on a cruise ship/on a plane:

  • The merchant is requesting a security deposit (for example when you check in at hotels) and
  • The merchant is offline. These are both very common when on a cruise/on a plane.

The WeSwap card shouldn’t be used for security deposits because these merchants typically estimate your final bill and “block” the relevant amount on your card to cover them against non-payment, leaving that amount temporarily unavailable to spend. With a credit card or debit card, this generally doesn't impact you, as it simply uses up some of your available credit limit. But with WeSwap, or indeed any prepaid card, because you have pre-loaded the funds, it has the effect of reducing the balance available to spend.

Sometimes these ‘pre-authorisations’ can be large and may remain in place for up to 30 days (even after you've settled your bill), so we recommend that you use a different card for security deposits. You can, of course, use your WeSwap card to settle your final bill at the end.

Other times the transaction may fail completely because the merchant is offline. Normally a declined transaction is visible to us, but when we don’t see any failed transactions, it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen but it does imply that the issue was on the merchant side.

This happens when the connection between the merchant and the bank fails and other times it can simply be that the merchant or machine are offline. It’s common for a cruise/plane to have an offline POS station.

When a merchant is offline, the merchant cannot access directly the cards account to verify that the funds are available.

With a bank debit card, the merchant allows the transactions, even though he can’t check the balance of the account because the issuing bank guarantees funds. With Pre-paid cards as there is no guarantee there will be funds in the account when the merchant will attempt to settle, the merchant declines or refuses to accept the transaction in the first place.

This is specific to all pre-paid cards and not just WeSwap.

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