Millions of euros stuck on expiring anonymous transit cards

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Translink, the company behind the public transport smart cards, has millions of euros left over from people who do not reclaim the balance on their expired anonymous cards. The cards expire after 5 years, AD reports.

The public transport smart card was introduced on a large scale 5 years ago. This means that the bulk of the 6.7 million cards currently in circulation will expire during this and next year. Once the card expires, the remaining balance can no longer be used. Users can reclaim it by written request, but this removes the anonymity.

Anonymous cards always have to have balance on them if you want to use them to travel on public transport. For example, train travelers always have to have a minimum of 20 euros credit on the anonymous card. This makes it tricky to travel the card empty.

According to Translink, about 2.1 million cards have already expired. The company can not say what will happen to the approximately 20 million euros of credit that were left on the expired cards, only stating that the money is currently in a "risk free bank account." It will only be clear in about 1.5 years how much money has not been reclaimed from expired cards.

Travelers organization Rover is annoyed about how difficult it is to reclaim the balance on the expired card, and that the process eliminates anonymity. The organization wants a much more user-friendly method. "A form must be completed with all your personal details and your bank details, while you had opted for an anonymous card", Sanne van Galen of Rover said to the AD. Rover has launched an action in which they call on travelers to send them their expired cards. Rover will claim a refund and use the money to lobby for a more customer-friendly public transport card system.