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Christmas chaos One4All gift card backlog may not be resolved until after Christmas

The Central Bank said it may investigate the situation

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The company behind the One4All gift cards claims it has fixed a glitch that has denied thousands of customers activating the e-money vouchers.

But it could be days before a backlog of queries are cleared, it has emerged.

This means it is likely to be after Christmas before the money on many of the cards can be spent.

And the Central Bank said it may investigate the situation that has rendered some cards inoperable up to now.

It emerged earlier this week that thousands of consumers have been left frustrated by problems trying to activate the cards on the One4All gift cards.

They are waiting to get personal identification numbers (pins) so they can activate the e-money cards. This means they cannot use them.

People who get a gift card are required, under EU anti-money laundering rules, to create an account, download an app, put in an eight-digit code and upload photo identification before they can use the chip and pin digital cards.

But incorrect information on the One4All website meant people were unable to successfully carry out the process of validating the cards.

And many calls to helpline phones were not been answered as customer service staff have been overwhelmed with the number of calls, while a third of them are off with Covid-19.

Hundreds of firms have given staff One4All cards as a bonus to staff thank them for their efforts during the pandemic.

The company benefits from a tax break that allows employers to give tax-free bonuses of up to €500 a year to each worker if the money is transferred through a gift card rather than in cash.

Anti-money laundering rules mean that if the cards have a value of more than €150 they have to be verified online before they can be used.

Dozens of people have taken to social media to criticise problems activating the cards.

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Angry customers have complained of “serious customer service issues” trying to activate the chip and pin cards.

The Central Bank confirmed that GVS Prepaid (Europe) Limited, the company behind the One4All cards, is authorised by it as an electronic money institution.

It said it does not comment on supervision of specific firms.

But it added: “While the Central Bank does not investigate individual consumer complaints, the Central Bank may decide to investigate serious or systemic general complaints about regulated financial service providers.”

It said it expects all regulated firms to take a consumer-focused approach and to act in their customers' best interests at all times.

EU anti-money laundering legislation means photo identification verification is needed before e-money gift cards with values between €150 and €500 can be used.

In a statement, the card issuer said: “One4All would like to apologise to any customers who have experienced difficulties in activating their One4all chip and pin gift cards or experienced delays in reaching our customer care team over the past number of days.”

The delay in activating the cards has now been resolved and customers have either already received their pin or will receive it within the normal timeframe as per the firm’s terms and conditions, it said.

“One4All would like to assure customers and retail partners that we are working hard to diligently respond to all enquiries,” it said.

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