The Great Financial Ripoff

Suppose a major U.S. bank abruptly blocked the ability of its clients to withdraw funds from their accounts. Or suppose a major U.S. credit/debit card provider suddenly refused to honor the card for purchases or ATM withdrawals. One would think there would be an enormous uproar. Certainly one would expect that it would become instant news

Yet Visa International has pulled the plug on what I believe are at least thousands, and perhaps a great deal more, of people worldwide, and no one unaffected by this even seems to be aware of it. The major media have totally ignored the problem, perhaps because it doesn’t affect anyone considered important enough to matter.

I’m referring to, a service that allows individuals and businesses to send and receive money online. The heart of the epassporte program is Visa Virtual, an account that is accessed at ATMs using a Visa electron card. On September 2, without any warning and without any coherent explanation, Visa suspended the Visa Virtual portion of all epassporte account holders, effectively freezing their funds. A few weeks later, they took the additional step of removing all information about these funds from individual epassporte online sites. So not only do these account holders not know when or even if they will get their money back, they may have difficulty proving how much money they are owed.

I don’t have any information on how many people hold epassporte accounts, or how much money is involved, but I believe the total is in the millions of dollars. Why is no one complaining, loudly and clearly? Much of epassporte’s business, I think, caters to activities on the fringe, such as online pornography and online gambling, and many of the people most affected may live and work in third world countries. Yet these people are being screwed by Visa, a company that doesn’t even have the decency to explain why the funds were frozen, and to give some indication as to when and how the funds will be returned to their rightful owners.


The visa card and epassporte are two seperate entities. Visa previously allowed cards to be issued with that organisation. That has stopped.People can still get their money etc but they have to get it from epassporte.

“At the request of St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla National Bank (SKNA), on September 2, 2010, Visa blocked network access for prepaid cards issued by SKNA and operated by to address certain program deficiencies. is a third-party agent that works with SKNA.
Epassporte was dodgy as hell, mainly an outlet for people to buy porn (including child porn), illegal software, and services, dodging gambling laws and money laundering.. Not really got much sympathy for anyone who used the service.

There have also been countless investigations against epassporte over the years for theft from customers, and irregular activit. You would have to be a bit daft to put money on their cards without not checking them out. A quick google search should be enough to warn off anyone with half a brain.
They can't get their money from epassporte unless it's in the wallet section. But most people set their accounts so payments went to the Virtual, so they could withdraw cash from ATMs. So they can't get funds that went into epassporte when it was configured that way.

They can refigure their accounts so that any future funds go to the wallet. But they can't get the money out of the wallet unless they have a bank account to link it to. Moreover, funds cannot be moved from Virtual to wallet.

Any online service is likely to be abused if it's possible. The fact remains that many people who were operating legally have been left high and dry by Visa. If Visa was really so concerned about illegal activities, they could have provided advance notice, so that people could have changed their accounts.


as i say, theyve been under investigation countless times for years, why would any trust a bank based in the caribean.

For online payment i fail to understand why people dont use paypal, and for atm transactions there are plenty of reputable banks issuing pre-pay currency cards, we have both euro and dollar pre pay master cards where we get exchange rates at the best rate in the uk by far.
Paypal requires having a bank account. Many people in third world countries do not have bank accounts, and even those who do may not be able to get the information needed to link to paypal.

This illustrates the problem perfectly. People who live in the West assume payment options that simply aren't available, or easily available, to those in the third world.