G2A’s payment service charges you money for not logging in

Some users have discovered that G2A Pay charges an inactivity fee if you don’t log in to your account for 180 days. This is a payment service (a bit like PayPal) operated by G2A, which you probably know as a major marketplace for videogame keys.

The story comes to us via Reddit, where a G2A user posted a screengrab of the inactivity fee notification. Indie dev Dan Marshall posted it to Twitter, where some of his followers were so shocked they suspected it was fake. But the inactivity fee is real, and can be found in G2A Pay’s terms and conditions (section two, item 20):

“If User does not log in through the Website to User’s accont [sic] for over 180 (one hundred eighty) days, the Company is entitled to charge the User’s G2A Wallet inactivity fee in amount of EUR 1 (one) per each month […] The Company is also entitled to terminate User’s G2A Wallet, if there is no sufficient funds on it which allows to charge the inactivity fee.”

We asked G2A why they charge these fees. Here’s what they said:

“It costs money to upkeep accounts. This includes server maintenance, IT infrastructure, etc. Sometimes all this is done for an account that has seen no activity for years and only has a few cents on its G2A Wallet. We want to know which accounts are still in use and keep these accounts active, and we want to catch inactive ones before they have been that way for years. We don’t need these users to buy anything, just log in at least once every six months, just so that we know they are still with us.

“As a supervised financial institution, we must meet many requirements related to the monitoring and servicing of each account. We get regularly audited by auditors from the Big Four accounting firms and we have to back up and explain all our accounts and the funds stored on these accounts.

“We work in over 170 countries around the world, all with different and varying jurisdictions. After a certain amount of time has passed, accounts that have not seen activity for a long time may be deemed as abandoned, and the funds stored on there may become a liability. The law may require us to hand over those funds to an appropriate government institution, and we have to prepare for that possibility.

“It is a normal practice to have maintenance or inactivity fees for accounts that are deemed no longer in use. Many companies that in some part have to manage finances have a similar type of fee, however, in most cases it’s significantly higher. Many of them also require their users to make a purchase within a certain period of time, which is not the case for G2A Pay.”

Related: how does G2A work and is it legit?

G2A also add that “an e-mail is sent three days before the charge to remind the user and allow them to log in and easily avoid the fee” and that “if there are no funds on [the user’s G2A] Wallet, Pay does not charge anything.”

Many of the replies on Reddit question the legality of this inactivity fee, citing gift card laws. In the sense that gift cards are repositories for a cash balance, they’re comparable to a user’s wallet in G2A Pay. Thus, some comments are assuming that laws regulating gift cards in certain territories, such as California and Canada, might also apply here. We asked G2A for clarity on this point, and they said:

“Account balances are not the same as gift cards. You can use a gift card to recharge the balance on your G2A account, but you can also recharge it a myriad of other ways, therefore the two are not the same. If someone just has a G2A gift card, then the inactivity fee does not apply to it. Once the balance has been transferred, it is considered redeemed and no longer a gift card. We store these funds for the users so that they can use them later if they please, and we do not impose a time limit during which they have to use the funds by. However, keeping the funds in that state, as we said before, costs us money, so when we see the user is no longer active (and we define ‘active’ loosely, they just have to log in two times a year) then the inactivity fee comes into play.”

It’s also not clear if the laws that certain Reddit users believe exist, in fact do. California’s law, for instance, says dormancy fees on gift cards can be charged, but only if the remaining value is $5 or less, the fee is $1 a month or less, and the card has been inactive for 24 consecutive months.