Update: From 2010, Ryanair customers will no longer be able to use Visa Electron to avoid credit card fees when booking with Ryanair.
Ryanair's replacement for the Visa Electron was the prepaid Mastercard. However, these cards are rarely free to buy and the transaction charges are higher than any other form of payment.
In late 2011, Ryanair changed their policy again. Going forward, only Ryanair-branded prepaid Mastercards will be accepted.
The information on this page is therefore now irrelevant.
The low-cost airline Ryanair charges a credit card fee of five euros each way and per person, which means that a family of six flying to Spain and back will pay a colossal 60 euros in credit card fees. The only way around this by using a Visa Electron card. EasyJet doesn't charge for the use of Electron cards either, though their standard credit card fee is not as draconian as Ryanair's. On this page you can find details of if and how you can get a Visa Electron in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Spain and Germany.
See also: Ryanair Credit Card Fees - an airline spokesman defends the charge.
Visa Electron Cards in the UKBarclays, Smile (an internet bank) and Halifax will allow you to 'downgrade' your account to one with an Electron card. But this could cause you other problems, as not all vendors accept Electron.
The only bank I know of that will offer you both a standard debit card and an Electron card is Abbey. However, Abbey is phasing the card out.
Another option is to get a 'gift card' which, rather than being connected to your bank account, you 'charge it' with money. This usually involves a small commission, but not as much as Ryanair's credit card fees. Barclays, Natwest and the Post Office all have gift cards. The post office also has a 'Travel Money Card' which operates in a similar way.
The following banks in the UK no longer issue Electron cards: Lloyds, Nationwide, HSBC, Alliance and Leceister and Cooperative Bank.