Credit Card Foreign Transaction Fee Settlement

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I just got a letter regarding a class-action lawsuit claiming that “Visa, MasterCard, their member banks, and Diners Club conspired to set and conceal markups and fees, typically of 1-3%, on foreign transactions.” I guess the companies settled, and “those persons who made a foreign transaction using a Visa-, MasterCard-, or Diners Club- branded credit, charge or debit card between February 1, 1996 and November 8, 2006 are members of the Settlement Damages Class.”

Don’t hold your breath for these settlement claims. They can take years to process. Just file a claim and hope for a nice surprise somewhere down the line.

I spent over a thousand dollars this year on foreign transactions, but I used my Capital One card, which didn’t charge me any exchange fees at all. See more in my post about the Best ATM or Credit Card For Foreign Travel?

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  1. wow…timing huh 🙂

    i did spend couple of grand last year…still debating whether to claim a refund…citi charged me about 200$…lets see how much of it comes back (if and when that happens)

  2. I spent a few thousands overseas as well over the years on a CC.

    Jonathan, is the website safe? They are requiring all the credit card #’s etc.

    This is a legit site right?

  3. I’ve probably spent several thousand dollars from 1996 to 2006, but I have no idea how I can find out my exact amounts.

    There is another class-action settlement brewing for people who purchased DRAM (computer memory) between April 1, 1999 and June 30, 2002.

    These class-action lawsuits always seem to be such a hassle to file claims for. The only people that are going to see big money from this are the lawyers 🙂

  4. I also received notice of this in a credit card statement, can’t remember if it was Citi or another issuer. So in my opinion it should be legit.

  5. Wisely Sunshine says

    Very interesting! I traveled oversea at least one a year, but I don’t think I had ever been charge for any fee when I used my credit cards. Maybe I just didn’t see it or some.

  6. I have had tons of fees charged. But its specifically written “conversion fee”, so I dont know if that counts because I was aware of the fee.

    Lets see if I am able to find it because I know exactly the months that I travelled. I would look at the month I travlled + the following month.

  7. There is another class action lawsuit on carfax. It’s easy to join in but the compensation is only a free carfax report in the future.

  8. Carfax Settlement Link – Must have purchased a CarFax report before 10/06.

    That 1-3% “conversion” fee is exactly what they are talking about, because you only get see the fee on your statement after you’ve already made the purchase. The fee is somewhere in the fine print I’m sure, I guess they just decided it wasn’t disclosed adequately.

  9. I am very certain Google will face a class action lawsuit on the Google Adwords click fraud in the near future.

  10. It was worse than that with one of my credit card issuers. They included the fee in my online balance but never listed the transaction. I had to call them to find out why I couldn’t balance my account even with their numbers.

    I’m hesitant to provide my credit card information without confirmation from a trusted party. The deadline for filing a claim is January 9, 2008, so I think I’ll wait until I hear from one of my credit card companies.

  11. I just submitted my claim. Thanks, Jonathan.

  12. I heard capital one doesn’t charge the transaction fee explicitly, but gives an undesirable exchange rate. Jonathan, did you notice that or it’s just a rumor?

  13. My Capital One exchange rate was actually right on, essentially the exact same as the interbank rate. There was no 1% fee “wrapped” in the exchange rate, sometimes called the retail exchange rate. I just remembered that I wrote about this before – you can see the exact numbers here:

    Capital One: Great For International Travel

  14. I got the notice with my Citibank MC statement, so I think it’s legit.

  15. fine print says

    People, you can file a claim regardless of if you weren’t specifically charged a transaction fee.

    If you read the fine print of the claim you will see that they also charged inflated exchange rates. Thus making ALL foreign transactions eligible for a refund.

    I urge you all to try and submit a claim if you can. It will help offset your future hit (you know, the one where the CC compaines simply pass on these expenses to us!).

  16. the settlement will be approved in its finality on Nov 7, 2007 so hopefully shortly thereafter they will begin refunds

  17. I got something in the mail to. It came from my bank, HSBC, also as some of you have mentioned it had. Even though it was only 1% transaction fees, extra money would be nice. The irony now is I just got yesterday a terms level change announcing an increase to 3%! Guess they have to get back at the consumers and get back what they have lost in this suit and join like everyone else with the high foreign fees.

  18. Mickey Dee says

    I had over 30,000 dollars in purchases with master card and visa with in that period, all you have to do is call your credit card company and they will have to give you those statements for the past eight years if they no ask for a supervisor you will get them they have to because of the class action. i called and all ready received min and have filed the paper work on line . It said you may get it all back now that would be nice about $1,000 for me

  19. I too had over $10,000 in foreign transactions. Thanks for the tips!

  20. I lived overseas for 5 years and paid UK school tuition with a mastercard every year, yippie!! Just emailed the claims administrator and they say over 80,000 folks have claimed a refund, so I wonder how they’ll prioritize who gets the lion’s share first? Bet it will be the corporate accounts instead of vacationers.

    I’m also involved in the Lipuma vs. Amex lawsuit (same deal, foreign transaction fees), case settled in 2005 and still in appeals!

    Wish there was some website listing all the class actions going on!

  21. i am just debating with citi to remove the charge and they refuse. any thoughts other than switching cc company?

  22. Just received a mailing from US District Court Settlement Administrator.

  23. I also received this claim form and took Option 2. It would be easier to settle for Option 1 and just the $25 but I sat down and thought about it and ended up estimating that I spent 9 weeks outside of the US during those 10 years. I guess for Option 2 some intermediary will come up with a reasonable estimate of my refund based on typical daily foreign purchases. That is fine with me. I am simply positive that I spent more than $2500 in foreign transactions during that 10-year span so am not going to simply settle for the $25.

  24. If the credit card companies were busted for this practice, why are they still doing it?

  25. Wiley,

    If the credit card comes with a Terms & Conditions pamphlet disclosing how much foreign transaction fees are, then it’s perfectly legal and you automatically agree to their fees when you use the card. The lawsuit is alleging that these guys never disclosed the true amount they were charging for foreign transactions before June 2006.

    Now I’m sure they disclose all their fees in their pamphlets to avoid any more suits in the future.

  26. A.Y. Grant says

    I lived overseas for 13 years and my claim resulted in $99.23 refund which I cannot collect because the necessary additional claim form linked to the refund (IRS emailed me), is NOT a valid website, or so it says……….

  27. I am a bit upset. Just realized i missed the deadline and it doesn’t look like there is any exceptions. I spent 26 weeks overseas and would have selected option 2. I am doubtful that I would have recieved the $25 for each week, but that sure would have been nice. Best case maybe $100, but still better than nothing!!!

  28. A.Y. Grant says

    UPDATE TO April 30th, 2008 post I had a response from the ccf staff…..they did NOT send that email, so everyone look out for that fraud. They did send these links which appear to be legit. and

  29. I supplied my info back in 2007 along with all my foreign purchases.
    I have NOT HEARD A WORD regarding this settlement.
    Has any payout been given as of 29July2010?

  30. John,

    no one has gotten any payout because the card companies have filed an appeal against the settlement (typical). Chances are this thing will carry on for another 2-3 years since it’s filed in the NYC court system (backlogged). Just make sure you keep your address current with the settlement administrators if you move.

    go to the settlement website for more info.

  31. Just got my settlement checks today!!! Total of $722. This is lower than I thought but they had more claims than expected.

    Also everyone from this class action will be enrolled in another class action automatically, which will be handled in 2012. Don’t have to do anything else but wait for another check!


  33. Willaim Knight, if any check is for your deceased wife, it’s your check now. All that was hers transferred to you. Go and cash it. As long as the bank knows she died, they’ll likely not give you any trouble.

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