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How to Avoid the Foreign Transaction Fee Added to Your Charge Card

A “How dare you!” email from an angry customer! A few days after making a booking online and paying the deposit online by credit card, the email arrives in the merchant’s In Box with customer outraged, accusing the merchant of making a charge to their card without their permission.

The merchant responds to the customer immediately pointing out the following:

1. The merchant did not make the additional charge.

2. The merchant could not make the charge as we do not see or capture the card details at any time.

3. If the customer were to check the details on their card statement they would see that the merchant is not the beneficiary.

What a lot of credit card customers do not realize is that some of the providers of these cards are charging a Foreign Transaction Fee for their own account. The customer sees the charge and thinks it is the merchant that is the beneficiary but it is the card provider that is the beneficiary.

In recent times, the card providers have modified their terms of use and advised their customers in the usual manner, but it seems that hardly anyone reads these pages and pages of fine print. So card users are not aware that their cards will attract this additional charge.

It seems that the amount of this Foreign Transaction Fee is at the card provider’s discretion and is usually around three percent of the amount being paid. Visa and MasterCard charge one percent and the card issuer adds what they feel like to get to the total charged to you.

Many customers think this charge is unfair especially when they are not paying in a foreign currency. Merchants may bill in United States dollars, yet some card providers charge their American customers paying in United States dollars a Foreign Transaction Fee.

Not all cards attract this Foreign Transaction Fee. It’s a good idea to call your card provider and ask to speak to a senior employee as some junior employees are also unaware of this charge. Junior bank employees are providing incorrect information as they too are unaware. Ask your card provider which of your cards will attract this Foreign Transaction Fee.

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