Credit Cards

Fee Alert: Watch Out for the New Foreign Transaction Fees

Comments 71 Comments

I first heard rumblings about changes to foreign transaction fees last week. A reader wrote in a complaint about her credit card charging a 3 percent foreign conversion fee on an international airline ticket purchase made online in U.S. dollars. Here's an excerpt from her email:

I have a problem with Citibank MasterCard which imposed a 3% foreign transaction
fee (~$150) on my online purchase of tickets with Malaysia Airlines
recently. The online purchase took place in New York at work. I had no
idea of this new rule until I read the credit card statement. I called Citibank
customer service, they'll not waive the fee because Malaysia Airlines is a
foreign-based company. I kept telling them I did the online internet purchase in
NYC not outside U.S., and I should not be charged for the extra fee.

ForeignCurrencyFees It seems like a fluke – but these days, don't put anything past the credit card companies. Then I got a letter from Bank of America confirming my suspicions. You can click on the image to read the scanned version. Here's the text of the notification:

We are expanding the definition of "Foreign Transactions" to include transactions in U.S. dollars if they are made or processed outside the United States. As a result, these transactions (posting on or after June 1, 2009) will be subject to the Foreign Transaction Fee, currently 2 percent of the U.S. dollar amount of each such Foreign Transaction. This fee is in addition to any other applicable transaction fee.

Amendment to Your Credit Card Agreement:
Effective on June 1, 2009, we are replacing the definition of "Foreign Transactions" in the section of your agreement titled Words Used Often in this Agreement with the following:

"Foreign Transaction" means any transaction made in a foreign currency, and any transaction made in U.S. dollars if the transaction is made or processed outside of the United States. Foreign transactions include, for example, online purchases from foreign merchants.

Blerg. Foreign transaction fees were already one of the more heinous credit card charges – the fee amount is usually buried in with the converted currency amount and is very difficult for a traveling cardholder to identify.

Now it sounds like you'll have to worry about picking out these fees from purchases made within the United States too. In particular, watch out for booking flights or hotels with international companies or shopping online with merchants that aren't based in the U.S. 

It's difficult to tell from this disclosure exactly what will count as a foreign transaction. If you spot a foreign transaction fee on your credit card statement for a purchase made from within the U.S., please share your report with us by email or in the comments section below. We'd love to compile a list of retailers and companies that are adopting this new definition as they conduct their business.

Emily's personal finance expert and former TransUnion credit bureau insider. Emily writes about credit reports, credit cards, loans and personal finance as the editor.
  • Mark Arthur

    FYI, I recently received a notice from B of A that they were “enlarging their definition of foreign transactions” and would be charging FOUR PERCENT for them. Can anyone point me to different cards or banks (not on govm’t life- support)that don’t charge this ridiculous fee, or charge less? Is there ANY competition left in this universe? Someone needs to show them we’re paying attention…

  • Mark Arthur

    Oops – I see that the notice scanned in the main post is the same one I received, so my info is redundant. Still, any thoughts on how to divorce these clowns and find a better card would be appreciated.

  • EmilyPeters

    Hi Mark – Sorry to hear that you got the notice too. Unfortunately, there are very few credit card issuers immune to these fee and rate changes. Capital One doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees. You can browse Capital One offers here:

  • David

    I bought an item from a Hong Kong merchant called DealExtreme and paid for it using my Paypal account. I fund my Paypal account with my CITI credit card. When the charge from Paypal showed up on my credit card statement it also included the merchants name and location. (PAYPAL *DEALEXTREME 4029357733 HKG) CITI charged me a 3% foreign exchange fee on this charge because they said it was a foreign merchant. I disputed the charge, explaining they were paying Paypal which is in the United States and that Paypal is the one who paid the merchant in Hong Kong. They said it was foreign merchant and refuse to take off the charge. I then asked them to give me the address where they sent the payment. After three phone calls and numerous emails, I still have not gotten the billing address which would show the payment went to Paypal and not the Hong Kong merchant. I am at a dead end. Can anyone recommend what steps I can take from this point? David mechanicsville, Virginia

  • Emily

    Hi David – What a nightmare! Have you tried contacting PayPal about the charge?

  • San San Wong

    Citi Bank is definitely charging the 3% foreign transaction fee to items I bought online within the USA. The first one was a company based in Michigan (but headquartered in Canada with me trying to buy a game from Italy that they are ordering in bulk but I’m buying from them). Due to the “foreign” headquarter, they charged me the fee.
    They did take it off from me after I asked and told them I actually bought the item from the Michigan company, not Canada…
    Now they are doing it again after I booked a hotel for Hong Kong (apparently I booked it on a “foreign” company website).
    It’s annoying because I am not purposely looking at the website to think whether or not it will be foreign.. the new definitions are bogus!

  • San San Wong

    sorry, i forgot to mention: my booking at the hotel was made in English and in USD currency. That’s why I didn’t think it is a “foreign” transaction. Is there a way for me to argue it to my case with the citi bank rep?

  • Frustrated Citi Card Holder

    I was charged Foreign Transaction Fee by Citibank Mastercard for purchasing airline tickets on United Airlines from, NY. Yes, it is an international travel. But I was quoted in US dollars, and I also spoke to them at a US telephone number, and the receipt shows New York address. The travel is on US based airline.
    I got the Credit card statement today, and was surprised with the charge. While searching online, I stumbled on this page. I plan to call Citi Customer Service. Do I have a case? Thanks.

    • Mel

      I just went through a nightmare and advise anyone that holds a Citi Thank you Mastercard (based in the US) to avoid booking on foreign airlines such as British Airways. The credit card company will apply a Foreign Transaction Fee and they will call that as legitimate even if the ticket receipt shows US dollar and processed in New york. What the credit card company (Citicard Thank you) looks at is how the bank/Mastercard eventually pays British Airways using a currency currency to pounds. This is BS because this is entirely hidden to consumer. Lesson learned.. Perhaps British Airways should put up a disclaimer that your credit card company may charge a Foreign Transaction Fee.
      To Citibank Thank you company; No Thank you. Leave my money alone, greedy pigs, to pay your freaking CEO bonuses.

  • Sandy Simpson

    I recently had a foreign transaction fee assessed by Citibank AAdvantage Mastercard for an online purchase at Canadavet. This is a new card acquired in April 2009. When I saw the fee, I immediately called Citibank and they said it was a foreign transaction. I told them I purchased it online in US dollars. They gave me some hogwash about the company probably submitting the transaction in their currency. I called Canadavet and they said they did not do it that way. Too bad, so sad attitude from Citibank.
    Then I decided to make another purchase using my Bank of America Visa card since I had used them previously in July 2008 and January 2009 purchasing from Canadavet with no foreign transaction fee assessed. Well, here it is and I’m assessed another 3%. Luckily, I came across mail from BOA stating that they would be charging 3% on purchases made within the US in dollars when the company is outside the US. This was to take place June 1, 2009 and my merchandise posted on June 2. Dumb luck on my part.
    Then I looked at my Citibank statement again and called them to see if I could find out when their foreign transaction fee took affect. The customer service rep could not give me an exact date but said it was sometime in 2008. He’s supposed to send me literature on the effective date. This is nonsense. I can understand making a purchase with your credit card while you’re visiting a foreign country and being charged a fee but to purchase something on the web from the US in US dollars and be assessed a fee. This is ridiculous. I now wander what is going to happen to the online airline purchases I made in US dollars with foreign airlines (Air France and LAN). I have been billed for them on my Citibank Mastercard last month and did not notice a foreign transaction fee. I guess they will hit me with it next month. I also wonder what will happen with my hotel reservations. I have made reservations online with Radisson for my trip to South America and they are showing the fee in US dollars. I wonder if I will be charged extra once the bill is posted. Is there any Federal agency we can complain to?
    Frustrated Sandy

  • Brandon

    I also noticed the 3% fee in my Citi statement this month when I purchased plane tickets online from EVA Airways which is based in Taiwan. The transaction was in USD, and I’ve bought these tickets every year, this is the first time I’ve been charged this fee. I’ve contacted EVA Airways at their San Francisco/LA office, and they stated that this should not be considered a foreign charge.
    When I contacted Citi by phone and by email, I didn’t get a clear answer on if or when the definition of “foreign transaction fee” has been changed. One person said “recently,” and another person quoted “2005.” One email reply simply and conveniently ignored my question.
    My conlusion is that if the company’s address shows up as non-US in your statement, then the foreign exchange fee will be applied. In my case, the address of EVA Airways shows up as “TAIPEI, TAIWAN” in the statement.
    I’ve also contacted American Express, and what the agent told me concurs with what is in the agreement, that foreign exchange fee will be charged when the transaction occurs in foreign currency.
    I’ve contacted my local news station/newspaper and asked them to investigate this issue. I also plan to fire off some emails to my legislators and senators.
    In the meantime, I’m looking to Capital One, which does not charge a foreign exchange fee at all. But who knows, maybe they’ll follow the trend as well.

  • Tammey

    I just fought with B of A for 30 min. about several foreign transaction fees (3%) on my credit card. I bought several books from Abebooks online (set up like…with many sellers selling their books). Although I was invoiced from individual sellers with my totals in US $, and all sellers within the US…abebooks billed me and it turns out they are in Canada. I told B of A that I was invoiced by individuals within the US, not abebooks…they did finally reverse the charges, but told me that I needed to research where each company is HQ before I buy from them. I told them that was ridiculous! Abebooks sent me an email saying that they are trying to lobby congress to try and stop the banks from charging these fees.

  • birgit

    Like many I noticed the transaction fee for a British Airways airline ticket purchased on line in USD a couple of weeks ago. On calling my credit card bank three different agents (one telephone call) gave me conflicting information and basically said the problem was with BA. Finally I called BA and they confirmed that some customers have had this problem recently! However, BA claims that they only handle anything $$ on their US website and submit amounts in $$ to credit cards. — Calling back, the bank now told me that letter gone out in April regarding this. The wording was very vague to say the least. I insisted to be told what amount my $ purchase had been converted into. No answer. However, when I asked when this had gone into effect, they said April 1. This is incorrect as the notice states it to go into effect June 1. My ticket was bought May 27 but posted on the credit card June 2. !!! The bank credit card agent gave me a “one time curtsy waiver” of the fee. Bottom line: I shall put that card at the back of my wallet and find a new one that doesn’t favor such practices.

  • Mei

    I was charged the foreign transaction fee by CitiCard for my airline ticket. It was purchased online with a foreign airline company, but calculated and charged in US dollars (and the departure city in within US, so by all means it should not be regarded as a foreign transaction). I called the customer service, the rep told me a really ridiculous and stupid reason: she said even the airline company used foreign currency so Citi Bank needed to convert it to US dollar. I told her from the very beginning that airline company charged in US dollar, and I never receive any notice regarding this charge (I really don’t), so she said she will make a request for me on this fee. I will call them back tomorrow to see how they solve this issue. Anyway, I think the new foreign transaction fee totally makes no sense. What a greedy bank!!

  • Michelle

    Bank Of America is charging the foreign transaction fees. I purchased medication from a Canadian pharmacy which was processed and shipped from Ft. Lauderdale, FL. I purchased a book from an international author so how do I know where he lives? The book shipped from New York

  • Frustrated Citi Card customer

    I recently made charges to my Citi visa card for airline tickets from the Virgin Atlantic website. The trasaction was in US dollars. I was surprised to see a 3% foreign transaction fee in my statement. I spoke to Citi’s customer service who credited me 50% of the fee – to make me happy I guess. I think it was not a good enough attempt to appease a customer – I am still not happy.
    I have an American Express card also. I called American Express customer service to find out what their rules are. Amex only charges 2.7% for transactions in non-US dollars. I will definely be using my Amex card from now on.

  • Sunil

    I to had problems with Citi on a paypal transaction. I did however comb through the literature. The change specifically says will be charged on purchases “made” outside the US. They cannot legally substitue headquartered or processed for the term made. If there is a lawyer reading these posts and you would be interested in looking to file a class action suit I am interested in being the first person to sign up. Few people know but less than half of “U.S.” companies are headquartered in the U.S., is citi going to start charging a 3% fee on all transactions at Walmart? (not headquartered in the U.S.) How about when you buy a Toyota, Honda or basically any car but Ford (the last remaining U.S. company, and with their stake in Mazda I suppose even they could arguably be headquartered “outside the U.S.”) So I’ll reiterate, if you are a lawyer and want easy money, contact me and lets get this going. Also if you would be interested in joining a suit also contact me, if I can get enough people interested I’ll look for a lawyer myself. Set up email address
    for anyone who wants to contact me.

  • J

    I had an issue with Citi that they charged me on a British Air ticket that originated in the U.S. and was charged in U.S. Dollars (and booked through their U.S. phone number). Citi claimed that “we have no idea what will show up as a foreign transaction until the end of the month” … this seems very fishy to me, as well as absolutely sneaky and NON TRANSPARENT – if there is no way for a consumer to know up front that there is a foreign transaction taking place, how can a consumer make an informed decision?????

  • Ann

    I purchased flea medication was charged 1%. I paid through paypal and the package was shipped from North Dakota. PayPay denies they are responsible. My credit card company, VISA, states the seller processed the payment through a foreign bank and the fee was charged. I had no idea that it was a foreign company. I will not order on line again. Keep your stuff. I would rather pay more locally. The consumer is continually being ripped off. Do not use your credit card, get cash from your bank. It is the only way to stop the insanity.

  • Jason

    I was recently charged this fee as well and what stands out to me is isn’t this a violation of free trade? Citibank (in my case) or any other credit card company is essentially disadvantaging foreign companies or foreign-based companies based on this charge and in esssence disrupting free markets. Really, I think this is a distrubing trend that should be subject to a class action lawsuit.

  • Nikky

    Bank of America is def charging the fee. I bought some stuff on ebay using Paypal and I get slapped with a 3% transaction fee. Lord, they keep finding new ways to rip the small people off.

  • James D’Arrigo

    Same story, Virgin Airlines-Booked tickets in Henderson NV, cost quoted in US dollars, billed in US dollars, paid by Prudential credit card in the US, and on my statement in US dollars. I find it sneaky that they also did not put Prudential fee next to the amount on the statement. It was made to look like it came from Virgin but no it was a $50.33 foreign transaction fee billed to me by Prudential. It took four phone calls to Prudential to get it removed but I’ve just made more flight purchases and car hire this week, so I’m screwed again. Sent two emails to Virgin as I cannot find any disclosure that these fees would inccur. Called my local news station, contacted consumer affairs, contact VISA as we were told it was there fault,sent it out on Twitter, and going to contact senators and congressmen. This is a crime!!!!!
    I liked the guy who made a video for Youtube about the Airlines that damaged his guitar. I think me and my wife are going to put a video together about Prudential’s 3%. I want to give my 3% of disgust back to them.

  • Grunt

    I had the same experience with Citi Card and MakeMYTrip. I am waiting on a customer service written email from Citi to explain the charges when the charge was posted in USD and merchant’s address is in NY.

  • birgit

    Trying to get to the bottom of this issue, I asked my B of A “customer service agent” to give me details of the so-called foreign transaction. All I wanted to know was what the amount in the said foreign currency had been? I got NO answer. I hope someone can stop this scam!

  • Donna

    I just discovered this new rip off charge on my Citi card. I bought a product online from a company called Pawsie’s Natural Pet Products. Right on their website ( they list a US office location, they charge me in USD and the charge is posted to my account in USD. But Citi said the company billed them through a Canadian bank and therefor I get hit with the fee. I asked her how would I know a company uses a foreign bank if they list a USA address – no answer for this.

  • Laura

    I was shocked when I discovered that MasterCard charged a 3% “foreing transaction fee” for a purchase of an ELAL flight ticket NY-Tel Aviv-NY, that I purchased over the website, in the US. The ticket was purchased in dollar currency, the invoice I received from ELAL is in dollar amount ($1423,40) and it clearly states that there will be no additional taxes nor monetary supmenents, so I was confident that would be it (already an expensive ticket, right?) Of course ELAL is not responsible ot this awful charge, but at least they could make us aware that if we purchased a ticket over the website we may be incurring in a 3% “foreign transaction fee” if we use V/MC. (I don’t know about AmEx, someone told me I could have avoided the charged if I used an AmEx card).
    There was no way for me to anticipate this transaction fee. It was very clear to me that the transaction was processed in the US (US currency, US invoice, English-language website). It seems that ELAL processes website transactions at their Ben Gurion Airport, Israel, and this is why the credit card considered it to be a “foreign transaction”. Not that I purchased over the website -that doesn’t matter. For the credit card, it is the same as if I was in Israel and I purchased the ticket over a counter there. Funny, ha?
    I called the credit card company. I complained and said I would dispute the charge, and the customer service representative screamed to me (Yes, she screamed) No! You cannot dispute this charge!!!!
    I will, of course. F…ing credit cards!

  • Laura

    After reading all these posts, I decided that I will copy them and will attached them to the Letter of Complaint that I will write to CitiCard (the credit card bank that issued the 3% foreign transaction fee explained in the above post). I will also send complaints to Better Business Bureau, to Consumer Affairs. Perhaps someone can start a Class Action!

  • Jane Doe

    I just bought a ticket on Orbitz in USD and was charged a 3% transaction fee because part of the flight was to Canada, this is outrageous and the banks are distgusting for imposing these fees

  • Maria

    ATTENTION CITBANK CREDIT CARD HOLDERS: COMPLAIN to Citibank to have them REMOVE the “Foreign Transaction FEE” with regards to British Airways online purchases.
    I was shocked by a “Foreign Transaction FEE” made to my account 3 days after I booked airtravel through British Airways AMERICAN BASED website. My ticket was purchased and paid for in USD and processed through British Airways Jacksonville office. This money grab by Citicards needs to be stopped…and can be if we all complain enough! I spoke with a Citi supervisor and complained and they removed the charge. I explained that British Airways emailed me more paperworking proving that this was an American based transaction…NOT a FOREIGN TRANSACTION. They asked that I forward it to them, but meanwhile would remove the Foreign Transaction Fee. This is an EASY FIX for the future buying of airfare tickets online…simply use AMERICAN EXPRESS! CitiCards will NOT like losing our business.

  • Art S.

    I dropped Citibank’s AAdvantage card after 24 years for this reason. I now use CapitalOne Visa. I don’t know why everyone doesn’t. And the banks wonder why congress passed laws last year. Congress has to pass more laws about this kind of abuse and make it clear that if banks continue this nonsense, there will be so many laws that the banks will beg for mercy.

  • Eleanor

    Here is my example -
    Bought an airline ticket on British Airways US website, quoted in US$ and billed in US$, using my Target National Bank Visa card.
    Bill arrives, complete with ‘Finance charge’ of $95 (3%). Called company relations, got put through to 2 different supervisors; both, in different ways, claimed that the 3% was a charge enforced by Visa International and there was nothing they could do. From other postings on the web I believe this is simply untrue; at least 2% of it is the bank’s own surcharge.
    This charge annoys me twofold : (a) they are not doing anything any different with this transaction than any other dollar transaction, and (b) they are actually charging a percentage of the dollar amount for doing nothing (a real cash cow on airline tickets). I asked how a consumer is meant to know if a company’s bank is located outside the USA and the response was that “it is up to the consumer to perform due diligence”. What ?!?
    An amusing note to end on – when you call Target National Bank customer services you are automatically routed to ….. you’ve guessed it, that well-know US location – India. Made me smile.

  • DD

    I was charged the foreign transaction fee for product I ordered that is both manufactured and sold in the US. The explanantion is that the merchant that processed the charge is located in England. I called Citi and they are reversing the charge. I assume that any item ordered will have the chance of having this fee added. So watch your CC statements and phone to have the charge reversed. Alternative is to use your Bank account or find a CC that will not charge this fee.

  • Milvain

    I just noticed a foreign transaction fee on my B of A credit card statement pursuant to a Paypal purchase from a German merchant. A B of A supervisor giving his name as “Jason” said that the fee was “imposed by Visa and MasterCard, so there’s nothing we can do about it”. Clearly the latter statement is a lie, given that Capitol One has chosen to absorb the fee. These banks are truly greed and shamelessness embodied.

  • Ramu

    I had a similar experience. 3% foreign transaction fee on my USD purchase on I called Citibank first and they asked me to talk to the airline. I talked to the airline – they say it is the bank that charges it and they have nothing to do with it. When I found this post, I called Citibank again and was told that they can’t do anything about. I talked to the supervisor who was trying to talk me into accepting the charge. I gave them 2 options – either waive the fee or close the account. The supervisor talked to her manager and they waived the fee as a one time exception.
    In the future, I will be careful to check with the airline/company you are purchasing the ticket with.
    But the irony is – I called British Airways just now to verify if they process their online transactions as a foreign merchant. They say they don’t!
    Somebody is not being transparent here.

  • Kim Estes

    We recently travelled to Canada and used our B of A credit card. We knew about the 3% charge, and were willing to accept the charge for the convenience of using the card. What I did not know is that B of A has increased our APR to 34.5% for these transactions, on top of the fees they charged. This is a temporary increase, for these charges only. I am not sure I understand how they even came up with this rate. Our rate was 11.99%. I am in the process of removing our accounts which are billed monthly to this card and our relationship with B of A is over. I have been a cardholder of MBNA America since 1994, which has been acquired by B of A. Sadly, I am unable to close this account, since it is my longest standing credit, however I will no longer use it. We plan to travel to Norway in the summer, and I think we will opt for good old fashioned travellers checks!

  • Matthew

    I had a similar experience with booking on the British Airways US site. Everything was quoted and billed in USD. Nowhere on the site mentioned a possible 3% finance charge. Then my debit card got charged a 3% foreign transaction fee. I called BA customer service and complained about the charged. The representative told me to write a formal email and request a refund. She even admitted that most customers don’t even notice it on the bill. What a fluke!

  • Sara

    The Sears Gold Master Card charged me 3% Foreign transaction fee for an order I paid via Paypal. When I called them to complain about the charge, the customer rep just yelled at me and said the 3% charge has always been there. Whenever you ordered something from an international website, you have to pay the 3%. This fee is a hidden charge. How many people out there are aware of this? Very Ridiculous. I’m going to cancel this card.

  • Margaret Case

    I was charged by BOFA for buying a Delta airlines ticket from the website from a computer in the United Arab Emirates ( November 2009). Evidently, they track TCPID address; there was no currency conversion and is a US airline: in short, a US Company in US dollars! This is ridiculous and nothing more than a tax on online business. I am willing to join any legal suit against them on this issue.

  • Margaret Case

    Who is trying to stop this and how can I help?

  • Margaret Case

    FYI: Evidenltly Capital One does not have such a fee.

  • lily

    just got 3% charge on my citi master card. purchased two hand bags made by an Italy company through their USA website. Paid in $$ and products shipped out from NYC. the agent kept saying they paid in foreign currency. I asked him to show me the document. he said there is no such document. holly cow..

  • GGBG

    So if you buy a pound of tomatoes grown in Mexico but sold through your local grocery store, the leeches from Citi & BoA will charge you 3% foreign transaction fee. WTF? Where & how is this going to end?

  • SKG

    Got dinged with a 3% charge with a Citi card for a international flight ticket purchase at The charge was in USDs and the final amount paid online was in USDs. This is ridiculous, if a buy a Chinese made product in Walmart will they charge me with a fee ?? I should have used AMEX, now I have to pay cancellation fees if I have to charge another card.

  • Eugene

    Bought from DealExtreme (HK) recently using PayPal funded with Citi MC. Got dinged with 3%. Called and after 2 CS got the charges removed. If you don’t ask, you don’t get. Just be polite :)
    Just sent an email to Discover to inquire about their Foreign Fees, here is their reply:
    “Thank you for your message. If the merchant uses a third party biller, like Paypal, that is based in the USA, you will not be charged the foreign transaction fee. I hope this information is helpful.”
    So, fund PayPal with Discover.

  • Joseph Joyce

    My doctor in USA is of Indian origin. If I pay him using my Citi card, will I get slapped the 3% foreign transaction fee?

    • steve

      stupid q.

  • tim wuu

    i bought eva airline ticket from SFO to TPE online, paid in USD, but 3% foreign transaction fee charge on FIA card. I called FIA and EVA, no one can resolve this issue. FIA told me that EVA charged my card from Taiwan, I then called EVA, they told me it’s FIA who made the decision. It looks they need me to file some paperworks to get this thing moving…

  • steve

    i am furious. After spending months looking for flights i found one on USA. i got hit by $25 foreign transaction fee. I cant believe it, it is a US flight, on a US website paid in US dollars! how am i supposed to know where it is processed. This is Bank of America! i will never use the card again if they dont refund it.


    I was charged 3% foreign tran fee by CitiCards for a British Airways Ticket purchased online in USA. I got it back after speaking to one of their super. I will be more careful using that card in future.

  • Ting

    Bank of America sucks! Same here! I just checked my statement for last month, and found a $80 foreign transaction fee! This 3% foreign transaction fee was charged by them for my Air China tickets purchased online through AirChina USA website and in USA! I called BOA, they told me this merchant acutally was in Beijing, China. How could I tell a merchant that I was going to purchase was not in USA like this situation. It’s a USA website, everything is in US dollars, and the money the company received was in US dollars too, not Chinese Yuan. And they refused to wa!ve that for me. What a rip off new rule, not proper at all! I am going to call them again, and try to talk to a super, see if I could get my money back. If not, it’s time to switch my card that I’ve been used over 10 years all the time and paid off everything. Or maybe $80 is more important than a long term good customer for them.

  • lost_120

    By any chance, did BOA made a refund of transaction fee for airline booking.
    Any luck

  • Joey

    I simply called CitiCard, told them that my American Express didn’t charge me (which, I haven’t actually tried) and they credited my account.

  • articlewipe

    So what are the credit card companies that are not charging this?
    I am guessing American Express
    Our local Security Savings – North Carolina
    and credit unions ….
    Everyone should have a credit card through their credit union. Go local and shut the big banks down.

    We one time went over on our debit card for stupid little stuff one weekend. Instead of b of a stopping any more transactions on our card they allowed us to buy $9 – $15 – $7 – $8 well you get the picture 15 transactions @ $50 apiece over draft fee’s , we fought it and got most of it back but thats the last time we ever used a large bank

  • http://wellsfargobank alex

    i recently bought tickets to Europe using,I paid by Wells Fargo Debit Cars and I’ve been charged International Transaction Fee and customer service of WFargo didnt know that they charged me,they said that Priceline did,but I called them back and they said that I was charged only for my tickets and nothing extra.Now ,im going to Wells Fargo dispute my charge with them and I believe I will have to close my account there…

  • Tim

    I recently places an order with online bookseller Abe Books. I bought 3 relatively low-priced books, each ranging from $2.50 to $3.50 or so. These books were being sold by 3 different bookstores, all in the US (I’m in the US) so after a shipping charge was added for each, the total was about $20. Fine, I understand that before placing the order. I got my Visa statement recently, and found out I was charged $7.50 extra for this order (3 x $2.50). And there was absolutely no way to tell when I went to the website that since they (I now know) are based about 100 miles north in British Columbia, Canada, I would be subject to these fees by Visa and my bank. This is truly ridiculous. I am in the US, buying books from US booksellers, but because the website is based in Canada, we are subject to these charges. Crazy.

  • John whitelaw

    British Airways website flight from Philadelphia to London. Price quoted in dollars. Purchased from home in Pa. 2% fee assessed by credit card company (AAA card through B of A) because it is a “foreign” transaction. Bogus and deceptive. Complaints filed with British Airways and CC. Is it really worth losing a 15 year customer for this nonsense ?

  • Janise

    I just noticed a foreign transaction fee charged by Citicard for my WestJet airline ticket. I purchased the tickets online in US dollar. I called Citicard regarding this fee and they told me because I made the purchae online and that Westjet is headquarter in Canada… WTF? So, I called Westjet and inquired about thet transaction. They told me that it was purchased in US dollar and was never converted from Canadian to US dollar. The banks are hurting and they are getting more greedy. We need to contact the media and file a class action lawsuit against them and any banks that are charging this erroneous fee!!!

  • Robert

    I purchased 4 tickets on British Airways US site for a total of $2600 and was charged $79 Foreign Transaction Fee by Bank of America Mastercard. So even though BA quotes and bills in US Dollars you are still charged a fee because the company is based in London. I called BofA and explained I had no way of knowing this and requested a refund of the fee since I have been a loyal customer. They granted the refund as a one time gesture. I will be looking for another card that doesn’t charge these rip-off fees.

  • Steve

    Citibank charged me a Foreign Transaction Fee for an online subscription to the US version of the Financial Times. Paid online in Dollars from the companies NY Headquarters.

    They reversed the fee, but said they will charge it from now on.

    A complete rip – will be using Amex or Wells from now on. Just called them, and they don’t charge UNLESS THE AMOUNT IS IN A FOREIGN CURRENCY. What’s up, Citi ?

  • Martin

    Just experienced the same thing with booking with British Airways via their US website and getting a 3% foreign transaction fee from BoA.

    It is clear to me that this is a problem where there is no easy resolution for the consumer. I believe BA are not responsible for the fee, but with the existence of this fee any company that has an office in the US but nevertheless sends payments to another country for processing needs to make customers aware of the problems. Indeed, when I called BoA at first they said explicitly this was a fee “charged by British Airways passed on to them”. This is untrue, but companies like British Airways ought to be concerned that another company is blaming them for extra, hidden fees.

    On the other hand, if by sending a transaction outside of the US for processing, my credit card company incurs an extra fee, I believe it is right that someone covers this (although probably more at the 1% level of credit unions, not the 3% profit of BoA et al). The problem is exactly what many people have said: transparency.

    How do I as a consumer know whether a company, who has an office in my home country, who processes my transaction in US dollars, “processes” my payment in another country? With multinational corporations, surely this could happen increasingly frequently?

    Bank of America’s answer to this was: “you’ll have to do a lot of research before buying anything”. Well, maybe that covers them legally, but the fact is this information is simply not publicly available. Which call center rep is going to have detailed information about the inner workings of the company’s financial processing policies?! When I called BA they of course told me the entire transaction happened in the US. Do I call up and ask to speak to the Chief Financial Officer? Can I specify that a company only gets to keep my money as long as they promise they not to process it outside of the US?

    Of course not. In other words, it’s a crap-shoot. The Credit Card Companies get a windfall anytime a company sends a payment overseas for processing, even if the consumer made the transaction in USD, with a merchant located in the US. No-one can tell you if this is going to happen before you pay – not the credit card company, nor the merchant.

    In today’s world, it’s these kinds of companies that have replaced monarchs as the kind of arbitrary taxation authorities that inspired the American Revolution!

  • Corinne

    I made a purchase online from The transaction occurred from my computer in the U.S. and the item I ordered will ship from New York. The company charged me in U.S. dollars, so no currency conversion was needed. However, I was shocked to see that I was charged a 1% foreign transaction fee simply because the company is based out of the UK! This is with the Nordstrom VISA card.

  • Pingback: Cathay Pacific USA internet booking triggered foreign transaction fee - FlyerTalk Forums

  • http://britishairways john

    latest BA victim in 2013.
    they charged international booking fee. booked in US in US website for BA. no disclaimer for consumer. all hidden fees just to rip off. this is how the big businesses work these days.

  • Pavan

    CITI Bank Sucks!!! period………… i made purchases over the internet for airline tickets in USD and it charged a 3% transaction fee. I will never user my citi bank card again i will be cancelling the card ASAP.

  • jaack65

    Pay pal warned me that paying by credit card vs bank checking acct payment could result in 3% or more on transaction It said $ 5.66 card amount vs $5.40 with a nice bar chart. Someone is looking out for buyers.

  • Beavis

    I recently flew from Tennessee to Florida via US Airways and was charged a $25 FTF fee. I flew an American-based airline, paid in US dollars through an American bank. I have emailed them asking about this, and I am waiting to hear back …
    I used a debit card, as if that matters. Once I paid off my Visa, I never used a credit card again. They will do anything to get money.

  • N. Okoro

    I got hit with $149.00 FTFfor a $4,900 British Airways ticket purchased in Los Angeles, in U.S. dollars. I called Citibank and the lady told me it was processed abroad even though I purchased the ticket locally in California. I called British Airways and the Customer Serviced agent told me the transaction was proccessed locally in the U.S.A. What a rip off.

  • E. Evan

    I just purchased a ticket online from Westjet in USD and they hit met with a $40 foreign transaction fee even though the purchase was in USD. There was no foreign transaction, it was just with a foreign company (in canada). The banks are outright crooks with fees and charges.

  • Credit Experts

    If there has been a change in the card’s terms of agreement, you can avoid it by choosing another form of payment.

  • Ed

    I just got hit for 5 (so far) ITA fees (foreign transactions) for $15 each totaling $60, taken by the bank for petty eBay purchases as small as $4.55 (300% fee) paid through PayPal, even though my bank’s only involvement was to send money to PayPal in a domestic transaction (the actual paying is done by PayPal).

    Seems the definition of “international transaction” isn’t the only thing that has been changed —- the fee is being charged even if your bank thinks that who they are transferring money to is going to use it for international payments. Clearly a fee gouge job, and the bank keeps quoting “policy” and “regulations” but will not furnish WHAT policies and regulations they are referring to.

    This ITA fee crookery has become so widespread, that the federal rules on international transactions have been changed effective October 31st —- two months ago. My bank (your bank) cannot even process a foreign transaction unless they notify you of the fee and give you time to cancel it.

  • G.L.C.

    My credit union (!) Visa card charged me 2% with an purchase made via PayPal. Is this legal if there has been no disclosure of this additional charge at the time of the transaction by either the company or by PayPal?

    • Gerri Detweiler

      Did they say it is a foreign transaction fee? If so, then it would be disclosed in your terms and conditions. It doesn’t have to be disclosed each time you make a purchase.

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