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Old 02-14-2006, 09:03 AM
fredaevans fredaevans is offline
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"New Charge" on your credit card? Heads up!

I don't know how "universal" this may be .... yet ... but MasterCard and Visa appear to be hitting you with a new fee for credit card usage OUT SIDE the United States. It's called a "Foreign transaction charge" of 1% based upon the 'purchase' of goods/services outside of the USA. Yes, that would include Canada and Mexico.

First time I got one of these was our trip to Canada this past November for a tackle purchase at 'Fred's Custom Tackle' (yes, it's a very big/good shop) in Chilliwack, BC. It was an extra $6.50 some cents on a $215.00 Canadian purchase. Math suggests that's waaay over 1%, so there may be some 'base charge,' plus 1%.

What brought this to my attention was a credit card application I just got from USAA and the following was included in the 'fine print.'

"Foreign Transaction Charge. MasterCard and Visa charge us up to 1% of the amount of any transaction made on your Account in a country outside of the United States of America. As a result, we charge you a !% Foreign Transaction Charge ... and add it to the amount of the transaction."

So, a few questions you may want to ask your credit card issuer ... 1) Do you charge this fee? 2) do you charge an additional fee above and beyond this as a 'handling fee? 3) If I make a purchase outside of the US how/what basis is the 'exchange rate' computed for your billings.

Why three? First one is obvious, second one - per the terms of your credit account - could entail an additional fee not based upon the amount of the purchase/credit transaction, the third is are you getting the best international rate, or an adjusted "buy/sell" rate set by the card issuer. This 'spread' can be considerably different than the "posted" exchange rate.

Be Aware!!

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Old 02-14-2006, 09:51 AM
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jimS jimS is offline
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Citibank, according to the NY Times, does not charge a transaction fee.
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Old 02-14-2006, 10:23 AM
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FredA FredA is offline
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I noted that for the first time on a business trip to New Zealand last spring.
Fred A.
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Old 02-14-2006, 03:37 PM
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Adrian Adrian is offline
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Nothing like that on my Citi cards. The only thing is the finance charges are separated out by country. Logical since FX rates move between the time of purchase and refection on the card. Actual FX rates I get from Citi have always been exxtremely competitive.

p.s. I don't work for Citbank!
When sight fishing, look over your shoulder from time to time, you never know who's behind you
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