Varying Credit Card Charges

Posted By: bywarren

Varying Credit Card Charges - 06/02/03 01:41 PM

This is a follow up to what was being discussed under the AC page about gratuities.

I checked with another credit card company that I use. It is also a Master Card. That issuing bank doed not charge the 2% fee that my other bank (Houshold Credit) charges. If I were to use that credit card, I would be charged the exchange rate of $1.97BZ to $1US plus 1% that Master Card charges.

It would be interesting to see what some of the rest of you are charged on different cards as it seems to vary from bank to bank. I did not call Visa or American Express to find out their policy as I use Master Card. smile
Posted By: o jackie

Re: Varying Credit Card Charges - 06/02/03 01:57 PM

I did not call, but from what I figure mine charges 2.5%. A Tropic Flight is 46.50 one way and I was charged 47.68. That was in December.

I use Direct Merchants-Master Card.


I also remember reading this article:
Thursday, April 10, 2003

Visa and MasterCard told to refund $800 million

In a ruling that could cost MasterCard and Visa hundreds of millions of dollars, a California judge has ordered the credit card companies to eliminate currency conversion fees that the judge said were improperly disclosed.
California Superior Court Judge Ronald Sabraw said late Tuesday that MasterCard and Visa had violated California's unfair competition law by failing to disclose adequately the currency conversion fees charged to American consumers using their cards abroad.
Both MasterCard and Visa charge a 1 percent fee for converting local currency into the home currency of the cardholder.
If the ruling is upheld, the fees would be returned as refunds to California consumers affected by the charges.
Lawyers representing consumers said they expected a refund of more than $800 million. The ruling calls for restitution of fees collected between Feb. 15, 1996 and the present.
The judge issued his ruling even as he acknowledged the conversion systems developed and implemented by Visa and MasterCard "have surely conferred a benefit upon U.S. consumers in the form of lower currency conversion costs." "It is immaterial that the fee was small and that the overall currency conversion cost using a Visa or MasterCard was the best deal available," the judge wrote.
In separate statements, Visa and MasterCard said they intended to appeal the decision. And analysts said the ruling was not likely to be upheld by the California Court of Appeals.
"Judge Sabraw's decision regarding deception is seriously flawed in terms of both fact and law," Noah Hanft, general counsel for MasterCard said. "We believe we have strong legal arguments to have it overturned on appeal." Cheryl Heinonen, a spokeswoman for Visa International, said, "We are disappointed by the court's decision, particularly in light of the judge's acknowledgment of the favorable rates that Visa consumers enjoy when using their Visa card internationally."
The ruling came after a six-month trial in Oakland, California, against Visa USA Inc., Visa International and Mastercard International Inc.
A similar case seeking recovery of what are claimed to be improperly disclosed currency conversion fees was recently filed by consumers in California against American Express.
Analysts said the credit card companies had any number of avenues to pursue on appeal. As part of the ruling, for example, Sabraw ordered the credit card companies to mandate how its member banks disclose the currency conversion process to their customers, the cardholders.
"Judge Sabraw is usurping authority that properly resides with federal authorities who regulate financial disclosure," Hanft said.
David Robertson, publisher of the Nilson Report, a payments systems industry newsletter, said: "I think the argument that the Federal Reserve and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency are the regulators here is completely germane. I don't think the judge understands exactly how currency conversion works, or how, given the current state of technology, there is no alternative to the existing bank card systems."
Critics of the credit card companies have long said that Visa and MasterCard maintain an unhealthy dominance over the consumer credit-card market.

Re: Varying Credit Card Charges - 06/02/03 03:23 PM

american express used 1.97 conversion rate and tacked on another 2% frown
susangg, do we have any rights???
Posted By: ckocian

Re: Varying Credit Card Charges - 06/02/03 03:40 PM

This isn't a legal opinion, but I think the only rights you have are to find another credit card banker who doesn't charge all the extras cool
You might have leverage if you are a big $$ customer and the card company might consider waiving the charges for you, individually.
Posted By: bywarren

Re: Varying Credit Card Charges - 06/02/03 03:40 PM

Thanks Jackie: that is very informative. It shows the importance of getting all the facts before we assume that it is the merchants fault. Some do and try and recover their bank charges from the Belize banks, but most don't.
Posted By: mayatravel

Re: Varying Credit Card Charges - 06/02/03 03:51 PM

Whoa! It's not the Belize banks who levy this foreign exchange fee. It's the bank that issues your cc. The local banks charge us merchants 2.5-3% to process your charges. When I bill your card US$3,000.00, my bank keeps us$90.00, which I consider part of my cost of doing biz. The banks make on both ends. Maybe I should go into banking instead.
Posted By: bywarren

Re: Varying Credit Card Charges - 06/02/03 04:00 PM

That is correct Mayatravel, but as I stated, I have known a few (very few) who have tried to collect the credit card processing fee of the Belize banks from the customer. Most, like you, consider this to be a cost of doing business as it should be.

The more informed the tourist-traveler, the better. Thanks, By
Posted By: Gela

Re: Varying Credit Card Charges - 06/02/03 04:29 PM

I noticed that my Citibank Aadvantage Mastercard reflected a $103US charge for my $100US deposit on my hotel this past trip and again when I prepaid the remainder of the balance due. I assumed it was the hotel doing this, but now I realize it's the credit card company.
Posted By: Chloe

Re: Varying Credit Card Charges - 06/02/03 04:51 PM


TropicAir for 5 passengers 930.BZ or $473.80US
with transaction fee of $9.48 making the charge to my credit card $483.28US.

Hotel bill posted daily in US amounts.

room taxable...........192.00
hotel room tax..7%..... 13.44
room service charge..5%..9.60

Cost of doing business...for hotel/resort paying the % for accepting the guest credit card for payment 20 to 30 days in advance of their arrival.

Hotel/resort could call that % insurance, that guaranteed the hotel/resort has received payment up front.

Hotel/resort was using my money 25 days before I arrived.

Having said all the above, I consider it just a price to be paid for vacationing on Ambergris.
Posted By: beach bob

Re: Varying Credit Card Charges - 06/02/03 06:09 PM

As an FYI,

I just checked on the $100 deposit I made for my July visit to AC... sure enough, there was a difference; $101.89 is the charge amount on my Capital One Visa account ... a 1.89% surcharge. Could be worse I guess? :rolleyes:

Thanks to bywarren & others for bringing this to light, I'm gonna have to check the policies of my various cards, figure which one to use for my trip. Options, I need options laugh

PS, when traveling, it's a good idea to call the credit card co. & tell them your travel dates & where you're going, so they can flag your account & not deny charges. The CC co's. are getting very wary of fraud & seem quick to deny charges anymore... nothing worse than killing a 1/2 hour of your vacation w/ a merchant, talking by phone to CC issuers & processors, convincing 'em you're legit. It tends to ruin ones attitude mad
The voice of experience here :rolleyes:
Posted By: Pedro1

Re: Varying Credit Card Charges - 06/02/03 06:37 PM

Well I use visa issued by a UK bank and visa issued by the bank of belize-neither of these has currency conversion charges which leads me to suspect that the American companies are run by a bunch of crooks and the English and Belizean ones are run by truly upright and honest people.
So how does the song go I would rather be a Belizean or an Englishman than an American(yah boo etc.)
Posted By: dogmatic prevaricator

Re: Varying Credit Card Charges - 06/02/03 06:49 PM

London is full of fogs--and serious people. Whether the fogs produce the serious people or whether the serious people produce the fogs, I don't know, but the whole thing rather gets on my nerves.
Posted By: bywarren

Re: Varying Credit Card Charges - 06/02/03 07:15 PM

I tried to point out that some might be unjustly accusing Belize merchants so in my efforts to be fair to all, let me point out that not all credit card companies are equal in what "perks" they provide. As an example, with the two US cards I have, the one that has the additional 2% charge on foreign only transactions, gives me a 5% cash rebate on all purchases. The other one gives me airline miles (with all the restrictions that come with those). I consider the 5% rebate to be worth the additional 2% charge. So when you all are analizing your choice of cards, keep all the facts in mine just like we needed to do with the merchants. You might say that when it comes to those credit card perks, there is no free lunch. smile

PS: Chloe, it is the 5% room service charge that I have a problem with. frown
Posted By: dogmatic prevaricator

Re: Varying Credit Card Charges - 06/02/03 07:33 PM

The credit card...........The price of the convenience for not paying cash, and possibly indicating a cash flow problem to begin with, and a need to reassess travel plans.
Posted By: beach bob

Re: Varying Credit Card Charges - 06/02/03 09:06 PM

The price of the convenience for not paying cash, and possibly indicating a cash flow problem to begin with
True enough about the convenience factor, I've always appreciated the convenience over even traveler's checks when out of the country. It seems these % charges for international transactions by the CC issuing banks seem a relatively new thing... I don't remember seeing them in years past.

re: the cash flow issue, seems to me the revolving finance charges on a card w/ a balance would make the 2-3% per international transaction the minor end of the fees. In other words, one in that situation has bigger problems :rolleyes: . After all, as soon as one makes a new transaction when carying a balance, that transaction starts incurring finance charges btw. roughly 8% & 20% (or more), depending on the card... & that's on top of the finance charges on the prior balance eek ... Fortunately I have not had to subject myself to such usury wink
Posted By: evening

Re: Varying Credit Card Charges - 06/02/03 09:36 PM

Dogmatic - may I point out that some of us travel freaks use cards like American Express solely for the miles... I put everything possible on my AmEx card - pay in full - and got to go to Thailand on Singapore Airlines - Business Class - for FREE!
Posted By: dogmatic prevaricator

Re: Varying Credit Card Charges - 06/03/03 12:53 AM

evening, you da woman. You illustrated my point precisely, positive versus negative cash flow.
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