Watch for the double whammy
Let's say you've bought an item in Paris and charged it to your Visa or MasterCard. You take it back to the hotel, find that it doesn't fit or doesn't work, and return it to the store.
The shopkeeper now issues a credit in euros. Visa or MasterCard converts the credit into dollars (taking a modest commission) and passes the dollar amount on to your credit-card company. Your credit-card company may then impose a surcharge on the credit. In other words, you're gouged twice: first with the 2% to 5% surcharge on the original purchase, and again with a 2% to 5% surcharge on the store's refund.
A new culprit: the "cross-border transaction fee"
Your credit-card company may be gouging you with a new surcharge wrinkle: the "cross-border transaction fee," which applies to foreign transactions in your own currency.
For example, if you're an American and you charge US $1,000 in onboard charges and purchases aboard a cruise ship, the credit-card company may pad the bill by another $20-30 just because the ship was outside of U.S. waters.
Canadians may take an extra hit
D.G. Smitty, a reader from Canada, e-mailed us a while back to report:
How to avoid surcharges
Also beware of hidden ATM fees
Another ripoff: Merchant fees
Back to: Credit-Card Surcharges - Page 1
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