Emily’s foreign transaction fee shock and weekly credit card roundup
Happy May Day, everyone! Well, I just encountered a frustrating credit card fine print moment. I received a letter in the mail from Bank of America, the issuer of two of my credit cards, notifying me of changes to my credit card agreement. The changes to my reward program were minor and don’t bother me, but I was not pleased to read about a change with foreign transaction fees. I read several months ago that this change was imminent, but was in shock to realize it had actually gone into effect.
Before this letter came, I was only charged a foreign transaction fee when I made purchases in a foreign currency. No biggie; I thwarted this by getting a Capital One card (particularly for my travels abroad), as it is the only issuer that does not charge a foreign transaction fee. But Bank of America is now changing the definition of foreign transactions to include “transactions in U.S. dollars if they are made or processed outside of the United States.” Yikes! This means if I find a UK-based clothing Web site that allows you to pay in dollars, the fees I will pay are no different than if I were paying in Great Britain pounds. I could just use my Cap One for those as well, but what if I don’t know where the transactions are processed? What if I don’t realize the Web site is based in the UK? The fee is only 1 percent of the dollar amount, but I’m still not thrilled. I guess in this credit crunch, the issuers have to make money somehow. Have you experienced any important changes to your credit card agreement lately?
Here are my favorite credit card- and debt-related posts in the blogosphere from the past week. Enjoy!