If you have traveled out of the country with your credit card at any time in your life, you might have noticed some extra fees on your statement for “foreign currency transactions.” If so, you might be entitled to receive at least a portion of that money back – even if those fees were put on your card ten years ago.
Recently, a federal judge made a ruling that several credit card companies have to repay $336 million to customers that they made pay these fees. This ruling goes all the way back to payments made anytime between now and February 1, 1996. Credit card companies listed in this lawsuit include Visa and MasterCard, as well as Citigroup, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Washington Mutual Inc among others.
The lawsuit took five years to reach a verdict, with the plaintiffs alleging that they were charged a 1% fee as well as an additional 2% or 3% fee by the bank for having their currency converted into U.S. dollars. The lawsuit also alleged that the credit card companies failed to make the charges clear.
A hearing for the final judgment is set to take place this month. While you might be able to earn some of that cash back from your previous transactions, don’t count on avoiding these fees in the future. As a result of the lawsuit, credit card companies now make sure to list the currency exchange fee on their monthly statements as a separate item.