Free Money for Using Your Personal Credit Card Internationally

If you have traveled internationally at any time from February 1, 1996 through and including November 8, 2006 you are likely eligible for a class action settlement involving foreign currency fees from credit cards including Amexp, Diners-club, Visa, or MasterCard.

How To Claim:
Fill out and submit a claim form at or via mail/fax.

How much money can I get back?
There are 3 options to choose from depending on your amount of international travel:
1)If you had less than 1 week of international travel or less than $2,500 worth of foreign transactions then you can sign up for a flat refund of $25.
2) If you travelled internationally for more than 1 week it’s recommended you select the Total Estimated Refund based on your total travel during the class action period
3) If you traveled extensively during the class action period and are willing to provide annual information on your international transactions you can select the Annual Estimated Refund option.

I have taken numerous international trips over the last 10 years and estimated that I have spent 150+ days overseas so I am going to select option #2. I was able to go through my credit card transactions in my MS Money archives to help pinpoint travel dates and reconstruct the number of days I was outside the country. We are also going to fill out the easy claim for $25 for my wife as she traveled to Canada at one point during the claim period.

Personally these fees burn me up as I am currently on international assignment and am exposed to them every time I make a transaction. However, I have started using a Capital One Visa No Hassle Rewards card because it currently has no foreign currency fees for international transactions.

Thanks to Madame X for reminding me of the claim form.

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Comments (4)

Will the amount collectible under Option 2 become diluted by the more people that accept that option? If so, would it make sense for those on the cusp (say you spent 'only' 2-3 weeks overseas) to take the flat $25 and run? I tried to make it through some of the fine print, but it made my head hurt.

I still took Option 2 (I figured I spent 50+ days out of the country), but was just curious as to how it all may work out.

If you can get the HSBC Premiere credit card, that is also a good way to go...They don't charge foreign transaction fee + you get award point, excellent customer service, etc. I have been using HSBC services for few years now, and I am happy with them. The only catch is it requires a significant investment to get the premiere status...

I wonder how Option 2 will be calculated? I no longer have the AMEX card I used during my travels, will this lead to any difficulties with getting the refund? The thing that bugs me the most is that consumers really have no insurance that stuff like this (screwed on exchange rates) won't happen again.

Be careful of the Capital One card - I was using it too, as I've been living abroad, but then I realized that they use their own exchange rate, which is pretty close to equivalent to the 3% fee that other cards charge. It's rather deceptive.

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A personal finance weblog of my journey to reach my goal of $2 million + the value of my primary residence.
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