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Foreign Transaction Fee on Ticket Purchase

Richmond, VA
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Foreign Transaction Fee on Ticket Purchase

Having purchased tix IAD to LHR for Christmas travel with British Airways last week, I was checking online banking this morning and found a foreign transaction fee of about $60 on the purchase.

Well, sheesh.

It's been a while since I flew BA so I guess didn't remember or didn't know that inspite of being on the BA USA site and quoted in dollars, I was actually making the purchase in pounds.

If I had known/remembered I have to say I wouldn't have made the purchase.

To top it off, United has their similar route on sale for $100 less than the BA tickets.

harumph!.

UK
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1. Re: Foreign Transaction Fee on Ticket Purchase

Thats pretty naughty.

I would complain, because there is no warning of that on the website that I can see.

San Diego
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for San Diego
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2. Re: Foreign Transaction Fee on Ticket Purchase

Thanks for writing! I would not have thought of that issue!

London, United...
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3. Re: Foreign Transaction Fee on Ticket Purchase

Have you checked that your account wasn't charged by your bank for the transaction?

it used to be quite a common practice to charge a percentage of any foreign transaction by the bank, it is a dying practice but even so there are still a few out there that will charge.

Paris, France
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for Paris, Loire Valley
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4. Re: Foreign Transaction Fee on Ticket Purchase

Transaction fees come from your bank, not the airline.

A few years ago in response to dynamic currency conversions made by some overseas vendors, both Visa and MC changed their currency conversion fees (actually 1%) to include any transaction, be it in euros, pound sterling, cruzeiros, or dollars, made outside of the US or US territories, as a foreign transaction to which the 1% fee applies. In addition many banks, such as B of A, Citibank, Wells Fargo and others, add 2% to these transactions if for no other reason than they can. Thus, expect to pay up to 3% for credit card transactions executed outside of the USA.

A recent US government ruling mandates that these charges now be itemized on your statements. They were always there, the difference is that now you see them.

UK
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5. Re: Foreign Transaction Fee on Ticket Purchase

it used to be quite a common practice to charge a percentage of any foreign transaction by the bank

=====

Yes but if BA are pricing in dollars on their website, and charging in dollars, its a reasonable expectation that a US credit card would also be charged in dollars and so there should be no foreign transaction fee. If they arent doing that, there should be a prominent warning.

Richmond, VA
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6. Re: Foreign Transaction Fee on Ticket Purchase

Sazza, yes it is my bank, but which ever charged the fee, the result is the same, I was unaware of it, possibly should have been, but it makes for an unhappy surprise to find out.

I called BA to explain and inquire, spoke to a very polite person who was totally unhelpful. She suggested I call my bank--my next step.

But, like Mick, I don't really expect any satisfaction

Paris, France
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for Paris, Loire Valley
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7. Re: Foreign Transaction Fee on Ticket Purchase

I agree Joe, it would be reasonable to expect a warning but there is no requirement for one. These charges are fully explained in the credit card service agreement that each card holder ascribes to when using his card.

In my view, the best approach to avoid these charges is to bank somewhere that does not impose them such as Capital One or Pentagon FCU.

Richmond, VA
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8. Re: Foreign Transaction Fee on Ticket Purchase

>>If they arent doing that, there should be a prominent warning.<<

Joe, yes, I agree.

The polite BA lady was apologetic but I guess little she could do, as it's a bank issue.

I asked her if there was any indication on the US BA website that warned of this possibility and she admitted there was not.

Is there? I don't know, there probably is but don't have time to wade through all the fine print to find out, and after the fact anyway.

Richmond, VA
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9. Re: Foreign Transaction Fee on Ticket Purchase

I've been buying airline tickets with this card at our bank for a long time, usually United, a US carrier.

It never occurred to me to check about fees, my mistake.

London, United...
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10. Re: Foreign Transaction Fee on Ticket Purchase

I had the same in reverse with United when I booked last week ORD-LGA, the difference was probably that the fare was way less so the charges not quite so bad.

However in 2011 I had an unexpected problem with American - paying in the UK for an internal flight in the US - I was unfortunate enough to be in Chicago for the 'great storm' on 1st Feb 2011, in fact I was due to fly out to LGA that day (ha ha). However I found it almost impossible to rebook as I had paid in £'s not $'s so the computer system did not recognise it for some random reason, as the whole of Chicago was trying to rebook AND I could only do it on the phone due to the UK/US thing it took quite a lot of patience and time -and I had to do it twice as the rebooked flight was also cancelled.

Just goes to show that any booking made in a 'non native' currency can have unexpected problems.

PS - I'm hoping for better weather next year !!