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Important Note Re: Credit Card Charges in Fiji

Fiji Islands
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693 posts
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Important Note Re: Credit Card Charges in Fiji

I've just spent much time on the phone clearing up something that has bothered us regarding credit card usage in Fiji. It seems everyone is a bit confused, so we went directly to the source (the banks who issue the credit card services) and found out the true story.

When you are traveling in Fiji, you may come across a resort or restaurant that tells you "we have to charge you X% to use your credit card." That "X" is anywhere from 3% - 5% extra added onto your bill. When you question it, the person will usually tell you "well, that's what the bank charges us."

This is absolutely, positively illegal and against banking policy in Fiji. Unfortunately, travelers to Fiji don't realize this, and I believe some resorts don't. When confronting people who do this, they usually come back with "oh, well, the price I quoted you was for a cash discount." This is just another, round about way of saying "we're charging more for credit cards." And it doesn't matter how they word it, it is not an acceptible practice in Fiji. The banks have told me that this can be cause to have a restaurant or hotel's credit card services revoked.

It clearly states on the card services agreement that each resort receives, that they are not allowed to pass on their credit card percentage rate onto the consumer.

So, what to do? Inform the resort or restaurant (or store or gas station, etc) that you know this practice is not legal. Straight from ANZ and Westpac, the two biggest banks in Fiji. The banks have informed me that if the resort will not back down, you can always challenge the additional interest that was charged to your card when you come home. This is directly from the credit card services manager's mouth.

I am sincerely hoping that resort owners, restaurant owners, activity owners as well as travelers read this post, so they will, finally, understand the policy that the banks themselves, in Fiji, have set forth.

Sydney
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1. Re: Important Note Re: Credit Card Charges in Fiji

Hi Fiji Suz,

Thanks for your time and effort and letting us know about this charge.

J.

Bundaberg, Australia
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2. Re: Important Note Re: Credit Card Charges in Fiji

Yes, thanks for this warning. We have never had this happen to us but it's nice to be prepared.

nz
Destination Expert
for Norfolk Island, Noosaville, Rarotonga
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3. Re: Important Note Re: Credit Card Charges in Fiji

Thanks for that information.

It's actually so important I wonder if there's some way to get it 'stuck' at the beginning so that it's always available to travellers.

Think I may contact the moderators under the guise of complaining about my post!

San Francisco...
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362 posts
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4. Re: Important Note Re: Credit Card Charges in Fiji

Hi Fiji-Suz,

We are going to Navini Island Resort in June and they offer a 3% discout for paying in cash. So you are saying they cannot do this? What should I do? Ask them to give us the discounted price? Your warning is helpful, but I'd like to know how to deal with them without it ruining our time spent there.

Fiji Islands
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693 posts
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5. Re: Important Note Re: Credit Card Charges in Fiji

BULA Palo Alto (my husband was born there!)

Interesting about Navini. Most resorts post their prices and when you go to use your credit card, they say "oh, our prices are based on cash discounts." Sounds like Navini has posted prices, but will offer you a discount on that price if you use cash, correct?

Either way, the banks say it's not legal because it's just another way of saying that you will have to pay more for using a credit card. Doesn't matter how the resorts want to creatively word it, it comes down to the fact that they just can't do this.

Now, as far as your question, it's really up to you. I understand you don't want to raise a stink and have them label you as a troublemaker before you even get there! Here are my suggstions:

You can up front tell them that you were told that resorts couldn't charge more for credit cards by a "travel professional." And that if it's a discount for cash, that same price is supposed to be passed down to credit card user as well.

Or you could gently ask them about it. Tell then that you heard the banks in Fiji say that they aren't supposed to do this.

Or you could ask them when you are at check out. When they go to charge your card for any incidentals, you can say ... "by the way" and then ask them about that additional 3% charge. Because that's what it is, an additional charge for using your credit card. This way you are checking out, so it won't put a cabosh on your stay.

Or you could do nothing at all, pay the 3% and chalk it up to goodwill for the resort.

I was really hoping that more resort owners would read this and just stop this practice. As an owner of a business myself, I'm charged anywhere from 3-4% for the service of allowing my guests to use credit cards. But that's the cost of doing business. It's like saying "oh, gosh, I had to get a pen out to write up your receipt, I'll have to add the cost of the ink, and the electricity it took to light up the office, and ..." Silly!

Do want your conscience feels is best. Navini is a lovely little resort with great beaches and snorkeling, and I'm sure you'll have a wonderful time. My thought was just to disseminate information, with the hope that if enough people call the business owners to task, they'll get tired of explaining and finally stop.

ENJOY your stay!

Sherwood Park...
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6. Re: Important Note Re: Credit Card Charges in Fiji

This is a a great post. I am currently looking at booking a vacation to Fiji. In the quote from the agent it states cash discount add 3% for credit card payment of trip. There is a way out though, I like to use the credit card to get air points. I recieved some checks for my visa card and will use this for payment.

Cheers

7. Re: Important Note Re: Credit Card Charges in Fiji

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Removed on: 06 March 2013, 17:51
Fiji Islands
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693 posts
6 reviews
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8. Re: Important Note Re: Credit Card Charges in Fiji

I know that they used to also charge % on credit cards in Australia as well (not sure if they still do). The difference is that it is legal to do so in Australia (and NZ?), but it is NOT legal to do it in Fiji (or in the US for that matter). If it's not legal, it shouldn't be done.

San Francisco...
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9. Re: Important Note Re: Credit Card Charges in Fiji

Fiji-Suz,

Palo Alto, born and raised! Thanks so much for your reply. I really appreciate it. Not sure what I am going to do, maybe nothing. I am really looking forward to this trip. June 13th can't come soon enough. Thanks for bringing this up.

Saint Louis...
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64 posts
31 reviews
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10. Re: Important Note Re: Credit Card Charges in Fiji

So, is this legal here in the U.S.? I booked a trip with a travel agent here in the states and the same thing is happening to me? Any thoughts?