Foreign-transaction fee

This item appears on page 14 of the May 2010 issue.

I want to alert ITN readers to beware of new foreign-transaction fees that may have been imposed by their credit card companies.

I purchased two round-trip business-class tickets on Aer Lingus on Feb. 22, 2010, for $5,803.16, including taxes and fees. I paid with a Visa card issued from the Pentagon Federal Credit Union (PFCU). The purchase was made from my home in the US and paid in US dollars. Aer Lingus has a US office and US employees. Apparently, however, the snare is that Aer Lingus is not a US company.

When I received my statement from the PFCU, they had added a $116.06 “foreign transaction” fee. PFCU states, “A fee is charged when a transaction is made in foreign currency and converted to US dollars,” but, to my knowledge, this purchase involved no currency conversion.

Through the years, I have made purchases on this same card within the US and with foreign-based airlines and ship lines. Never before have I had a “foreign transaction” fee.

Aer Lingus tells me there is nothing they can do, since it is not their charge. They further stated that they are receiving many such complaints.

I suggest readers check with their card issuers if contemplating a transaction from the US with a foreign-based supplier.


Las Cruces, NM