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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Credit Card International

Every major U.S. credit card company with the exception of one charges a two to three percent foreign transaction fee when you use your credit card abroad. Until recently, many credit card companies did not clearly disclose these fees in their terms and conditions. Consequently, many people received a notice of a class action lawsuit settlement in regards to these fees earlier this year. Now that the lawsuit has been settled, credit card companies are required to clearly state foreign .

First, if you do not know how much your current credit card company charges for international transactions, contact customer service to find out. The vast majority will inform you that this fee is three percent. With the US dollar sagging, paying an extra three percent on every purchase can really hurt the wallet. Fortunately, there are a few ways to avoid these charges.

If you have cash available, using a debit card eliminates this fee. Most banks do not tack on a transaction fee for ATM withdrawals. Plus, the foreign currency rate you'll get from your bank is often significantly better than what you would get at a foreign currency exchange booth. Again, exchange rates and potential fees vary from bank to bank, so it is important to call ahead.

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