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Jamaica Villas Happenings
by Prem Chadeesingh

How to Avoid the Foreign Transaction Fee Added to Your Charge

A “How dare you!” email from an angry customer!

credit cards and passport

It’s happened a few times now. A few days after making a booking online and paying the deposit online by credit or debit card, the email arrives with customer outraged, accusing Mysilversands of making a charge to their card without their permission.

We respond to the customer immediately pointing out the following:

1. Mysilversands did not make the additional charge.
2. Mysilversands could not make the charge as we do not see or capture the card details  at any time.
3. If the customer were to check the details on their card statement they would see that Mysilversands is not the beneficiary.

What a lot of card customers do not realize is that some of the providers of these cards are charging a Foreign Transaction Fee for their own account. The customer sees the charge and thinks it is Mysilversands that is the beneficiary but it is the card provider that is the beneficiary.

In recent times, the card providers have modified their terms of use and advised their customers in the usual manner, but it seems that hardly anyone reads these pages and pages of fine print. So debit and credit card users are not aware that their cards will attract this additional  charge.

It seems that the amount of this Foreign Transaction Fee is at the card provider’s discretion and is usually around three percent of the amount being paid. Visa and MasterCard charge one percent and the card issuer adds what they feel like to get to the total charged to you.

Many customers think this charge is unfair especially when they are not paying in a foreign currency. Mysilversands bills in United States dollars, yet some card providers charge their American customers paying in United States dollars a Foreign Transaction Fee.

Not all cards attract this Foreign Transaction Fee. It’s a good idea to call your card provider and ask to speak to a senior employee as some junior employees are also unaware of this charge. One bank employee told one of our customers that Mysilversands had made the charge and it took quite a lot of effort to show the customer that this was not so and that she had been given incorrect information. Ask your card provider which of your cards will attract this Foreign Transaction Fee.

A couple of Mysilversands customers who were charged this fee argued with their card providers and had the charges waived. So it is worth the effort. It’s worth emphasizing that there are cards available that do not attract this fee. For example, HSBC's Premier World MasterCard has no foreign transaction fee.

You may avoid the foreign transaction fee by paying directly into Mysilversands' bank account through internet banking or a wire transfer. Here's the Mysilversands bank details you will require to make payment to our account:

Barclays Bank PLC
1 Churchill Place
London E14 5HP
United Kingdom 
Account Name: Mysilversands Limited
Sort Code 20-05-06 
Account Number: 83926211
IBAN: GB03 BARC 2005 0683 9262 11
Barclays Correspondent Bank in the USA is:
Barclays Bank PLC
200 Park Avenue
New York 10016
ABA: 02600254

Note: Many cards do not attract this Foreign Transaction Fee, so it is worthwhile shopping around. Bristish residents, take note that the Post Office issues a card that does not attract this Foreign Transaction Fee. 

See the following articles:
No Foreign Transaction Fee Cards
Tamara Holmes: Credit card foreign transaction fees going up
NerdWallet's Best No Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Cards

Also, the Travel Guide for Your Finances article: Lions, Tigers and Foreign Transaction Fees. Oh MY!

Jamaica Villas Happenings