Currency Conversion Fee Antitrust Litigation (MDL 1409) Settlement

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Did you know that there was an anti-trust case brought against the major credit card issuers regarding foreign transaction fees? For those who aren’t aware of foreign transaction fees, these are fees that some card issues add onto a credit card charge made in a foreign currency. This fee can range anywhere from 1-3%, though some issuers will absorb the fees. These fees are not the cost of converting the currency, which is likely absorbed in the exchange rate used by the credit card company. Well, today these foreign transaction fees are often broken out and detailed on the credit card bill itself (sometimes as a mere asterisk indicating a x% fee was levied for this foreign transaction, sometimes an actual dollar amount) but this wasn’t always the case. In the past, card issuers wouldn’t even mention a transaction fee was levied and buyers would merely see a poor exchange rate.

But the fee itself wasn’t the problem, plaintiffs claimed that the Visa and MasterCard networks, their member banks, and Diners Club conspired to set the fees and conceal them from the public by inflating their exchange rates (essentially hiding the fee in the rate). Which cards are included?

Visa- and MasterCard-branded credit cards (including charge cards) and debit/ATM cards (including stored value and payroll cards), and Diners Club-branded credit cards (including charge cards). The Visa-branded cards include Visa-, Interlink-, and Plus-branded credit and debit/ATM cards; the MasterCard-branded cards include MasterCard-, Cirrus-, and Maestro-branded credit and debit/ATM cards. The lawsuit includes purchases, cash advances, cash withdrawals, and internet transactions.

So, the defendants have now elected to settle and set aside $336M to pay for it all. If you wish to participate in the settlement, what you’ll need to do is choose one of three options. The option you choose will depend on your level of international travel and how much you’ve spent in the years between 1996 and 2006.

  1. Refund Option 1: Request an Easy Refund of $25. This Option is recommended if you traveled outside of the U.S. for less than one week or had foreign transactions of less than $2,500 using your eligible cards during the 1996 to 2006 period. (Green Form); OR
  2. Refund Option 2: Request a Total Estimation Refund based on typical spending during travel and your answers to a few questions about your own travel outside of the U.S. This Option is recommended if you traveled outside of the U.S. for more than one week or had foreign transactions of more than $2,500 using your eligible cards during the 1996 to 2006 period. Refunds will be a maximum of 1% of estimated foreign transactions. (Blue Form); OR
  3. Refund Option 3: Request a refund based on information that you provide concerning your Annual Estimated foreign transactions during the 1996 to 2006 period. This Option is recommended if you had extensive foreign travel or foreign transactions and are willing to provide year-by-year information. Refunds will be a maximum of 1% to 3% of foreign transactions. This is the only Option you can use to get a refund for corporate card use. (Red Form)

I think I’ll probably do Option 1 or perhaps Option 2, since I’ve traveled internationally quite a bit to visit family in Taiwan and on vacations abroad. I have yet to review the claim form to see the level of rigor involved but it seems relatively straightforward.

The deadline to file this has been extended to May 30, 2008.

(Thanks Tim!)

{ 82 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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82 Responses to “Currency Conversion Fee Antitrust Litigation (MDL 1409) Settlement”

  1. Anonymous,etc says:

    Well – last day and I am just now filing my claim – Option 3! Regarding the comment from March 14, 2008 about old DEBIt/ATM Card Numbers – I sent the official website a detailed question about my old, destroyed debit cards and not having the number, and this was there answer back to me. (Refers to “credit card” numbers, but my Q was specifically about debit cards.) My understanding is that it will be better to use my current debit card number and give the bank info, than to use last 4 SS# and get lesser refund:

    This is in response to your e-mail pertaining to the Currency Conversion Fee Antitrust Litigation.

    If your credit card number changed and you still are with the same credit card company, you may use the current account number found on your card. Please retain any paperwork used as a basis for your claim.

    If you have any additional questions, you may contact us in writing at the address found on the website, by e-mail through the contact section of our website at or by telephone at 1-800-945-9890.


    Settlement Administrator
    P. O. Box 290
    Philadelphia, PA 19105-0290

  2. Dane Stocker says:

    I want to say thank you for supporting your verification for currency conversion fee antitrust litigation for protection claim. this is very important understanding process for long time wait. No rush.. be patient will be complete and correct to the best of my knowledge. Dane Stocker, Graduate School. Good luck soon!

  3. Tom F says:

    I don’t think people should invest too much time or thought into filing their claim- my best guesstimate is that a typical Option 1 or 2 refund will be approx. $25.

    If anyone has additional insights, please correct me if I am wrong- I hope I am.

  4. Dave says:


    It’s been a year and a month since the deadline and I can’t seem to find any information on the progress of this. Most everything I have been able to find is from May 2008 and before. Does anyone know how long this will take?


    Dave in Maine

  5. Ida-Maria says:

    So this is legit??? Not a credit collector from 1990 trying collect something I never owed????

  6. Ida-Maria says:

    I received just a letter, from Heffler, Radetich & Saitta L.L.P., stating if I did not respond in 45 days it would atomatically go to Option 1. I have had so many collecters contact me recently about accounts I don’t know anything about and more than 15-20 years ago???

  7. Lydia says:

    Has anyone collected yet? This is the year 2010……….makes me wonder.

  8. Tim says:

    Not me, but I was curious too…

  9. Jim says:

    What has happened to this settlement? Does anyone have an answer?

  10. Tom says:

    You have to be a Philadelphia lawyer to navigate the stupid website and the court-ordered 1-800 # is a runaround recording.

    Final approval of the settlement agreements on the appeals was issued 7/26/2010. As best I can figure, the cardholders are screwed. I think the lawyers and fund administrators get it all. But I’m not sure.

    I want my bailout money back.

  11. jan p says:

    So if you do not have all recipts or bank statements that you have filed option 3 you will not beable to collect any of the monies I don’t think I have these and bank records are distroyed after 7 years? what are the options or What do I do? jan from wisconsin 53132

  12. Joe says:

    There has to be a lawyer out there who can tell what is happening. Can anyone put the current situation in plan English. Sure would appreciate someone’s helpfulness.

  13. barbara says:

    I would like to know what is happening.

  14. rickyb says:

    Tom, I don’t see anything about something happening on 7/26/2010. You found this on the ccf website? Remember there are two different cases…

  15. Dwolfe says:

    I have not heard anything from the CCFC settlement administrators. I have 100% of my records and during the period in question had > $100,000 in charges overseas on my AAdvantage Citicard due to working overseas the entire time. I submitted filing Option 3 which allows documenting all charges. I even sent a CD Rom with the details on spreadsheet. I have heard that there is no or very little left for the actual credit card holders, everything going to administrators and lawyers. Real shame what goes on in these cases, there oughta’ be a law.

  16. Connie says:

    Yeah! The whole thing was a waste of time. I put my claim through years ago. While I was doing all this headache promoting paperwork – making sure I was correct and honest in all things and getting mailed out in time and what happens? Nothing! They dawdled on this and whatever the people were to get has now been sucked up by greedy law concerns. While the banks screwed up big time – now the lawyers are screwing us royally – dragging it out – leaving us nothing. What a world!!!!!

  17. Kevin says:

    In the “Settlements” case (not the coexisting “Arbitration” case) the max set for lawyers’ expenses (incl. court costs) is $8 million. The final settlement total has been set in judgement at $338 million. There has been no final judgement on payments, nor payments issued. There are APPEALS pending…so sit back and check-in quarterly. It’s still a long haul to go.

  18. Dean says:

    When will these appeals be OVER???? Its Jan 2011 already!

  19. Michael Wilson says:

    I only see the lawyers getting anything from this. Forget us common folks who were the ones actually screwed out of the money by these credit card companies. I lost a whole lot on this and have yet to receive as much as a penny even thought the lawyers have been getting paid the whole time.
    It is sick that we have become “Of The Lawyers, By The Lawyers, and For The Lawyers” instead of “Of The People, By The People, For The People” as spoke by Abraham Lincoln November 19, 1863 when he gave the The Gettysburg Address.

  20. Lisa Tripicchio says:

    I just received a check for $18.04 woo hoo! LOL

  21. Jimmy says:

    I got one too – don’t even remember any paperwork on this?! So – is it a real $18.04 check and safe to cash? It has some verbage about opting out at the bottom.



  22. Air Force Tom says:

    I got a check today.

    “All refund amounts are reduced because the full amount of all claims exceeds the amount in the settlement fund. See or call 1-800-945-9890.”

    I lived overseas during the entire time of the lawsuit window and the total was very disappointing. (under $100). I don’t remember which option I used, probably 2.

  23. Petrus says:

    I just got a check for $18.00 .
    That has to be between 5 and 9 times the currency fee charged me by the credit card company.
    Much more than I deserve.
    –I’m one of the little people.

  24. Bojangles says:

    My wife and I each received a check for $ 18.04 and neither one of us remember filling out a form. Maybe this was in litigation for many years.

  25. Sporto says:

    Recieved a check today, 12/15/2011 $18.04
    Drew on The Hungington National Bank.
    Was curious about this check so I called the 1-888-567-5450 listened to the recording.
    I looked at the website as it was just a posting.

    Will cash the check, and post if it goes through without any hiccups.

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