New York, NY: (Jan-30-08) A class action lawsuit was brought against Visa, MasterCard, their member banks, and Diners Club, alleging that they conspired to set and conceal fees, typically of 1-3% of foreign transactions. The suit claimed Visa and MasterCard inflated their base exchange rates before applying these fees. The suit, which came to be called the Foreign Currency Conversion Fee Antitrust Litigation, stated that cardholders of Visa, MasterCard, or Diners Club branded payment cards were charged to make transactions in a foreign currency, or with a foreign merchant, between February 1, 1996 and November 8, 2006.
Records show that Visa, MasterCard, Diners Club, Bank of America, Bank One/First USA, Chase, Citibank, MBNA, HSBC/Household, and Washington Mutual/Providian were named as defendants in the case. In their defense, the companies did not admit to any wrongdoing, stating that they had done nothing wrong, improper, or unlawful. In recent developments, sources close to the case stated that a settlement had been reached, resolving the class action lawsuit. Under the deal, credit card users may be eligible for a $25 payout. Sources stated that in 2006, a $336 million settlement was announced and in November 2007, over 30 million customers received notification that they were eligible for a payout in the class action settlement. [