Watch Out For Foreign Transaction Fees When Booking With Foreign Carriers

Cliff logged on to his U.S. internet connection to use his U.S. credit card to buy airline tickets on Aer Lingus in U.S. dollars, a transaction he assumed wouldn’t incur a foreign transaction fee. Nope! Citibank slapped a 3% fee on the $2,600 purchase, something Cliff feels the airline should have warned him about.

One would think that when you book a flight with an international airline from a US IP address and pay in dollars, they would execute the credit card transaction in the US. However, that is not necessarily the case. I charged four tickets on Aer Lingus to my Citibank credit card for a total of around $2600 and just saw on my statement that Citibank charged a 3 percent foreign transaction fee on that entire amount—even though I booked from the US on aerlingus.com and paid in dollars. Those still traveling in this economy should seriously consider booking through one of the online travel agencies instead directly with a foreign airline to avoid this unexpected charge.

Call Citibank and tell them you don’t want to pay a foreign transaction fee for an ostensibly domestic purchase. As a courtesy, they should be able to waive the fee.

(Photo: infomatique)