Consumer Payment Card News

Providian Roll-Back

Trying to further repair its bruised image with cardholders, Providian Financial said last week it has rolled back its foreign currency transaction fee. Providian says it has reduced the fee from 5% to 3%. The fee includes the standard 1% fee charged by VISA and MasterCard for converting foreign transactions to U.S. dollars. Less than one year ago, a few major issuers began adding a 2% surcharge on foreign transactions over and above the standard 1% VISA/MasterCard fee. To date, Citibank, Bank One/First USA, and Chase Manhattan have added a 2% surcharge on foreign transactions. American Express doubled its foreign currency exchange fee this summer from 1% to 2%. Providian was the only issuer in the U.S. to add a 4% surcharge. According to CardTrak, most issuers do not add a processing fee to foreign transactions. Providian said it made the move to “enhance customer satisfaction”.

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