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US Banks Charging Foreign Currency Fees

(@Farpoint)
Posts: 16
Active Member
Topic starter
 

Hey folk... We have been living on St. Croix for over 3 years now... But kept our bank accounts with Wells Fargo back in the States... Lots of reasons, Mortgages, Online Bill Pay Accounts already set up, etc. It has never been a problem, until recently. Our last Wells Fargo Statement also includes a 3% "Foreign Currency Conversion Fee for EVERY purchase made in the Virgin Islands... We are busy asking questions, and trying to explain that we are not foreign, and that a Dollar is a Dollar, is a Dollar... Anybody else running in to this new problem?

 
Posted : May 25, 2010 11:01 am
 Neil
(@Neil)
Posts: 988
Prominent Member
 

I use both USBANK and FirstBankVI and have never been charged a currency fee.

 
Posted : May 25, 2010 12:14 pm
Bombi
(@Bombi)
Posts: 2104
Noble Member
 

Citi was charging foreign transaction fees not to long ago. After several calls they finally figured out the VI is part of the US. No more fees.

 
Posted : May 25, 2010 12:17 pm
(@Jennn)
Posts: 62
Trusted Member
 

I also kept my stateside bank, I've not had this problem with them but have with my credit cards. You simply have to call and talk to someone with a brain. It may take a few calls to find that person.

 
Posted : May 25, 2010 2:24 pm
(@pamela)
Posts: 1171
Noble Member
 

It should be for the BVI's only!

Pamela

 
Posted : May 25, 2010 5:17 pm
 br1k
(@br1k)
Posts: 277
Reputable Member
 

Actually, it should NOT happen in BVI either - it is a foreign *currency* fee, so if the currency is the same - there should be no fee. That said, a bank can do pretty much whatever they want, especially if it makes them a few bucks more.

I have accounts and credit cards with stateside credit unions and never had these fees charged in US or in British Virgin Islands.

 
Posted : May 25, 2010 6:03 pm
(@STXBob)
Posts: 2138
Noble Member
 

Some banks are charging the foreign transaction fee on credit card statements if the merchant's bank or address (not sure which) is outside the US, even if the transaction is in US dollars. There's a Canadian company I use which charges in US dollars, and I started getting a 3% fee from CitiBank about 18 months ago, and I know of other examples.

 
Posted : May 25, 2010 6:42 pm
(@Farpoint)
Posts: 16
Active Member
Topic starter
 

I should have been specific... I was being charged 3% Foreign Currency Conversion Fees when I used my Wells Fargo Visa/Debit card... After about 30 minutes on the phone and 3 different departments... Here's the scoop. Fees "have always" been charged for purchases "Outside the US". Whoa!! Check my statement, this didn't start until May 19! "Oh, well... ummmm" These fees apply to all locations outside the US, and are routed through the Foreign Exchange Department... and US Territories (including Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands) are on the list. This didn't make any sense to the Operator, who was from PR. She did some talking with her Supervisor, and all fees were dropped. I was told to call back if they reappear. Hee-Hee!! Tell your friends and family... and the nice Tourists... to watch their Statements! And COMPLAIN!

 
Posted : May 26, 2010 11:11 am
(@IslandHops)
Posts: 929
Prominent Member
 

If banks start charging our mainland visitors foreign transaction charges on purchases in the USVI then this would have a very negative effect on tourism. Anyone know someone with the department of tourism to report this to? Maybe some proactive dialog between the government and VISA/MC/AMEX would help prevent this inconvenience to our visitors - oh, almost forgot where I lived for a minute 😎

 
Posted : May 26, 2010 12:15 pm
(@CAtoSTX)
Posts: 591
Honorable Member
 

AMX puts a notation on our statement but no fee so far.

 
Posted : May 26, 2010 8:35 pm
(@Linda_J)
Posts: 3919
Famed Member
 

I use my Banco Popular ATM card and my Chase credit card both here and in Kentucky without any extra charges.

 
Posted : May 26, 2010 8:38 pm
(@stiphy)
Posts: 956
Prominent Member
 

I swear that they put these charges on just to see if anyone will notice. I too have had to complain about this in the past but they instantly took them off and they never re-appeared. The banking industry has just gotten so shady.

Sean

 
Posted : May 27, 2010 1:11 pm
(@Captain_Jay)
Posts: 206
Estimable Member
 

I closed a credit card with Fith Third Bank after moving here the first time they charged a foreing transaction fee of three percent. Cut them off cold turkey.
Jay

 
Posted : May 28, 2010 12:41 am
(@Altius)
Posts: 1
New Member
 

hi, you can find all US bank locations, addresses, telephone numbers and more details here. Check out the below link

US Bank Locations

 
Posted : August 21, 2010 8:05 am
jefgar
(@jefgar)
Posts: 137
Estimable Member
 

Time to change banks! I have two bank accounts up north -- one is my credit union w/ my former employer, because I have always had direct deposit with them, have had great service with several accounts (checking / savings / CDs / money market acct), and have no-charge checking. The second is w/ USAA bank, because it allows me to transfer funds directly to my son's account. A change in banking laws a couple of years ago made it impossible to transfer funds from bank-to-bank if it was not to an account in your name. So I transfer funds from my credit union account to USAA and then to my son's USAA account ( I set this up to help out when he was in college). Finally, I have a local account to pay local bills; this account "costs" me more than the other two combined, but I have it for convenience locally. Get out of "big" banks up north -- they do nothing for you; they charge for every little thing; and they have forgotten that they're still a service industry.

Check out: http://moveyourmoney.info/

 
Posted : August 21, 2010 4:56 pm
(@speee1dy)
Posts: 8867
Illustrious Member
 

well now, funny you should mention that. i have an account with bank of america and i checked my statement online the other day. low and behold there was a $5 atm fee, when i clicked on it, it said it was a foreign transaction fee. crazy since we are not foreign . i called them up and they said it was a fee for using an atm outside of their network. $5 just to check a fricking balance. they did take the fee off this time. and no i had never noticed it before EVER. i check my statement online all of the time too.

 
Posted : August 23, 2010 11:49 am
(@Linda_J)
Posts: 3919
Famed Member
 

I do sometimes get charged for using an ATM in KY, but the machine always tells me it's going to charge and asks if it's ok. But that is individual bank policy for non-account holders and not a fee for being foreign. Some do and some don't. It's usually between $1.50 & 2.50 per transaction. I'm not sure about checking balances, but I think not.

 
Posted : August 23, 2010 12:14 pm
(@GoodToGo)
Posts: 615
Honorable Member
 

I have a couple of BOA accounts also. When I use their card locally I use it in Scotiabank's ATMs since they don't charge for other bank cards as long as it's the same network. I've never seen a BOA fee for this but now I've got some homework to do...

well now, funny you should mention that. i have an account with bank of america and i checked my statement online the other day. low and behold there was a $5 atm fee, when i clicked on it, it said it was a foreign transaction fee. crazy since we are not foreign . i called them up and they said it was a fee for using an atm outside of their network. $5 just to check a fricking balance. they did take the fee off this time. and no i had never noticed it before EVER. i check my statement online all of the time too.

 
Posted : August 23, 2010 2:14 pm
(@speee1dy)
Posts: 8867
Illustrious Member
 

linda, i am sure. the atm i went to had no cash for me to take out and i always check my balance first. so i did no other transaction than checking my balance.

 
Posted : August 23, 2010 3:42 pm
(@Linda_J)
Posts: 3919
Famed Member
 

Speed, I meant that I wasn't sure if I had ever been charged for checking a balance. I wasn't questioning that you were.

 
Posted : August 23, 2010 4:50 pm
(@speee1dy)
Posts: 8867
Illustrious Member
 

ok no problem.

 
Posted : August 23, 2010 5:22 pm
jefgar
(@jefgar)
Posts: 137
Estimable Member
 

If you qualify for USAA (current / former military or a couple of other federal commissioned positions), USAA doesn't charge YOU if you use an "out of bank" ATM; in fact, USAA bank reimburses you up to $15/month for the other banks' fees.

 
Posted : August 23, 2010 10:32 pm
(@speee1dy)
Posts: 8867
Illustrious Member
 

how do you qualify for a USSA bank account

 
Posted : August 24, 2010 11:41 am
jefgar
(@jefgar)
Posts: 137
Estimable Member
 

"Membership" in USAA (which is a co-op) is limited to active military, honorably discharged veterans and the spouses and children of USAA Members. Only members can get insurance w/ USAA. However, from the USAA website (usaa.org):

"USAA's investment products, most checking and savings products, credit cards, life insurance, and shopping and discounts are available to other individuals. While auto and property insurance policies are not available due to membership eligibility requirements, we can still help."

So, it looks as if all you have to do is go to the website and try to set up an account. If it doesn't work on-line, give USAA a call.

 
Posted : August 24, 2010 2:35 pm
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