Bank of America, N.A. has been hit with a proposed class action that challenges its alleged practice of charging customers more than the contractual three-percent fee applied to international debit card transactions.
Bank of America, N.A. has been hit with a proposed class action that challenges its alleged practice of charging customers more than the contractual three-percent fee applied to international debit card transactions. According to the lawsuit, the bank surreptitiously rounds up the fee on each transaction to the nearest penny, which, in some cases, can amount to as much as 5.2 percent of the transaction’s value.
The case argues that Bank of America promises in its standard Deposit Agreement and Disclosures that it will assess no more than a flat three-percent international transaction fee when customers make debit card purchases at international vendors, withdraw money from foreign ATMs, or use their debit cards to make online purchases from international merchants. Contrary to these representations, the bank, according to the lawsuit, applies its allegedly unlawful rounding policy to “approximately half of all international debit card transactions.”
“For example,” the complaint explains, “on a transaction amount of $10.17, Bank of America calculates the Foreign Transaction fee by multiplying 3% (0.03) x $10.17 = $0.3051. It then, systematically rounds up the $0.3051 to $0.31. However, in so doing, it violates its Personal Schedule of Fees, because $0.31 is actually 3.04% of the $10.17, not 3.00% as provided for by the contract.”
The lawsuit alleges that the unlawful fee “goes largely unnoticed by accountholders” yet allows the bank to generate significant revenue for itself when multiplied across all of its customers’ foreign transactions.
“Simply stated,” the complaint reads, “the stolen pennies add up to millions of dollars.”