Bank of America: foreign transaction fee now applies to any merchant who processes transaction in foreign country, even if in US dollars
I just received an amendment to my credit card agreement with Bank of America. It says:
A "Foreign Transaction" is any transaction (1) made in a foreign currency, or (2) made in US dollars if the transaction is made or processed outside the United States". Foreign transactions include, for example, online transactions made in the US but with a merchant who processes the transaction in a foreign country. If you are making a Foreign Transaction, we will assess a Foreign Transaction fee as set forth in the Foreign Transaction fees section of this Agreement.
#2 is a major change from what all my current credit cards (6) do. You could always avoid the foreign transaction fee if you made the transaction in US dollars.
Now, with the B of A change above, you may make a purchase on the internet without knowing the merchant is based outside the US, and end up paying a foreign transaction fee. For example, Zenni Optical manufactures its glasses in China. I'm not sure where the merchant (Zenni) processes the transaction - but with this change, I certainly won't feel safe using the B of A card to make purchases through Zenni Optical.
I'm going to be cancelling my B of A card and making sure they understand that it's due to this very sneaky way to try to increase how much they earn from stealth fees.
I have a Capital One card which does not charge for foreign transactions. Going forward, it's likely going to be the only card I use for internet transactions, since it isn't readily apparent where a merchant processes its transactions. I may also file a complaint with the CFPB, but only when there's a more consumer friendly executive branch in place.