Understanding your Foreign Transaction Fee
Recently we contacted some of our Westpac branded Consumer Credit Cards and Altitude Business cards customers about changes to their Foreign Transaction Fee and applicable refunds.
To assist you with any further questions you may have, please read through the following Frequently Asked Questions.
Why am I being contacted about a Foreign Transaction Fee refund?
Between 15 June 2016 and 31 July 2016, we will issue refunds to customers who have been identified for a refund for some of the Foreign Transaction Fees charged on their Westpac branded Consumer Credit Card(s) and Altitude Business Card(s).
Why is this refund being provided?
In March 2014, the Foreign Transaction Fee was extended to cover credit card transactions made in Australian dollars (AUD) with merchants or financial institutions located overseas. We notified customers of this change.
However, following a recent review, we’ve identified that the disclosure provided to customers may not have been clear enough about how the foreign transaction fees were charged on certain Australian dollar transactions (such as those made via online or phone with overseas merchants).
Which Foreign Transaction Fees charged to Westpac branded Consumer Credit Card(s) and/or Altitude Business Card(s) are being refunded?
The transactions for which the Foreign Transaction Fees are being refunded meet the following criteria:
- the transactions occurred between 20 March 2014 and 26 November 2015 AND
- the transactions were completed online or over the phone in Australian dollars AND
- the merchant or financial institution that processed the payment is located overseas.
How will I know if I will be receiving a refund on my Westpac Consumer and Altitude Business Credit Card?
Impacted customers receiving a refund will be notified between 14 June 2016 and 31 July 2016.
If you have an active Westpac credit card account you will receive an email and / or a Westpac Live Online Banking pop up message prior to your refund.
A statement message will appear on the account receiving the refund. Your refund will appear as a ‘Foreign Transaction Fee Refund’ within your statement
What is the Foreign Transaction Fee, as defined in the Combined Conditions of Use and Credit Guide?
The “Foreign Transaction Fee” is a fee charged to you by Westpac being a percentage of the Australian dollar value of a foreign transaction. The percentage varies depending on the applicable credit card scheme.
A “Foreign Transaction” is any Purchase or Cash Advance made using the Card:
- in a currency other than Australian dollars; or
- in Australian dollars or any other currency with a Merchant located outside Australia; or
- in Australian dollars or any other currency that is processed by an entity located outside Australia.
Note: It may not always be clear to you that the Merchant or entity processing the transaction is located outside Australia.
How do I know whether a Foreign Transaction Fee will be charged before I make a credit card transaction in Australian dollars?
It may not always be clear that the Merchant or entity processing the transaction is located outside Australia. If you’re unsure it is best to contact the Merchant to enquire before making a purchase.
When will my refund occur?
Your refund will be processed between 15 June 2016 and 31 July 2016, in line with the receiving account statement cycle.
What do I need to do to get my refund?
You do not need to do anything. The refund will be processed into the relevant account.
How will I receive my Foreign Transaction Fee refund?
The refund will be provided in one of four different ways, depending on your account status:
- Active credit card: You will receive a direct credit into your most recent credit card account
- Closed credit card: You will receive a direct credit to an active Westpac transactional/savings account, if you have one
- No active accounts: If you have no active accounts with Westpac, you will be sent a cheque in the mail
- If you are a customer with multiple Westpac credit cards, where at least one credit card is closed and has been consolidated to one card, you will receive all payments to the consolidated remaining active credit card account.
What will the refund contain?
We’ll refund all the relevant foreign transaction fees and associated interest charged between 20 March 2014 and 26 November 2015 (the foreign transaction fee was paused from 27 November 2015 for impacted transactions).
We’ll also compensate customers for any loss of interest up to either 30 June 2016 or 31 July 2016, depending on your receiving account statement cycle, by adjusting the refund amount using our Reward Saver interest rate applicable at the time.
What if I have already received a refund for this Foreign Transaction Fee?
If you have already received a refund for the impacted transactions, you may only receive an adjustment for interest.
What if I received a notification but haven’t received a refund?
All refund processing will be completed by 31 July 2016 in line with your receiving account statement cycle. If you received a notification, and don’t receive a refund by 31 July 2016, please contact us to assist you.
Why didn’t I receive a refund on all my credit card Foreign Transaction Fees?
The refund only applies to foreign transactions between 20 March 2014 and 26 November 2015, for Westpac Consumer Credit Cards and Altitude Business Cards where the transaction was completed online or over the phone in Australian dollars, and the merchant or financial institution processing payment is located overseas.
Foreign transactions made whilst overseas and paying over the counter with a credit card don’t qualify for this refund.
What is an example of a specific AUD transaction where the Foreign Transaction Fee refund might have applied?
An example scenario where the foreign transaction fee refund might have applied is if you used a consumer credit card to purchase a book online on 4 December 2014 in Australian dollars and the merchant was located outside Australia.
Is the Foreign Transaction Fee in the impacted scenario still being charged?
The foreign transaction fee was paused from November 2015 for impacted transactions. The fee will be switched back on from 1 July 2016, in accordance with the updated Conditions of Use.
I claim foreign transaction fees as a tax deduction. What should I do now that I have a refund?
You may like to consult your tax adviser to discuss whether this refund has any tax implications for you.
Will I be receiving a refund for my Westpac BusinessChoice Card(s)?
If you have a Business credit card facility, we will notify you separately if you are receiving a refund for that credit card.
I believe I should have received a refund but I have not been contacted by the bank – what should I do?
If you believe you’ve made foreign transactions that meet the criteria listed above, and you would like the associated foreign transaction fees charged to be reviewed, contact us.
Where can I get the latest Conditions of Use?
They are available on the following pages: