Bank of America Charges for International Withdrawals Class Action

Some banks now offer travelers the convenience of accessing funds in their bank accounts through ATM machines while they’re overseas. The complaint for this class action alleges that Bank of America, NA (BOA) assesses “hidden and inflated” international transaction fees (ITF) to its account holders when they use foreign ATMs.

The National Class for this action is all Bank of America checking account holders who, within the applicable statute of limitations, were charged an ITF for the withdrawal of foreign currency at a foreign ATM machine. A subclass has been proposed for California Bank of American checking account holders.

BOA is certainly entitled to some fees for international transactions. However, the complaint alleges that the fees it actually charges are not properly disclosed or calculated.

First, BOA charges a $5 out-of-network ATM transaction fee. As is common it also charges an ITF that is supposed to be based on 3% of the transaction amount. Another fee may be charged by the foreign ATM operator.

The complaint says, “In the case of ATM withdrawals made in a foreign country, BOA is entitled to apply that 3% ITF charge only to the amount of the foreign currency that was withdrawn and obtained by the customer. However, BOA unlawfully inflates the ITF by applying the 3% charge not only to the value of the currency that was withdrawn, but also to the fees assessed by the foreign ATM operator.”

The complaint alleges that this violates the terms of BOA’s own Personal Schedule of Fees.

For example, plaintiff Andrea F. Durkee used a Mexican ATM machine to withdraw an amount in pesos equivalent to US$5.32. BOA was entitled to charge her a $5 out-of-network ATM fee, the fees charged by the Mexican ATM operator, which included a VAT fee and added up to $2.86, and 3% of the amount withdrawn in pesos—that is, 3% of $5.32. However, according to the complaint, BOA inflated its 3% fee by calculating it based not on the withdrawn $5.32 but also on the $2.86 foreign ATM fees.

The complaint calculates that BOA was entitled to a 3% fee of 16 cents but charged Durkee 25 cents instead. While this seems to be a small amount, the complaint claims that such fees “have been the subject of substantial litigation” because it adds up. The complaint claims, “The 1% international transaction fees assessed by VISA International alone resulted in $424 million in revenue in 2004—which was nearly 30% of its revenue that year.”

It also alleges that this is not the first of this type of case to be brought against BOA: “BOA itself has been the subject of such lawsuits relating to international transaction fees for its credit cards, including as a defendant in a multidistrict litigation that resulted in a $336 million class-wide settlement that was paid out to over 10 million banking customers.” Now, the complaint says, it’s assessing the same kind of overcharges to holders of its debit and ATM cards.

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Consumer

Most Recent Case Event

Bank of America Charges for International Withdrawals Complaint

February 24, 2020

Some banks now offer travelers the convenience of accessing funds in their bank accounts through ATM machines while they’re overseas. The complaint for this class action alleges that Bank of America, NA (BOA) assesses “hidden and inflated” international transaction fees (ITF) to its account holders when they use foreign ATMs.

Bank of America Charges for International Withdrawals Complaint

Case Event History

Bank of America Charges for International Withdrawals Complaint

February 24, 2020

Some banks now offer travelers the convenience of accessing funds in their bank accounts through ATM machines while they’re overseas. The complaint for this class action alleges that Bank of America, NA (BOA) assesses “hidden and inflated” international transaction fees (ITF) to its account holders when they use foreign ATMs.

Bank of America Charges for International Withdrawals Complaint
Tags: Additional charges in breach of contract, Your Bank