International Transaction fees on AUD Transactions

Just noticed about a month ago that I started getting charged an “international transaction fee” for some purchases in Australian dollars, by the Commonwealth Bank. I spoke to them and they said they only started doing this in August 2016 because all the credit card providers started charging this fee.

My main issue with this, is there is usually no way to tell when a seller’s account is located overseas before the transaction. These hidden fees are really starting to get annoying when you pay via Paypal in AUD for an item on ebay AU and the item is located in Australia, only to find out the seller’s bank account is foreign, but in Australian dollars!

Firstly, how is this not misleading (and or deceptive conduct) when there is no way for us as consumers to ascertain the location of the seller’s bank account? Secondly, why should the onus be on us as consumers to deal with this when we are not even warned of the fee before the sale? Surely this would go against Australian Consumer Law, regarding undisclosed fees and charges.

The most annoying instance of this I’ve suffered so far is paying for Facebook Ads, being charged an intl transaction fee because their account is in Ireland but still in AUD. We are literally paying a fee just so they can avoid paying tax in Australia! WTF!


I understand the frustration @deevo101. It’s practically impossible to foresee this charge when shopping online with a number of retailers, as @JemmaCastle notes in her article on foreign transaction fees.

It might be worth following up with the retailer if you haven’t already. Also, the ACCC takes a pretty dim view on these fees where the relevant info is not clearly disclosed so you could also register a complaint there. If anyone else has had a similar experience, please share it below.


I’ve noticed these fees being applied to my Spotify subscription.

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Many if not most of these companies are off-shore and not subject to Australian jurisdiction.

We are also “privileged” to receive the worst exchange rates (by about 5% against $USD and possibly others) plus a 3% currency or off-shore processing fee. Although our banks are the most profitable in the world they continue to bleat about how hard done by they are, and how important their top profits are to the country. Government believes it and the coalition champions unbridled, unregulated (or self regulated, which is the same thing) business. Suck it up sheeple! “We” get what “you” vote for.


if you’re buying privately (which you are technically doing on ebay, at the end of the day it’s a private transaction and ebay is just the facilitator) this is a risk you take. however, if you receive an ebay item from overseas when the listing says it was australian you can report the seller for item location misrepresentation. there’s a lot of sellers out there who claim they and their products are australian and then you wind up paying and receiving stuff from hong kong or china.


What is even worse than this is where a company e.g. McAfee have a physical office in North Sydney, sell Australian products (at Australian prices i.e. more than the same product say in the USA) from an Australian address on an Australian invoice, yet the bank account is in the USA and you get charged the international transaction fee when you have paid an invoice raised in Australian dollars in Australia from an Australian address and you pay in Australian dollars from an Australian bank in Australia!


It would be very good to think of some of these issues being taken to the ACCC.


Hear Hear !!! !!! !!! (as the pollies would say )


it’s a similar story on You pay an Australian website in Australian dollars but the company is headquartered in Ireland so you get charged foreign transaction fees and currency conversion. It’s worth looking in the terms and conditions for the trading name of the company which can often give hints as to where its located.

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I took up this issue once with my Myer Visa card because I’d bought something advertised as a price in Australian dollars but they’d charged a fee, and they immediately agreed to reverse the fee. I’m pretty sure they said that if the price was advertised in Australian dollars then that should be what you’re charged.

However I have been caught before with Living Social offers and haven’t actually followed this up. I agree that this is an area of concern which should be taken up with the ACCC. The fees can be quite high sometimes too.


Good reason why we urgently need a Royal Commission into the Banking Industry (and Insurance Industry.) But I won’t hold my breath while we have the LNP in power.


I support your sentiments as far as they go against these banks and companies that do these things in the name of more profits, happier shareholders and gouging for the sake of gouging. I don’t agree with the suggestion that it should be up to consumers to get our glasses out and start reading the lengthy terms and conditions that are a part of transacting online or elsewhere.

Noticing to see the trading name of the company that you are dealing with, may or may not help you to determine if their bank account was located in Australia or overseas. I suppose it is something to fall back on until a more elegant solution to the latest rorting can be put up. Businesses can and should do the right thing and notify all consumers with very clear warnings, that an international transaction fee will be charged to your credit card account for foolishly doing business with them.


Agreed! Lets take this issue to the ACCC. We need clarity about what are the duties of businesses who resort to these shameless tricks to generate more income for themselves.

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Yes, I have to agree with you topsi4. We need a full-blooded, independent Royal Commission of Inquiry, with very generous terms of reference in our favour, into both the banking and insurance sectors.

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Businesses are utterly entranced by the prospect of making a killing, so don’t get in their way or you will be run over and killed in the rush! This is absolutely reprehensible karen_seager!

We as consumers, Choice magazine and any other consumer protection pressure group, must report these concerns to the ACCC, present your disgust as respectful feedback to the bank flogging your arm, and write emails or letters to politicians and newspapers.

Now get cracking all of you!

I purchased a number of software apps that were to enhance my experience of Windows 10. These were either games, utilities, cooking and various educational apps.

I got stung $7.18 AUD for the many apps that I purchased online, using my Microsoft account on the Microsoft Australia online store. These were all purchased in a fit on or around the 1st September 2016.

Every single price displayed online was in Australian Dollars. I know from past experience that I have never paid international transaction fees through purchasing anything with Microsoft Australia online.

I hate being set upon by bank bullies; in this case it was the CBA altering their credit card terms and conditions at will, as they do with variable interest rates for business loans or mortgages. If only everyone else had such contractual freedom as the banking sector have with the formerly mentioned products!

I suspect that they have told me sometime previously in any of their updates to their terms and conditions, that most of us probably do not read or pay close attention to.

Naughty bastards!


Those fees are a real pain, especially when a company has a local base. Thanks for letting us know @avdbz429.

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Visa now charge a fee for all overseas transactions regardless of whether the bill was charged in Australian dollars. They claim that it costs them money to pay such transactions to the various vendors which is rot. All it needs is an intrabank transfer. I am sure credit card suppliers are doing this because they can and not because they have to.


I am totally with you @deevo101. I had a similar experience a week ago booking flight tickets at though it was landing site from flightcomparison sites like or As a customer you presume that its Australian site as the fares are displayed in AUD. I reviewed at for fares and all were in AUD. Even while paying by credit card or anywhere in T&C was it mentioned an Internation txn fee will be charged etc etc. Few days later my credit card txn had amount in AUD plus Int txn fee. I had to call the travel site customer care to explain it and there were good enough to get it refunded back to my card in 14 days. After speaking to customer care I realised the site is operating in NY and charges were in USD but website shows prices in AUD. This is clear deceiving of customers and there should be a mechanism for consumer to have a say.


This may be common knowledge but could help out others looking for a way to avoid these bogus hidden fees. There is one card I know of which has a very competitive exchange rate and does not charge int’l txn fees even for foreign currencies. There is no annual fee either, but you do have to make sure you pay your statement on time in a specific way or else you’ll get hit with their payment fees, late fees etc etc - as with most credit cards.

I should add that I am in no way affiliated with the company issuing this card, and everyone should look into the PDS, critical info summary and other info to ensure the product will meet their individual needs.