Overseas transaction fee charged for some online buys

Reader Alan Lim wrote in to askST about online purchases. He asked: "Is it fraud if a website advertises itself to be Singapore-based, but consumers end up being charged a credit card overseas transaction fee when they purchase from it?" Consumer reporter Melissa Lin answered.

According to The Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS), there is no "bank fraud" in this case.

Credit card companies will impose an international processing fee on transactions that are conducted via a foreign gateway in Singapore currency, said ABS director Ong-Ang Ai Boon.

This fee is on top of the purchase price, and the bank will pass it on to the credit card holder.

The website should inform customers upfront about this possible fee, and indicate to customers that such a fee could be imposed on certain purchases, Mrs Ong-Ang added.

Consumers concerned about incurring additional fees should check with the merchants on whether the transaction is processed in or outside Singapore, prior to making any payments for their online purchases.

Such information is usually available on the merchants' websites, or as part of their terms and conditions.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 27, 2017, with the headline 'Overseas transaction fee charged for some online buys'. Print Edition | Subscribe