WSJ: Visa, MasterCard may face over $500 million in refunds

Paul Beckett and Ron Lieber report in this morning’s Wall St. Journal that Visa and MasterCard could face a bill of at least $500 million for poorly disclosing fees to cardholders using their cards overseas.

Judge Sabraw of California Superior Court in Oakland, in his tentative opinion, didn’t ban the charging of currency-conversion fees, which generate hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue each year for Visa, MasterCard and the card-issuing banks, people familiar with the matter said.

But the judge did say that because of what he believed was inadequate disclosure to cardholders, Visa and MasterCard would have to refund many cardholders who have paid the 1% surcharge since 1996, these people said. The judge also ruled that Visa and MasterCard would have to mandate that banks that issue their cards disclose the fee clearly in statements in the future.

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