Just ask the roughly 10 million cardholders who were part of the Foreign Currency Conversion Fee Antitrust class action lawsuit settlement.
The case, filed in 2001, alleged that Visa (V), MasterCard (MA), Diners Club, and a handful of credit card-issuing banks concealed credit and debit card fees on foreign currency transactions or sales by foreign merchants, which the plaintiffs said added up to 3% per transaction. The lawsuit further alleged that Visa and MasterCard boosted their base exchange rate before applying the fees.
A decade later, after years of appeals and an initial settlement reached in 2006, the court in October ordered the settlement administrator to disburse the $336 million in settlement funds. Initially, it was believed affected consumers would be receiving approximately $25 or more.
But not so fast. The class action website notes: "Participation in this settlement has been extraordinary, with more than 10,000,000 claims submitted."
And the Payout Is...
Over the past several days, consumers have been receiving their Foreign Currency Conversion Fee Antitrust settlement checks. And the amount has been $18.04, according to lowcards.com and also a website run by CPA Cassady Schiller.
For card-toting consumers who traveled extensively overseas when using their cards, the payout may be higher.
While $18.04 is not enough to go to Tahiti this winter, it may be enough for you and a few friends to meet for an American coffee and reminisce about the espressos you had in Rome.
Schiller's website notes that consumers who filed a claim but haven't received a check by Jan. 31 should contact the Foreign Currency Conversion Fee Antitrust website.
Motley Fool contributor Dawn Kawamoto does not own any shares in the companies listed. The Motley Fool owns shares of MasterCard. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Visa.