Resolving Complaints: Is the card issuing bank responsible?

Unlike a traditional retail transaction where you know you are out of the country, in an e-commerce transaction the line becomes blurred. It’s very easy for a cardholder to purchase something online from a business in another country and not even realize it. Furthermore, even though the merchant account will have their address and currency disclosed on the e-commerce website, most cardholders still won’t expect international transaction fees in the first place because it’s a little understood fee that many cardholders aren’t aware of.

When a complaint comes in the first thing you must do is make sure your system did not accidentally overcharge the customer. Once you have made sure of that, start by explaining that some card issuing banks charge international transaction fees when purchasing something from a business located in another country. If you charged your customer directly in their local currency it’s important to point out that your website is setup to make foreign purchases as easy as possible. That’s why you offer multi-currency processing in the first place. As a business owner you feel their frustration because you did everything you could to make sure it would be a good purchasing experience.

Once you have educated your customer on the topic of international online payment gateway transaction fees you can suggest that they call their card issuing bank to ask why an extra fee is being charged to their card. If the bank is sympathetic to the customer they may waive the fee on this occasion, or suggest switching them to a different card they offer which doesn’t have a foreign transaction fee.

Be prepared for a potential problem when the cardholder calls their bank. The person who takes the call at the bank may not be knowledgeable. They might suggest that it was not the bank that charged the fee. That is why it’s important to educate the customer first. You can suggest they be prepared to ask for a manager if their issue isn’t addressed by the first person they speak to.

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