NEW YORK -- U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley, in Manhattan, granted preliminary approval Nov. 8 to a $336 million settlement of lawsuit over fees charged to cardholders for foreign-currency transactions.
The order initially signed off on the settlement, which covers consumers who had MasterCard, Visa or Diners Club cards from Feb. 1, 1996, to the preliminary approval date. Final approval is scheduled for November 2007.
The consolidated lawsuit charged that creditcard issuers had violated federal and state antitrust laws, disclosure laws and other legal requirements in the fees they charged to make transactions denominated in a foreign currency or with a foreign merchant. The card issuers denied any wrongdoing in the matter.
Under the settlement, the card issuers will pay $336 million to create a settlement fund to pay monetary claims by eligible cardholders and disclose the fees, if they are charged, on billing statements and other documents. The settlement was reached in July after years of litigation.
Settling defendants include units of MasterCard, Visa, Bank of America, Citigroup, J.P. Morgan Chase, and Washington Mutual.