Visa and MasterCard have been ordered to refund an estimated 800 (m) million dollars to their U-S customers.
The refund stems from a hidden fee on purchases made in foreign countries as far back as 1996.
The credit card giants had added a one percent surcharge to transactions requiring foreign currency to be converted into U-S dollars.
The order, by a judge in San Francisco, finalizes a tentative ruling that had been under court seal since February.
Attorneys representing consumer interests in the case describe the decision as vindication for millions of cardholders.
Visa and MasterCard are vowing to appeal the decision, which they describe as confounding.
On the Net: www.mastercard.com
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VISA logo and MASTERCARD logo over gray texture, partial graphic