'Using plastic overseas? Always PAY IN EUROS...' blog discussion

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  • CaxtonFX_representativeCaxtonFX_representative Organisation Representatives - Private Messages may not be monitored
    2 Posts
    Hi 'richardsoffice'. I'm sorry to hear about your experience with our card. I just wanted to clear up any confusion as to why these extra charges occur and how to avoid them.

    The key is to always pay in the local currency. When using your prepaid card to pay for goods, you may get the choice of paying in either euros or sterling - always choose the local currency.

    Why? If you pay in sterling the retailer converts your payment at their exchange rate and you lose out. This is called Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC). In future, remember to check the screen before authorising transactions. If the value is shown in pounds - ask that it is changed!


    I hope that helps. If you have any further questions, feel free to ask.
    Official Company Representative
    I am the official company representative of CaxtonFX. MSE has given permission for me to post in response to queries about the company, so that I can help solve issues. You can see my name on the companies with permission to post list. I am not allowed to tout for business at all. If you believe I am please report it to [email protected] This does NOT imply any form of approval of my company or its products by MSE"
  • I bank at Santander and was advised by Santander to always change money at their cash machines in Spain and to pay commission in Euros. This results in a commission free withdrawal and a decent rate. have tried other banks in Spain and the exchange rates are not very good. I have walked away without taking any money out when I have seen the transfer rate.

    Chris
  • kuepperkuepper Forumite
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    last week I bought goods at Istanbul ATU duty free where prices are displayed in euros. Took everything to the counter and gave my credit card and he said that'll be £xxx. I said I don't want to pay in GBP (as per MSE advice) why can't I pay in euros like the prices are advertised in or in Turkish lira? He said because I had a british cc I had to pay in GBP. As it was either that or nothing and for all I knew it had maybe become a rule/policy recently i had no alternative.
    So I paid in GBP by cc and was shocked when I got my receipt and it revealed a lower exchange rate than elsewhere (for converting from the Turkish Lira price which had been converted from Euros!) and added a fee of 1.65%. More annoyingly the receipt stated
    "I RECOGNISE THAT I WAS GIVEN A CHOICE OF PAYMENT CURRENCIES AND THAT I COULD HAVE PAID IN TL (TURKISH LIRA). I ACCEPT THE EXCHANGE RATE USED TO PERFORM THE CURRENCY CONVERSION AND THAT MY DECISION TO PAY IN GBP IS FINAL."
    None of this was true ie I was not given a choice of payment currencies, I was not told I could have paid in TL, I was not told what the exchange rate used was nor that I had to pay a fee. It was a fait accompli and just a plain con trick
  • I recently booked a hotel on olotels.com. The whole way through the booking process I was given the price in GBP and I therefore decided to use my airmiles card to pay. On the payment screen the price was again displayed in GBP but when the confirmation email arrived the total was in EUR.

    Needless to say I was pretty angry as the airmiles are certainly not worth the £32.80 "non-sterling transaction fee". Can anyone advise as to whether this is illegal? I certainly feel pretty aggrieved but can't actually find anything to back up my case against Olotels and therefore reclaim my money!

    Thanks

    Will
  • marks7389marks7389 Forumite
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    Part of the Furniture 10 Posts Combo Breaker
    What really annoys me is an increasing trend to assume that you want to pay in pounds and simply supply you with a slip to sign that wrongly states you have been offered a choice of payment currencies and that you have opted not to use the MasterCard (or other as applicable) exchange rate.

    I have just returned from China and Hong Kong where I've had that happen a number of times. I've taken to asking for the card to be charged in local currency, then checking very carefully and refusing to sign the slip or at least crossing out the erroneous statement, the rate and sterling amount and specifying that the charge is to be made in local currency prior to signing. That then inevitably means disputing the transaction when they don't.

    Hassle, but I'd encourage everyone else to do likewise to see if we can get the card issues to apply pressure on the retailers via the card networks to put a stop to what is at best poor staff training on the part of the retailers and very likely deliberate sharp practice to rip off customers by what is often an additional 4-5%.
  • marks7389marks7389 Forumite
    79 Posts
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    wilson115 wrote: »
    I recently booked a hotel on olotels.com. The whole way through the booking process I was given the price in GBP and I therefore decided to use my airmiles card to pay. On the payment screen the price was again displayed in GBP but when the confirmation email arrived the total was in EUR.

    Needless to say I was pretty angry as the airmiles are certainly not worth the £32.80 "non-sterling transaction fee". Can anyone advise as to whether this is illegal? I certainly feel pretty aggrieved but can't actually find anything to back up my case against Olotels and therefore reclaim my money!

    Thanks

    Will

    Incredibly sharp practice. I would dispute the charge with your card issuer, especially if you have proof.
  • edited 23 December 2013 at 1:52PM
    madkingsoupmadkingsoup Forumite
    67 Posts
    edited 23 December 2013 at 1:52PM
    I was in Gran Canaria last week and was intrigued by this new option. On returning I checked my bank statement to see how the transactions had turned out, especially as all the banks actively encourage you to chose the GBP option, but I hadn't really understood, so ignored the stickers and advice on the ATM screen.

    ATM - EUR OPTION SELECTED
    €140 = £126.29 + £2.52 (rate incl fee: 1.087 / excl fee: 1.109)

    ATM - EUR OPTION SELECTED
    €300 = £271.08 + £5.00 (rate incl fee: 1.087 / excl fee: 1.107)

    STORE - GBP OPTION SELECTED
    €144.23 = £125.83 (rate: 1.146)

    OK, this is not a scientific sample of rates or transactions, but based on this, I should have paid in GBP as often as possible.

    FYI It's a First Direct debit card.
  • prowlaprowla Forumite
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    benjus wrote: »
    One (rather niche) situation came up recently where I would actually advise paying in GBP if possible. My OH was travelling on business; her employer doesn't issue corporate cards, so she had to pay for everything on her personal card and claim back. Because she paid for everything in EUR and the receipts were in EUR, she entered them into the computer system in EUR, which converted them back to GBP automatically. However, they didn't use the same exchange rate, and she lost out slightly. No big deal, but if she'd paid in GBP she would have received exactly the right amount (although her employer would have paid slightly more). This situation probably doesn't apply to many people though - other employers may have more flexible computer systems to handle this.
    You have to work out the actual rate from your credit card and submit that with your expenses. I've done that this year with my company; it was queried, so I included the details from my statement and it was all OK.

    If the system is inflexible, then simply add a new expense to cover the adjustments. (I've done that in the past.)
  • We are travelling on a cruise with Princess Cruises in February. We have the option to have our "folio" charged in US Dollars or GB pounds (converted by the cruise line) after having registered a credit card with them.
    In the past we have paid in pounds, but this thread makes me wonder if we should be asking for the cost to be in dollars and then pay the credit card bill (complete with their conversion costs)? We have a Saga card which we will use for on-shore expenses so that we do not incur charges on that, but would be using another card for the cruise bill itself.
    Any advice would be useful - thanks.
  • torbrextorbrex
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    Tigermum wrote: »
    We are travelling on a cruise with Princess Cruises in February. We have the option to have our "folio" charged in US Dollars or GB pounds (converted by the cruise line) after having registered a credit card with them.
    In the past we have paid in pounds, but this thread makes me wonder if we should be asking for the cost to be in dollars and then pay the credit card bill (complete with their conversion costs)? We have a Saga card which we will use for on-shore expenses so that we do not incur charges on that, but would be using another card for the cruise bill itself.
    Any advice would be useful - thanks.
    Given the choice, I would go for paying in the local currency as you will always get a better exchange rate through your credit card so if its dollars on board then use your Saga card.
    The cruise company will use standard exchange rates (or worse) just like any high street shop.
    I was in America on holiday last year and spent over £3000 in dollars and every transaction, I was better off on exchange by a couple of cents on the dollar every time than I would have been changing money elswhere.
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