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  • FIRST POST
    • Former MSE Helen
    • By Former MSE Helen 12th Mar 13, 4:31 PM
    • 2,324Posts
    • 971Thanks
    Former MSE Helen
    'Using plastic overseas? Always PAY IN EUROS...' blog discussion
    • #1
    • 12th Mar 13, 4:31 PM
    'Using plastic overseas? Always PAY IN EUROS...' blog discussion 12th Mar 13 at 4:31 PM
    This is the discussion to link on the back of Martin's blog. Please read the blog first, as this discussion follows it.





    Please click 'post reply' to discuss below.
Page 1
  • guitareth
    • #2
    • 13th Mar 13, 7:29 AM
    • #2
    • 13th Mar 13, 7:29 AM
    I live in Spain now and am amazed how many tourists fall for this as they seem to think it's a better option to pay in their home country's exchange rate. It's becoming more and more common for shops and restaurants here to either offer you the option or paying in £ or euros, OR - and this is even worse - they just ASSUME you'll want to pay in your home currency and select that for you! Have been caught out with latter a few times when paying with my Santander Zero UK Mastercard so now when paying with that I always make a point of telling them I want to pay in Euros when I hand over the card.
  • guitareth
    • #3
    • 13th Mar 13, 7:39 AM
    Avoid drawing cash from Banco Sabadell ATMs!!
    • #3
    • 13th Mar 13, 7:39 AM
    WARNING!! Avoid withdrawing cash from ATMs operated by Sabadell bank in Spain using your UK credit or debit card until I can confirm following issue has been resolved.

    Sabadell bank in Spain has a fault in its ATM network in that when drawing cash from its ATMs using a foreign card even if you select to pay in Euros it still charges you in GB pounds using its own rubbish exchange rate. I became aware of this fault in December after encountering it at 3 different Sabadell ATMs in different areas of central and southern Spain, whereby I had selected to pay in Euros. I and other British users have reported the fault to them and I received an email in January saying they'd investigate. However, despite follow ups to them 3 months later I am still waiting for response from Sabadell to confirm they've corrected this fault. This really is daylight robbery by a bank!
    • patrick1
    • By patrick1 13th Mar 13, 11:14 AM
    • 61 Posts
    • 19 Thanks
    patrick1
    • #4
    • 13th Mar 13, 11:14 AM
    • #4
    • 13th Mar 13, 11:14 AM
    I've had problems with duty free shops at airports. They are so quick and auto-charge in £ and then claim total ignorance about the issue if you make a fuss about it. have had this issue in Spain, China, Cambodia, etc. Getting a refund involves finding a manager who is unavailable, etc. I agree with prev poster - always tell them beforehand you want to pay in whatever the local currency is.
    • lyster101
    • By lyster101 13th Mar 13, 3:56 PM
    • 104 Posts
    • 28 Thanks
    lyster101
    • #5
    • 13th Mar 13, 3:56 PM
    • #5
    • 13th Mar 13, 3:56 PM
    It is not just Sabadell. I was in Seville a fortnight ago and was charged in GBP at the Alcazar palace. This is governmental. I was not offered a choice to pay in EUR or GBP, as sometimes I am. I forget the bank but, as described, it is often too late to reverse once the payment has actually been taken.

    This has also happened on previous trips to Madrid, Barcelona and the Canaries. I've NEVER come across a different country's banks not offering you at least a choice. I'm sure there is a cut (from the bank) for the organisation processing the payment and it is wholly immoral to force a rate of c. 1.1 EUR to GBP on someone without a) telling them before hand (No, a statement on the receipt that I have no recourse with Mastercard does not constitute this) or b) giving them a choice.

    As I wrote, I've only seen this in Spain.
    • benjus
    • By benjus 13th Mar 13, 6:44 PM
    • 5,316 Posts
    • 3,273 Thanks
    benjus
    • #6
    • 13th Mar 13, 6:44 PM
    • #6
    • 13th Mar 13, 6:44 PM
    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.
    Let's settle this like gentlemen: armed with heavy sticks
    On a rotating plate, with spikes like Flash Gordon
    And you're Peter Duncan; I gave you fair warning
  • keithgissing
    • #7
    • 14th Mar 13, 8:57 AM
    Charged to use card!
    • #7
    • 14th Mar 13, 8:57 AM
    I recently purchased my ski pass in France using my Lloyds Bank credit card (don't have a better one). I paid in Euros and got a reasonable rate but the Bank charged me £2.00 (on an £86.00 transaction) for a 'non sterling' transaction! They make money however that are able.
  • meher
    • #8
    • 21st Mar 13, 3:09 PM
    • #8
    • 21st Mar 13, 3:09 PM
    I confess all this is slightly too complicated to understand. However i understood the last sentence that the best way to pay is in Euro as opposed to Dollar or Pound. I however don't get it, why not just pay in the local currency? Whenever I pay abroad, I insist that they take it in their local currency. I don't understand why my card should be subject to several conversions. For instance I buy something for $100. The retailer asks me if I would like it charged in dollars or Pounds; why would I want to ask them to pay in Euro when it is best that they charge me $100 and my card would give them £65.93, end of story, instead of it being converted by the retailer at their convenient rate, which might not be the best rate mind you, then my card converts it again to pound to take it off my account? Please excuse my profound ignorance if it is the case but common sense tells me not to trust any retailer's conversion rates and just pay in local currency.
  • guitareth
    • #9
    • 21st Mar 13, 3:23 PM
    • #9
    • 21st Mar 13, 3:23 PM
    I confess all this is slightly too complicated to understand. However i understood the last sentence that the best way to pay is in Euro as opposed to Dollar or Pound. I however don't get it, why not just pay in the local currency? Whenever I pay abroad, I insist that they take it in their local currency. I don't understand why my card should be subject to several conversions. For instance I buy something for $100. The retailer asks me if I would like it charged in dollars or Pounds; why would I want to ask them to pay in Euro when it is best that they charge me $100 and my card would give them £65.93, end of story, instead of it being converted by the retailer at their convenient rate, which might not be the best rate mind you, then my card converts it again to pound to take it off my account? Please excuse my profound ignorance if it is the case but common sense tells me not to trust any retailer's conversion rates and just pay in local currency.
    Originally posted by meher
    Exactly you are spot on. Always pay in the LOCAL currency. If you let the retailer (or whoever you are buying from) convert it to another currency you will always get a worse rate than you will from your credit/debit card's bank.
  • richardsoffice
    Prepaid Euro cards (i.e. CaxtonFX) in Spain, rip-off.
    A few months ago in two separate transactions using my prepaid already loaded with euros CaxtonFX card I withdrew €150 from two different ATM’s with confusing information on the screen, yet when I got home I found that each withdrawals of €150 from my Caxton FX,Prepaid Euro card was debited €174 what had happened was the machine first converted the €150 to pounds sterling and then back again to Euros! And uponcontacting Caxton they told me there’s nothing they can do about it, this sometime happens it’s a way the Spanish banks get money!
  • richardsoffice
    Another time In Spain I gave my card to the hotel manager to pay my bill
    and I told him I wanted to pay in Euros, I watched the transaction progress on the card readers screen but it was all in Spanish (I can’t read Spanish) the manager quickly pressed a button a couple of times then presented the machine to me to enter my PIN the screen clearly had the amount displayed in Euros and no mention of any conversion, however I didn’t find out till I got home the manager had agreed for me to have the transaction converted to UK pounds at some point but it would have been written in Spanish when he did it.
    Last edited by richardsoffice; 27-03-2013 at 11:42 PM. Reason: error
  • CaxtonFX representative
    RE: Prepaid Euro cards (i.e. CaxtonFX) in Spain, rip-off.
    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 forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com This does NOT imply any form of approval of my company or its products by MSE"
  • kop_blade9
    santander cards
    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
    • kuepper
    • By kuepper 17th Jul 13, 5:23 PM
    • 760 Posts
    • 121 Thanks
    kuepper
    Beware ATU duty free shops in Turkey and elsewhere
    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
  • wilson115
    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
    • marks7389
    • By marks7389 30th Oct 13, 6:05 AM
    • 75 Posts
    • 36 Thanks
    marks7389
    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%.
    • marks7389
    • By marks7389 30th Oct 13, 6:06 AM
    • 75 Posts
    • 36 Thanks
    marks7389
    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
    Originally posted by wilson115
    Incredibly sharp practice. I would dispute the charge with your card issuer, especially if you have proof.
    • madkingsoup
    • By madkingsoup 23rd Dec 13, 12:38 PM
    • 66 Posts
    • 16 Thanks
    madkingsoup
    No hard and fast rule?
    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.
    Last edited by madkingsoup; 23-12-2013 at 12:52 PM.
    • prowla
    • By prowla 23rd Dec 13, 1:03 PM
    • 10,651 Posts
    • 9,529 Thanks
    prowla
    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.
    Originally posted by benjus
    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.)
    • Tigermum
    • By Tigermum 15th Jan 14, 1:58 PM
    • 2 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Tigermum
    Cruise charges
    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.
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