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Any recent stories of dynamic currency conversion?

Any recent stories of dynamic currency conversion?

Old Jun 5th, 2006, 04:15 PM
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We traveled throughout mainland Greece from 4-30-06 to 5-13-06 and did not encounter DCC anywhere except at the Avis counter at the Athens airport. We were assured we were being charged in Euros as well but the charge came through as dollars. Avis claims that we agreed to DCC somewhere in the contract although I read it carefully and did not see any such thing. I'm still waiting to see how the problem will be resolved. My husband and I are long-time Avis customers and have a Preferred Membership.
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Old Jun 5th, 2006, 06:54 PM
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Could someone explain this DCC thing? We'll be vacationing in Ireland in August. I'll be using my credit card, and also using cash. What exactly do I need to keep an eye out for? Also, should I convert our U.S money to euros before we leave the states or will they take U.S cash? I do have a pin number for an ATM machine (but I'm embarrased to say I've never used an ATM).
Thanks so much
Carrie
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Old Jun 5th, 2006, 07:25 PM
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If the sales slip shows the amount charged in U.S. dollars, ask them to change it to local currency.

If they refuse (or tell you they can't, bla bla bla), sign the slip and write this above your signature:

LOCAL CURRENCY NOT OFFERED

When the charge comes through, dispute it. You will win, because when the merchant produces the signature instrument, it will have your notation on it. Visa and Master Card operating rules expressly require that the cardholder be offered a choice of currencies. Your account will be credited with the difference between the merchant's exorbitant exchange markup and the more reasonable percentage charged by the card network.

Get cash from ATMs at your destination to spend on incidentals. Use credit cards for larger purchases.
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Old Jun 5th, 2006, 07:55 PM
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Great information. Thank you!
Carrie
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Old Jun 21st, 2006, 05:19 PM
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My husband and I just got back from 12 days in Ireland last week. I didn't run into a problem, because I every time handed them the card I accompanied it with "please ring this in Euro". In the West, they didn't know what I was talking about. In the South and near Dublin, they pushed the non-DCC button. An American woman in front of me at a shop in Dublin was asked which currency she wanted, and she didn't know why the cashier was asking. While not everyone knows about DCC, I think that awareness is growing.
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Old Jun 21st, 2006, 05:28 PM
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This is the first I have heard about this. Has anyone encountered this in Germany? Thanks for the information.
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Old Jun 21st, 2006, 05:35 PM
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Can someone explain the DCC for us newbies and what happens if you are charged in USD instead of Euros? I'm a bit confused and I've tried searching it out but can't find sufficient info.
 
Old Jun 21st, 2006, 05:42 PM
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DCC is Dynamic Currency Conversion. The merchant converts your Euro purchase for you into $$$. OK, that's fine, but it will cost you an additional 3% on your purchase. That's not OK with me.

I would rather pay in Euro, and have M/C or VISA do the conversion for 1%.
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Old Jun 21st, 2006, 07:11 PM
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Got it. Is it better to get cash at an ATM to pay for it or is it a huge fee to get cash out there? Perhaps the ATM fees vary by bank? BTW, is it possible to get a BA Credit card in the US and have them charge you in GPB to use on a Europe excursion to avoid the 1-3% conversion fees?
 
Old Jun 21st, 2006, 07:39 PM
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If you have an American credit card, there isn't any way you can charge things in GBP and not have somebody convert it because the account is in US dollars. It has to be converted. They can't charge you in GBP because you can't pay the bill in GBP. The issue is who does the converting, your credit card or the store.
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Old Jun 21st, 2006, 07:54 PM
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Darn, I was hoping there was a way around the conversion issue. Is there anything that is a better bet for paying for things? Travelers checks, carrying lots of cash (not something I'd like to do I think)? International credit cards? It seems silly to me to have to pay 1-3% of what I spend to someone just to do a little math.
 
Old Jun 21st, 2006, 08:05 PM
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The Guggenheim museum in Venice did the DCC; about 3% more to the museum. The receipt said if you want to be charged in Euro instead, tell the cashier. The cashier of course pretended he had never heard of this, but grudgingly called his supervisor who showed him how to void the transaction and redo it in Euro.

You can reduce the "loss" due to fees by using a CC that charges no more than 1% passed on by MC or Visa.

Listen to what CC company says with a grain of salt. Verify the charge yourself at:

http://www.xe.com/ccc/

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Old Jun 22nd, 2006, 07:02 AM
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You can avoid the charges by your credit card to do the conversion by getting a card that doesn't do that, like Capital One.

The ATM's in Europe attached to a bank will not charge any fee at all. The only fee is the one from your home bank, so get your card from a bank that doesn't charge a fee.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2006, 09:27 AM
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Susan, I may be misunderstanding you, but using a Capital One won't prevent DCC. And they do also charge a fee. But only the 1% MC or Visa charges. They don't add their own 1 or 2% as do so many other cards.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2006, 09:30 AM
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Sorry, Susan, just realized that you were talking about conversion fee, not DCC.
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Old Jun 29th, 2006, 12:09 AM
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We are Americans who will be vacationing in Canada this summer. Is DCC also an issue between the US and Canada?

On the fee topic,...last Sept we went to Germany. On my MBNA Mastercard bill, I was charged $65 in "foreign transaction fees". But my son used an MBNA Visa and they charged him no "foreign Transaction fees."

Re DCC, the Holiday Inn/Munich billed us in US dollars (about $1200!) but we were in a hurry and I wasn't aware of the DCC, so I didn't question it.
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Old Jun 29th, 2006, 08:13 AM
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This happened to us 2 years ago at LHR left-luggage.He insisted because it was a CDN Visa we had to be billed in $CDN.We made him cancel the transaction and paid in cash.Harrods at LHR duty-free try to pull the same stunt but will backdown under pressure.Anywhere else in Europe we have been asked what we would like to do.It has never happened to us in France where we travel often.The British seem to be the worst offenders,which saddens me as we are both originally from there.Problems with car rental always seem to occur there also.Rip-off Britain is very apt.My friends and family tell me it is worse for them as they have to live there !I am glad to know that these merchants are contradicting their terms of service with Visa/MC.
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Old Jun 29th, 2006, 08:25 AM
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tledford - I'm impressed that you were able to stay at Albergo del Senato for 190 euros (or dollars in this case!)a night. The best rate I've ever had there was 315 euros per night! Based on my experience, you had a bargain. (I still love Albergo del Senato!) When we checked out, they inquired if we wanted the charge in euros or dollars (we knew enough to opt for dollars).
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Old Jun 29th, 2006, 09:01 AM
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dorkforcemom, if I'm not mistaken, the fact that you opted to pay in USD was opting for a DCC and the rate of exchange was at the hotel's discretion rather than (almost always) lower rate of your credit card. Would someone correct me if this is in error?
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Old Jun 29th, 2006, 09:16 AM
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"(we knew enough to opt for dollars)."

Sorry, you got that backwards. If a merchant bills you in dollars, ask them to re-run the charge in local currency. If they decline, write this above your signature:

<b>LOCAL CURRENCY NOT OFFERED</b>

When you get your card statement, dispute the charge. The network (Visa/MC) operating rules require merchants to offer local currency settlement. Technically, not offering is a violation of the Merchant Agreement.
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