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Any recent stories of dynamic currency conversion?

Any recent stories of dynamic currency conversion?

Old Jun 29th, 2006, 10:09 AM
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I mistyped - I knew enough to opt for euros! When we checked out of our hotel, there was an older (than me, it's relevant) lady who was asked the same question by hotel personnel. She asked their advice. They responded that it was up to her and was offered as a convenience. Not wanting to intrude, she glanced over at me and I indicated I would be charging in euros. That helped her decision!
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Old Jun 29th, 2006, 02:28 PM
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Thank you for all of your input on this subject as I will be heading to Europe in a couple of weeks and was not aware of this issue. From what I gathered. Opt to pay in Local currency "Euro" and if Merchant does not offer local currency to state it infront of my signature as reference to dispute with bank later. Please correct me if I'm wrong.
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Old Jun 29th, 2006, 05:25 PM
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When I visited London last year and shopped at Harrod's, I was asked whether I wanted to be charged in dollars. I asked whether there was a fee involved and was told there wasn't one. I didn't notice an extra charge but didn't know that it went along with the territory. Perhaps there isn't a fee in England where pounds are still used. Does anyone know? Thanks.
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Old Jun 29th, 2006, 05:31 PM
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Yup, there was a fee, and it was buried into the conversion rate. Didn't notice it, did you? You paid an extra 3% -- how does that make you feel?

If you did the math on the conversion rate of pounds to $$$ with the interbank rate of exchange that day vis-a-vis the conversion rate you got by paying in $$$, you lost.
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Old Jun 29th, 2006, 05:50 PM
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I believe I was victimized by the conversion scam in a slightly different way.

I was very recently in Prague, Budapest, brugge and Amsterdam.

Well, the hotels in Prague and Budapest quoted their rates in Euros. However, when we checked out they charged in the local currency.

I did a very quick calculation and in both cases "their" bank rate of conversion cost me more than my quick mental calculation.
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Old Jun 30th, 2006, 01:26 AM
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That is a fairly common practice in Eastern Europe, since the communist days. Then, when quoting rates to Western visitors, they were usually in Deutsche Mark (or rarely £ or $) and the hotel would usually accept payment in cash DM, but if you wanted to use your card, the transaction went through in local currency. The indicated DM price was done using rates beneficial to the hotel (usually to avoid currency fluctuations and having to change price frequently).
I assume similar thing happended in your case.
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Old Jul 12th, 2006, 12:01 AM
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I was in Prague in 2003, Germany & Poland in July 2004, Dublin in Jan. 2005 and London in Sept. 2005 and luckily never encountered this DCC thing. Everything was charged in the local currency. The only problem I did have was the night clerk at the hostel in Dublin who had no idea how to work the charge machine. I ended up having to go behind the desk and charge my card just to get out of there. I guess it's hard to get good help....
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Old Jul 12th, 2006, 09:04 AM
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I have never heard of this in France. To my knowledge, everything is charged in local currency. The only place where this did not happen was at the US Embassy when I was getting some papers notarized -- but since it is United States territory, I found that perfectly normal. For me it was a foreign transaction because I have a French American Express card.
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Old Jul 12th, 2006, 09:39 AM
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Unfortunately I don't remember which pub it was in Ireland (it was either in Ennis or Killarney) who wanted to charge in Dollars. I asked for Euros, and they said it was. The receipt said (quite clearly) that 'the customer agrees to pay the above amount in dollars'. When I pointed that out to them, they were genuinely surprised, went back to the register, and got a corrected slip in Euros.
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Old Jul 12th, 2006, 11:15 AM
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there seems to be quite a bit of information on this here

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Old Jul 15th, 2006, 02:15 AM
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It happened to me just yesterday morning as I was checking out of Jury's Inn Parnell Street in Dublin.

I asked the clerk if it was in dollars, he said that it was, but he pointed to the euro sub-total above.

When I told him that I thought it was supposed to be standard credit card policy to give the customer a choice before converting the currency, he was visibly shaken.

He didn't say anything but he quickly voided the transaction and gave it to me in Euros.

I notice that the Aer Lingus site gives you the choice before purchase.

I'm not sure this is technically a "scam" -- couldn't the vendors' conversion fee sometimes be the same or less than your credit card's?
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Old Jul 15th, 2006, 02:42 AM
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could the vendor's conversion fee be less then that of the credit cards? I suppose so but then what would be in it for the merchant and the credit card processor.

The whole idea of dynamic currency conversion (dcc) is that the processor and the merchant get a piece of the action...since the credit card companies use the interbank rate + 1%, I don't see anyway, if they're going to profit from it, they can beat that...in general I have found dcc conversion rates are 5 to 6% above interbank rates...even if you use one of the near criminal banks that add an additional 2% to foreign currency charges you still do much better having the credit card company do the conversion and of course not to be outdone many banks are now tacking that foreign currency charge on transactions where the dcc scam has been pulled.

Unless you really believe, as the advertising to merchants tells them to become dcc merchants, that they are doing you a favor by letting you know exactly how much the transaction is going to cost and how most customers prefer that!
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Old Jul 15th, 2006, 05:53 AM
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The 2 times I have had DCC attempts foisted on me, I found the conversion rate used by the merchants were about 5% higher than the rate used by my CC. (I had other purchases the same day). Now MC will be adding a 0.8% charge to the bill if the charge is in US$ and made outside the US. So DCC would cost you about 6% over if using MC.

VISA also had a similar charge that was subsequently withdrawn. But with MC adding it, who knows when VISA will reinstate theirs!
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Old Jul 21st, 2006, 08:23 AM
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What is the maximum amount that can be added w/ DCC?
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Old Jul 21st, 2006, 08:25 AM
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I don't know of any limit - but it doesn't matter, because you don't have to pay it.
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Old Jul 21st, 2006, 08:46 AM
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Just returned from two months in Europe, charged tons of things, and never once had an encounter with even an attempt or an offer for cynamic currency conversion. Everything was charged in pounds or euros as it should have been.
Old Jul 21st, 2006, 09:02 AM
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While visiting Spain (Barcelona, Seville, and Madrid) in March, I encountered this almost every time we used a credit card. Most expressed surprise that I didn't want to be charged in dollars, but were happy to make the change for me. After the first few purchases, I indicated my choice up-front.
Old Jul 21st, 2006, 09:16 AM
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Recently returned from a trip to Scotland and the only DCC attempt I ran into was at the Avis counter at Glasgow Airport. I told the agent I wanted my contract and bill in pounds and he indicated that he'd already written it up in dollars. I responded that I was prepared to wait for him to re-do it in pounds, so that's what we did. He indicated that "most Americans want it in dollars because it's simpler for them." Sure. Other than that he was pleasant enough and it was no problem (other than a 5-minute wait) to get the contract redrafted.
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Old Jul 21st, 2006, 09:17 AM
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Is this common in Paris? I've never noticed it in the past.
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Old Jul 21st, 2006, 10:04 AM
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It happened to us several times in Rome recently; I had to get quite stroppy to persuade the hotel receptionist to charge my credit card in euros as he initially said it was impossible (and it was a large, well-known five star hotel so I don't believe that they were genuinely ignorant of charging procedures).

A restaurant near Campo dei Fiori (I wish I could remember what it was called to name and shame it) absolutely refused to charge my CC in euros - next time I'll take the "local currency not offered" route.
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