credit card question

Old Mar 15th, 2007, 08:17 AM
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credit card question

While in Italy, which is better? at time of purchase charge converted to home currency or charge in local currency?
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Old Mar 15th, 2007, 08:18 AM
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Always charge in local currency.
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Old Mar 15th, 2007, 08:29 AM
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why ? ?

is it cheaper, safer, more convenient for you ? ?
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Old Mar 15th, 2007, 08:43 AM
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Cheaper. You will get a better conversion rate (unless you use a CC company that uses outrageous exchange rates, in which case you should be using a different CC company).

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Old Mar 15th, 2007, 01:12 PM
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If you use your home currency you will get nailed twice. First a less-than-favorable exchange rate, and then a "foreign currency conversion" charge by your home bank -- even though no conversion happened.

Always ask for the local currency
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Old Mar 15th, 2007, 02:34 PM
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Google "dynamic currency conversion".

Basically it allows the retailer rather than your bank to set the exchange rate - normally to your detriment
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Old Mar 15th, 2007, 04:55 PM
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Also, call your bank before you go. My bank, Citibank, good or bad, has gotten skittish lately. I got the impression there's been some data integrity issues.

I just called to tell them about my itineraries for the next couple of months. They wanted beginning dates and ending dates, phone contact, etc....

I've traveled around the world with these guys before with no problems, but now....
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Old Mar 15th, 2007, 09:52 PM
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There was another thread on this forum about paying in US dollars when abroad; it is called Dynamic Currency Conversion, but it should be called Fleece the Unaware. It is in reality legal piracy or legal banditry.

There are two separate issues here regarding overseas credit card usage.

The first issue is the amount of the surcharge levied by your credit card issuer for overseas usage. The second one is the dynamic currency conversion issue wherein you are billed in dollars at a highly unfavorable exchange rate from your perspective.

Before you leave the USA, find how much your credit card issuer adds on for overseas charges. Some issuers, like the Bank of America, sock you with an extra 3% of the original bill. For this charge, BOA performs essentially no service. As a result, my BOA credit card stays at home when I travel outside the USA.

If your card issuer socks it to you like that, consider getting a cheaper card.

When I found out that BOA would soak me an extra 3% for overseas usage, I got a Capital One Card. Capital One does not add on anytbing as near as I can tell.

Therefore, I use my Capital One card almost exclusively when out of the country. I also carry a AAA Visa card as a backup. So far, the AAA card has not added on beyond the usual 1% VISA conversion charge. AAA cards were originally issued by MBNA, but Bank of America bought MBNA. So the add-on has remained 1%, but even so, my AAA card is strictly backup.

Secondly, Dynamic Currency Conversion is an odious practice. If you are presented with a charge that has been converted to US dollars, DO NOT PAY it without a protest.

Tell the clerk you want your charge in the local currency. If the clerk refuses to offer you payment in the local currency, you have two options: either pay cash or write on the charge slip very clearly "Local currency not offered. Will contest the charge."

Keep all your charge slips and receipts. When you get home, contact your credit card issuer and challenge the charge.

According Poster Robespierre, who provided the above information in the other thread, the agreement with the credit card companies is that you will be billed in the local currency.

I got nailed once last summer with a charge in US dollars. Although I knew DCC existed, I was unfortunately not aware of my challenge rights, so I paid and went on even though I knew I had been had.

After that first incident, I now ask, "Will you bill me in in x?" (With x being the local currency.)
If the answer is no, I ask them why not?
So far I have not been presented with another charge in dollars when overseas.

If you let the dynamic currency ripoff get by, you will be paying about a 5% surcharge on your credit card bill.

It is bad enough that credit card issuers tack on an extra charge for no value added, but this dynamic currency conversion is flat out crooked even if it is legal. Don't tolerate it.

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Old Mar 16th, 2007, 05:26 AM
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Hi W,


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