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DCC in Spain (Andalusia)

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Oct 29th, 2013, 11:42 PM
  #1
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DCC in Spain (Andalusia)

We've returned from a 9-night trip to Granada/Sevilla/Malaga. TR in the works however I wanted to comment on my experience with Dynamic Currency Conversion on this trip.

In general, I ended up using cash more on this trip than on some others. I could have charged more but I guess I went the easy route. That costs me 2% (1% ATM foreign transaction fee vs. 1% cash back and no fees with Capital One) -- lazy tax for the most part.

We did end up making 20 or so charged transactions through transportation, accommodation, and larger meals. I'd say half or more simply came through in Euros. We had the opportunity to choose USD or Euros on about 1/3 of them. However, two (10%) of them were given to us in dollars only.

Now, I know xyz123's advice to have the transaction voided, speak to a manager and finally write "local currency not offered" on the receipt. I didn't want to get into all of that with my very limited Spanish or their much better but second language English. It's hard enough to tackle when both speak English as a first language. So, I circled the Euro price and signed. We'll see if I get reimbursed or not.

The difference in the DCC exchange was 5% -- keep that in mind. Always select the local currency when given the choice. That amounted to $4 and $7 difference on my two transactions. Small in the grand scheme, but no sense paying that.

I'm not making a statement on Spain as a whole -- just my recent experience on this trip.

We had a nice time, btw. Details forthcoming separately.
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Oct 30th, 2013, 12:32 AM
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Always select the local currency when given the choice.

You're preaching to the choir, dude. Everyone here gives that advice.
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Oct 30th, 2013, 10:56 AM
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I think DCC is a bit more common in Spain than in some other countries (like France), yes. Not as bad as Ireland from what I've heard.

I don't understand why you have 1 pct foreign transaction fee with Capital One. They are my bank and I have zero. But maybe you didn't mean Cap One was your bank.
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Oct 30th, 2013, 01:02 PM
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You're preaching to the choir, dude. Everyone here gives that advice.

Glad you have it covered for everyone, sparkchaser. Guess I shouldn't have bothered to post.

I don't understand why you have 1 pct foreign transaction fee with Capital One. They are my bank and I have zero. But maybe you didn't mean Cap One was your bank.

That's right. I "bank" through a credit union, but have a Capital One Master Card.
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Oct 30th, 2013, 02:45 PM
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It never hurts to remind that this DCC scourge continues to proliferate. The more people who are aware and who reject the offer of DCC, the better.

Looking forward to another great indy_dad trip report.
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Oct 30th, 2013, 04:25 PM
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Indy, Since I'm planning a trip to Andalusia next March I certainly appreciate knowing about your experience. My Spanish is very limited but I'll make sure I know the translation I will need to get my credit card charges in Euro currency. I look forward to your trip report. Thanks, Deborah
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Oct 30th, 2013, 11:00 PM
  #7
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Deborah -- I think the best course is to just say "Euros por favor" when you hand them the card. That will hopefully head off the sticky business of the void/re-do scenario.

Have fun on your trip.

@MaineGG -- thanks! I need to get on it.
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Oct 31st, 2013, 12:04 PM
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The DCC rate on at ATM in León yesterday was $1.45/€1.00, while the bank exchange rate was $1.38/€1.00, but you have a clear choice when withdrawing funds. It's generally the same elsewhere in Spain when using a credit card.
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Nov 1st, 2013, 12:11 PM
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Can't wait for the trip report! And this is new info for me on DCC. Have just begun exploring a trip to Spain and Portugal, so timely! Many thanks!
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Nov 1st, 2013, 12:35 PM
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I am curious about exactly where you were given a choice to pay in dollars. I spent a week or so in the region last fall and, have been to Spaiin many times, and have never encountered this practice. In fact, I do not think I have ever encountered it, in any country, and I do travel a fair amount.
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Nov 1st, 2013, 04:44 PM
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ekscrunchy...this occurs at the point of sale. If a merchant has agreed to participate in this scam with his or her credit card processor what will happen is when the card is swiped (or inserted in the chip reader), either a slip comes out or the terminal indicates to offer the scamee the opportunity to pay in the currency the credit card was issued in. At that point, the scammer is supposed to ask the customer due to visa and mc rules whether they wish to pay in their currency and if the scamee agrees, they press one button on the terminal and if the scamee doesn't want to be scammed, they're supposed to press another.

The illegality comes in when they don't ask. You realize you are being scammed when you get the receipt to sign and it lists both the local currency amount say in euro and the US dollar amount. At this point, just say no and demand the charge be voided (not credited, a big difference) and if teclerk gives one of several ies, demand to speak to the manager. If they still refuse to change it and do it properly, just circle the local currency amount and write local currency not offered and when you get home, dispute the charge. Under no circumstances should you pay cash as this sort of validates the scam.

If you've never run into it, you've been very lucky.
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Nov 1st, 2013, 06:11 PM
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I went to Spain last year and was only asked about currency at my hotels. When I said euros, the bill was always provided in Euros. The worst place I've had DCC was in London where some of the hotels wouldn't do it in Pounds and automatically went to dollars.

Some businesses try to use DCC no matter what the country. Be aware-look at the credit card receipt and be proactive.
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Nov 1st, 2013, 09:27 PM
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Nowadays with the prevalence of DCC worldwide, always say 'I want to pay in local currency' as you hand the card over. Don't wait to be given a choice, as it may not come!
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Nov 2nd, 2013, 12:16 AM
  #14
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As mentioned above by others (and me), the best advice is to state Euros (or whatever the local currency is) when handing over the card. It simply becomes a pain, especially in a non-English speaking foreign country, if they don't give you the choice.

ekscrunchy -- the two establishments that did not give me the choice and used DCC were a hotel in Malaga (Don Curro) and a restaurant in Granada (Los Manueles). A few other restaurants in various cities at least asked.
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Nov 2nd, 2013, 04:45 AM
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Just returned from staying 18 nights in Spain.

We didn't know anything about DCC and were offered on most of our charges to pay in US dollars or Euros.

Seems like fortunately in all instances we chose Euros.
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Nov 2nd, 2013, 04:50 AM
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Not wishing (too much) to resurrect another old thread, but could I just point out that if the United States adopted the EMV chip & pin system, you would seldom have any of these problems.

Until you input your pin, and it has been accepted, no transaction has even started. If you don't like the amount and currency on the terminal screen, you just decline the transaction at that stage.
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Nov 2nd, 2013, 04:56 AM
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Can't wait for your trip report!

Never hurts to remind us of this issue...makes us alert in advance!
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Nov 2nd, 2013, 05:29 AM
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I experienced DCC in Spain about 5 years ago at a hotel. I was checking out and needing to catch a train so didn't have much time. As they handed me the receipt, I noticed it was in dollars and asked that it be changed to euro. All of a sudden the desk clerk couldn't understand English and I didn't have time to ask for management. Lesson learned. Allow time. It was a Spanish chain hotel H10.

http://www.h10hotels.com/en/index.html
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Nov 2nd, 2013, 06:14 AM
  #19
 
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Thanks for the answer, Indy. I guess I HAVE been lucky as I have never been asked this question and my charges are always in euro, but I will look out for it in future.



Chartley: Indeed! I could not buy a TRAIN TICKET with a US credit card in Amsterdam last week. I suppose the reason is that is "too costly" for US banks to implment this system (??)
Pathetic.

Curious: IS the US the ONLY country with the outmoded credit cards? What about Asia or S. AFrica, for example?
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Nov 2nd, 2013, 07:32 AM
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Not meaning to be crude but the USA is about the only country in the civilized world that has not gone for emv chip and pin and this has been discussed up the wahoo here and in other travel blogs. But then again, the USA is contraryminded in so many different ways with its (and I'm American sayings this) whether it comes to the outmoded systems of measurements (non metric), use of paper money for a trivial amount o $1 (almost all the other civilized countries have abandoned the 1 unit bill whethr it be euro, pounds, loonies orwhatever), dare I say health care (excellent single payer systems almost everwhere else in the civilized world) and so many others. It's simply an example of our refusal, at least in my opinion, to consider the fact thereis awhole large world out there which might be able to do things better. EMV chip and pin cards is clearly one of them. There is no excuse, none hatsoever, why it hasn't happened yet here.
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