"Decision to pay in foreign currency"

May 27th, 2005, 04:02 PM
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 776
If the merchant refuses or claims that they can't bill in their country's currency, would it be OK to cross out the US$ amount and write in the euro amount before signing? I had a situation once where a tip amount put into my total, not by my wishes, and I crossed out the amount and wrote in the actual total. I think I got billed in the amount I wrote in (was a while ago so memory is fuzzy).
nibblette is offline  
May 27th, 2005, 04:08 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,271

Fortunately or unfortunately this is now 2005...rarely do the sales slips ever get to the bank. Everything is transmitted electronically. The merchant holds the slip in case of a dispute his or her bank may request it to resolve the dispute and at that point, you might have a chance in going through the whole dispute issue.

But what you write on these slips in this day and age is pretty irrelevent.
xyz123 is offline  
May 27th, 2005, 04:14 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,749
I'm not sure I'd agree with that xyz. If I had a copy of my signed receipt showing what amount I signed for -- and forwarded it to my credit card company if they had a different amount, I'd think they'd react favorably.
I once had a restaurant which transposed two figures when they billed me, and happily I had kept my receipt. When I faxed it to Citibank Mastercard, they immediately changed my charge.
Patrick is offline  
May 27th, 2005, 04:32 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,271

I didn't think I disagreed with you...certainly that would come into play in a billing error dispute. The post indicated change the amount on the slip or cross out the conversion or whatever and my point was that in the short term that wouldn't help. It would probably help in a dispute.

Of course, if the merchant refuses to budge, you can always write on the slip dcc declined and while it probably wouldn't stop the merchant from submitting the charge into the decc system, it would almost surely be prima face evidence in a billing dispute with your cc company.
xyz123 is offline  
May 27th, 2005, 08:56 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,352
It is amazing how all things in life go in circles. I remember travelling with my parents in '67. Dad always had a wad travellers cheques in his back pocket.

Now it sounds like the cheque cashing fees may be less than the cc 'conversion fees'.
icithecat is offline  
May 27th, 2005, 09:30 PM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 4

You must get your facts straight before you start posting salacious allegations. The activity is NOT “near” criminal, as you so indicate, rather it is a CONVENIENCE to customers on a short holiday.

This service was created for the infrequent and ignorant traveler such as yourself. People not used to seeing a higher amount in their native currency on their bill from what was charged in the destination currency often go into panic mode at the thought of being charged more than they should have, but with DCC the amount they sign for is the exact amount that will appear on their credit card statement.

VISA/MC/AMEX/Etc. sets the dynamic currency conversion rate; the business does NOT. Businesses frequently use this practice to assist customers unfamiliar with conversion rates and the dramatic daily fluctuations in the Forex market.

You are correct in that the businesses earn extra income with exchange rate commission. However, you are the final arbitrator of the preferred currency payment; you can accept or reject it. It is offered as a convenience. If any traveler accepts the fact that a business is “forcing” them to accept their native currency, then the fault lies with you, the traveler, not the business. If you don’t have the intellect to read what you’re signing, then I’m surprised you figured out your flight reservation, time, gate number, and seat assignment. After all, you wouldn’t simply sign a $50 bill for a $15 dinner. The same goes with the DCC: YOU MUST TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR OWN ACTIONS.

hollaplez is offline  
May 27th, 2005, 09:55 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,352
So. What makes everbody think that Philip works for a bank or CC Company.
icithecat is offline  
May 27th, 2005, 10:32 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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You get your facts straight. The rate used in a dcc is not set by visa/mc or amex...it is set by the payment processor the merchant uses to process the charges. In some cases it is 5% higher than the actual amount used by mastercard or visa. To the best of my knowledge, amex does not allow this near criminal activity.

It was not created at a CONVENIENCE to customers as you say. It was created so merchants and the credit card processor (not visa or mc) could profit from the foreign currency exchange process.

You call me ignorant...what a joke. whenever I charge something in another country, I have a pretty good idea of what the exchange rate should be and what the charge will be and am never off by more than a few cents one way or the other.

I will give you actual amounts as I am looking at my credit card statement now. On a day the visa rate was $1.3011680672 including the 1% fee visa assess, the credit card processor of an Irish hotel charged me $1.366949153; if you're not a math major that's a difference of 5%..that is a fact from an actual credit card statement where an e mail got the merchant to reverse the shananigan that was pulled.

I will concede to you that the responsibility does lie with the person signing the credit card slip but the near criminal tag applies when the customer asks the charge be written up in euro and the merchant gives some lie as to just why it can't be done. You don't want to call that near criminal, what would you call it?

I can understand that somebody on an expense account who wants a quick reimbursment from his company might prefer charges be written up in his own currency so he can submit the expense report without waiting for the credit card statement. I don't worry about those people, they're not paying for anything anyway. Of course we all ultimately pay when the company has to jack up its prices to cover this.

DCC preys on lazy people and unintelligent people, that is true. So we are trying to educate them what it is all about. Go read the ads from credit card processors about dcc to merchants. They extol the virtues of the merchant sharing in the foreign exchange commissions at the expense of whom?

Nobody would object, at least I wouldn't, if the merchants followed the proper procedures namely asking me if I want to have the charge written up in my own currency at the specified rate. Of course sometimes they tell them things like "we'll write up the charge in your currency and save you the fees imposed by the credit card companies for foreign currency exchanges." But that is no longer true as visa now charges the 1% assessment on dcc transactions too.

So before you start calling people names, have the decency to get your facts straight.

xyz123 is offline  
May 27th, 2005, 11:13 PM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 4

Again, with the facts: first, my name is spelled Philip, not, as you type, Phillip; second, VISA/MC/Etc. DOES set the DCC rate, the processor is VISA/MC/Etc. (you’re confusing the card issuer, your bank[Chase, Citi, etc.], with VISA/MC/Etc.); third, DCC was created for CONVEINENCE with the ancillary goal of, yes, creating a profit for all involved; fourth, no one can lie to you if you know the facts of acceptance or denial of the DCC, so again, the fault lies with you even if you are “lied” to; fifth, VISA is NOT a card issuer as you continually assert; your VISA card is issued through a bank, e.g., Chase, Citi, and in your case, Providian. So, VISA charges a conversion fee as does the card issuer, your bank. VISA is the processor, they set the DCC rate (yes, they usually contract out the system handling, but the independent contractor’s fee is paid through their collected fees). There is NOT one fee as you continually assert. AMEX, being both the issuer and the holder, charges one fee only and is thus cheaper than any of the other major holders, i.e., VISA/MC. ACCEPT YOUR RESPONSIBILITY AS A TRAVELER. No one holds your hand anymore if you’re an adult armed with the simplest, if even feckless, education.

hollaplez is offline  
May 28th, 2005, 04:41 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,271

My apologies for spelling your name wrong...I can't look at your message the same time I type a response.

And you don't have to shout at me.

You are still so wrong about who sets the dcc rate. Your cc processor sets the rate which is not necessarily visa and/or mc.

Here is a quote from the visa web site:

Some merchants now offer to convert your bill into your home currency. This is called dynamic currency conversion and means the merchant—and not Visa—is converting the currency.

Note is says that means the merchant - and not Visa - is converting the currency.

In plain English....so you're wrong about who does the conversion at a rate it selects. It is done at the merchant level by whomever processes the merchant's credit cards which could be the merchant's bank or, an independent processing organization.

Without dcc the merchant submits the charge and it is converted by visa (or mc)...with dcc the charge is converted by the cc processor (yes it could be the merchant's bank such as the Bank of Ireland) and once it is converted it enters the international cc system as the converted amount. It is not converted by visa/mc or whatever.

As far as lies, what do you call it when a clerk says after printing a receipt on a terminal which specifically asks if the customer agrees to accept the converted amount, the merchant presses the yes button without asking the customer and then when the customer notices it on the sales slip, the customer is told that it can't be undone..what about the lie in the first place when the merchant assumes the customer will want to have this done...what about the lie when the customer is told this is simply an approximation to help give you an idea of what the charge will be...those are not lies to you? You see nothing wrong with that.

I don't know sir what your beef is with people who see through this systemm, who don't think somebody is doing them a favour by jacking up the exchange rate by 5% so they can, which is the selling point of dcc, share in the foreign exchange conversions.

Here is a quote from Bank Certified Merchant Services trying to push this scam in the US:

Merchants and NOVA partners have the opportunity to share in the revenue generated from conversion fees.

If after all this somebody signs the slip and says it is great, I know exactly how much this charge is going to be (incidentally he now has to add 1% to the charge) that's fine.

It still behooves those of us who understand the system to do whatever is possible to acquaint others with just what a rip off this is.

Now without shouting, please tell me where I am wrong.

xyz123 is offline  
May 28th, 2005, 04:57 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,271

Not once in your tirade against my presumed lack of knowledge did you refer back to my post and the 5% difference between what visa charged me and what the dcc processor charged me...please don't insult anybody's inteligence by claiming it is normal currency fluctuations...currencies fluctuate by fractions of a cent each day (incidentally yes that could be a reason a charge converted by visa comes through at a slightly higher or lower amount than when you try to figure it out)..they never fluctuate by 5% in any 1 or 2 day period during which the charge goes through the international payments system.

When you travel, do you want to pay 5% more. Let's see on a 5 night stay at a hotel charging $150/might or $750 total, that's $15. Oh it's not such a big deal, fine. I would rather have the $15 in my pocket than to give it to somebody else when I don't have to.

Now those are facts, not opinions. So please explain to me why the dcc amount is 5% higher than the visa amount if visa does the dcc thing.

xyz123 is offline  
May 28th, 2005, 05:20 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,271
Mea culpa...

5% of $750 is $37.50, not $15 (which would be $15)....sorry for the error.
xyz123 is offline  

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