When an ATM or card machine asks if you’d like to accept an exchange, there’s only one right answer… always say no. Always refuse any conversion, always choose the local currency for the country you’re in.
Just say no way, José.
But it’s still so easy to be duped. Here’s why, and how to avoid it once and for all.
Foreign ATMs and card machines often say nice things like: “Would you like to fix the exchange rate?” Or, “This ATM offers conversion to your home currency”. Sometimes, there isn’t even a question on the screen at all – just an exchange rate, a familiar looking amount in GBP and the options “Yes” or “No” .
On the surface, it looks friendly enough. Like you’ll know exactly what you’re paying, and in a currency you’re way more familiar with.
But, in reality, paying in your home currency – or even just accidentally saying “Yes” to a rate – is a hidden fee horror.
This is a service known as Dynamic Currency Conversion, or DCC for short. It effectively means you are accepting an exchange offered by the machine. And it is always, always a bad one, adding up to 6% on to the cost of your transaction.
So, now that you know the golden rule, DCC should be easy to avoid, right?
Not exactly. The thing is, it’s not always clear exactly what the machine is saying, so it’s very easy to fall into the trap. Here are some examples. Can you guess what you need to say?
ATM machine in Lyon, France.
Answer: Select ‘DEBIT IN EUR’, as this is the local currency. Choosing DEBIT IN GBP would mean accepting their exchange rate.
ATM Machine in Amsterdam, Holland.
Answer: Select NO. You don’t want to accept this rate.
And the worst one of all, the easiest trap to accidentally fall into …
Portable card terminal in San Francisco, USA.
Answer: Select NO
See how easy it would be to exchange money that you have already exchanged?
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