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Camino(s) past & future
2013 (Pamplona to Burgos)
2014 (Burgos to Villafranca del Bierzo)
2015 (Villafranca to Santiago)
2016 (Le Puy to Conques; SJPP To Pamplona)
#1
Just returned from Spain, where I was always asked "Euros or Australian Dollars" when paying by credit card. Which is the best option?
 

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Scott...O

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP-Leon (15)
SJPdP-SdC-Finisterre-Muxia (16)
Lisbon-SdC (17)

Le Puy-Pamplona (18)
#2
Whatever country you’re in ALWAYS pay in the local currency. Otherwise you expose yourself to the DCC exchange rate (Dynamic Currency Conversion). This is a complete rort, and you will end up paying about 3% more than you otherwise would.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2013 (Pamplona to Burgos)
2014 (Burgos to Villafranca del Bierzo)
2015 (Villafranca to Santiago)
2016 (Le Puy to Conques; SJPP To Pamplona)
#4
Whatever country you’re in ALWAYS pay in the local currency. Otherwise you expose yourself to the DCC exchange rate (Dynamic Currency Conversion). This is a complete rort, and you will end up paying about 3% more than you otherwise would.
Yes, that's what I did, but Visa then charged me to convert to dollars - as I discovered later when checking my bill.
 

Scott...O

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP-Leon (15)
SJPdP-SdC-Finisterre-Muxia (16)
Lisbon-SdC (17)

Le Puy-Pamplona (18)
#5
Yes, that's what I did, but Visa then charged me to convert to dollars - as I discovered later when checking my bill.
Then you need to change your credit card.
There are many cards available that do not charge a conversion fee, and convert the transaction very close to the spot rate current at the time.
There are others, but one such card is called 28 Degrees.
 

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falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
#6
Yes, that's what I did, but Visa then charged me to convert to dollars - as I discovered later when checking my bill.
That has been the standard, but you still were better off than if you had selected Australian dollars. There now are many credit cards that do not charge a conversion fee. Find one of them for your next trip and you will save a little bit.:)
 

John Sikora

Active Member
Donating Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2015) Frances
(2018) Portuguese/Coastal Sept
(2019) Via de la Plata - Seville to Santiago May
#7
What you've tripped over is really a great credit scam on the part of card companies. Most are internationally based and charging a % (usually pretty high) to "convert" from anything to your local currency is really just legal theft. As others have pointed out, there are a lot of credit cards that don't charge foreign transaction fees. I know that in the states both Chase and Citibank have miles based cards that don't charge foreign transaction fees. If they don't then local currency is always better, if they do home currency is often better but usually the ones that have foreign transaction fees will either still charge you the fee or will have a very bad exchange rate.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF - September 2016
CF - April May 2017
Shikoku - October 2017
Kumano Kodo - October 2017
#9
It is not the card companies at fault here. If you choose to pay in your home currency then the local retailer and/or bank are the ones who benefit from the worse exchange rate.
VISA and MasterCard apply a very competitive rate to foreign currency transactions and if you look up, say, VISA Europe then you can check their exchange rate for major currencies. For VISA Sterling/Euro was 1.1406 today which is pretty good.
When you use VISA's calculator you will note that there is a box to insert a converter percentage. This is where your issuing bank is charging you a fee.
As noted above make sure you pay in local currency. Insist on this as retailers must offer you this option. If your issuing bank is charging you it is time to change your provider. And the cost may be much more than 3% - see the link to a BBC article which states that charges may range up to 10%. Ouch!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-40702496
 

natefaith

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Sarria-Santiago (2009)
León-Ponferrada (2014)
Camino Inglés (2017)
#10
Whatever country you’re in ALWAYS pay in the local currency. Otherwise you expose yourself to the DCC exchange rate (Dynamic Currency Conversion). This is a complete rort, and you will end up paying about 3% more than you otherwise would.
Just learned this new word (I'd never heard it before): "Rort - a fraudulent or dishonest act or practice", or "a wild party."

Interesting!
 

Sixwheeler

Active Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Arles Route (2013/2014 onwards)
#13
ALWAYS pay in local currency, that way you avoid nasty shocks on spurious conversion rates and commission.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2013 (Pamplona to Burgos)
2014 (Burgos to Villafranca del Bierzo)
2015 (Villafranca to Santiago)
2016 (Le Puy to Conques; SJPP To Pamplona)
#14
Thanks for all the info! Most enlightening! Now, I've rechecked my Visa bill from ANZ Bank and it says this:
09
APR
HOTEL SPA SINAGOGA HERVAS $68.00 EUR INCL OVERSEAS TXN FEE 3.27 AUD
-$112.23

Are they trying to pretend it's a government tax?
 
Camino(s) past & future
'
#16
I found this recent BEUC report on Dynamic Currency Conversion quite interesting. Although written from the perspective of BEUC, which is a European consumer association, it explains the situation quite well, and not only from the consumer's view, and includes global references, for example action by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and similar: DYNAMIC CURRENCY CONVERSION When paying abroad costs you more than it should
 

McGraneC

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2016) SdC to Finisterre
(2017) Porto to SdC
#17
I use a Revolut card for transactions outside of my home Euro zone. It is a debit card that you top up and can use in the local currency, charges are very low. If it gets stolen or lost, it can only be used up to the cash amount you have in it. I find it useful.
 

Desert Bruce

Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
July2015 2 weeks vol Santiago Pilgrim office
2016 Sept-Oct St Jean-Muxia
2017 Pamplona-Finisterra
#18
Yes always pay in the local currency. Find a card that charges no conversion or ATM fees and you'll save enough for bottle of local wine.
 


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