I’m not so sure about you but certainly I can confirm we are being ripped off buy a good number of foreign banks that seem to be working in our best interest. So let me run you by the is
sue as I see it.
There you are lazing around the pool enjoying a couple of days of beautiful sunshine, kids commanding ice creams and of course, the need to make sure that you have some cash around for lunch and a copy of a British newspaper. In recent years all of the European Banks have made it so much easier for us – just about everywhere they accept debit and credit cards and of course the cashpoints work perfectly.
I didn’t really pay much attention to these until I checked some transactions for my own current account.
You may have noticed the options you and I are now given at a foreign cash point, the one that looks so friendly and gives us an option of withdrawing cash based on your selected amount – it will normally ask you something like ‘do you want to accept our currency conversion offer’ and sometimes will be quite insistent even asking ‘are you sure you want to do that’ when you click no.
It’s not only cash points, it’s often card machines – particularly in France and Spain where I seem to get the same, seemingly generous offer.
I wondered what all this was about, until I realised that I was being double charged – banks don’t give away services for free. And that includes currency transactions.
If you accept the transaction ‘with conversion’ you will nearly always face a double charge, one from the bank that owns the cashpoint and one from your own bank. You’ll also be charged a worse exchange rate (based on my experience).
The simple solution to these additional costs are always to use the local currency option and let your bank deal with the transaction – or you’ll end paying twice for the transaction.
Now you know you’ll never be ripped off again.