“Do you agree to this currency conversion?”
This is a new one. I’m standing in entrance of a Bankomat ATM on the shores of Lapad seaside in Dubrovnik, attempting to withdraw sufficient Croatian kuna to get me by way of the subsequent few days.
I’ve achieved the usual factor, regarded up the change price on-line, guessed at how a lot money I’ll want, calculated the tough change, and punched the quantity into the ATM (utilizing a debit card that does not normally appeal to any overseas conversion or withdrawal charges).
But now one thing unusual is occurring. The ATM is displaying its conversion price, asking if I’m OK with the calculation. And it’s, clearly, a rip-off. The 400 kuna I’m taking out will value me AU$93 – it needs to be round $80. The ATM provides: “This exchange includes a 13% commission.”
What? That’s insane. Clearly. Still, that is the one ATM I can spot for miles (and all the closest are additionally Bankomat), and it is solely $13 or $14 I’ll be losing, so possibly I’m simply going to must cop this. My finger hovers over the “confirm” button. But then I assume – nup. I cannot do it. It’s such a brazen rip-off.
So I transfer my finger and hit “cancel”, ready for my card to come out so I can go look elsewhere. Only, it would not come out. The ATM whirs for a few seconds, after which out comes my 400 kuna, plus my debit card. Weird.
I pull out my cellphone and open my web banking app, to see how a lot that transaction took out of my account. And there it’s: AU$78.23. Not $93 with a big fee. I saved $15 with the press of a button, a button I had assumed would cancel the transaction, however as an alternative simply denied Bankomat the possibility to take a huge fee.
This is a new trick to me whereas travelling. I’m used to the EFTPOS trick of “dynamic conversion”, the query you are prompted with at level of sale if you’re abroad now: “Would you like to pay in AUD, or local currency?”
That’s a rip-off. The conversion is all the time dodgy, with a fee included. I have not travelled abroad in additional than two years, however I can nonetheless keep in mind that you all the time go together with native foreign money.
This ATM factor, nevertheless, is a new one. Dynamic conversion, from an ATM.
Fortunately, it is clearly regulation that it’s important to be prompted with a query to both settle for or decline this conversion – although to the uninitiated, it could actually appear very very like your decisions are, settle for the fee, or cancel your transaction and go someplace else. Not, settle for the fee, or do not settle for the fee.
Two years out of the travelling recreation, and a few issues have apparently modified. There are new methods to study. Some issues, nevertheless, haven’t modified: the basic rip-offs are nonetheless on the market, and it could actually take a while to recollect all of them if you travel now, and to recollect how you can cope with them.
The EFTPOS dynamic conversion is a basic – it feels a lot safer to pay in your individual foreign money, despite the fact that it is a complete rip-off – however it’s certainly one of many that may catch unwary travellers.
But wait, there’s extra. Car rent is rife with rip-offs. Remember them? You must take photographs from each angle of the car you are hiring earlier than you drive off in it. There are loads of corporations on the market, corporations that needs to be respected, who will attempt to sting you with a pretend harm report. Your photographs are the one factor that can get you out of that.
Try to keep away from accepting the provide to improve your car if you’re selecting it up, too. There’s each probability the rent automobile firm would not even have the car you paid for in its storage, and so might be supplying you with a bigger automobile anyway, on the value you’ve got already paid.
Don’t rent a GPS – you will have one in your cellphone. And all the time fill the automobile up with gasoline earlier than you come back it, in any other case you’ll be charged a big quantity by the corporate to do it.
Remember all of the taxi scams too: the meters that magically do not work; the tendency to present you a tiki tour of your new vacation spot; the claims, even, that your resort of selection would not exist anymore. The web is your buddy right here. Know the place you are going, how you need to get there, and the way a lot it ought to value. Or use an app (Uber, Ola, Grab, Lyft and so on) to bypass the taxi expertise completely.
Remember all the money conversion methods, too: the brief change as a result of all of the native notes look the identical, and you’ve got simply been handed a large wad of them; the horrible change price that you need to have checked beforehand; the outrageous commissions charged.
Don’t eat or drink from the resort mini-bar. Check the info roaming costs in your cell phone account. Use a credit score or debit card with no overseas transaction charges.
And keep in mind: you may all the time hit “cancel”.
Have you seen dynamic conversions on ATMS earlier than? What are the rip-offs you all the time look ahead to if you’re travelling? Have you been caught out with any of those?