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Using Credit Cards in China - The Great CC Rip Off (dynamic currency conversion)

Using Credit Cards in China - The Great CC Rip Off (dynamic currency conversion)

Old Jan 10, 2011, 10:08 pm
  #106  
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USA VISA

Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC), also referred to as Cardholder Preferred Currency (CPC), is a service offered by merchants – not Visa

If you do not want to use DCC when making a purchase, then you have the right to refuse the offer and have your transaction billed in the merchant’s local currency, which will then use Visa’s conversion rate. If you did not agree to DCC, but see it on your bill, then you should ask your issuing bank to contest the charge.
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Old Jan 11, 2011, 2:15 am
  #107  
 
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Originally Posted by percysmith
I'm getting so paranoid about DCC that whenever I spend overseas, I have to consider whether I'll have to do this transaction with "others". If yes, then I try to work out a way to avoid Visa/MC - even if this means resorting to cash.
...
I observe they behave quite differently if ***they*** are being asked to pay and a 5% "surcharge" was being explicitly tacked on the price. They would bitxh for hours on end with staff.
Cash has pretty much been my strategy, though there are situations for travellers and people involved in business dealings where the credit card really is preferable to cash. Never mind rewards for spending.

As for your last paragraph--yes it's easy to insist that other people give away money when it's not one's own. Keep fighting the good fight! And definitely watch out for service providers using HSBC in the PRC. I was going through account records from 2010 recently, and the most memorable DCC attempt on me this year was at Malaysia Airlines office Beijing, which was using HSBC transaction machines for Visa/MC processing. It's not only BoC that's at fault here.

Not seeing much comment on CCB, ICBC, or Ag transaction machines for foreign CC processing--is it because they don't exist or we collectively don't have enough data points yet?
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Old Jan 11, 2011, 4:50 am
  #108  
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Originally Posted by jiejie
Cash has pretty much been my strategy, though there are situations for travellers and people involved in business dealings where the credit card really is preferable to cash. Never mind rewards for spending.

As for your last paragraph--yes it's easy to insist that other people give away money when it's not one's own. Keep fighting the good fight! And definitely watch out for service providers using HSBC in the PRC. I was going through account records from 2010 recently, and the most memorable DCC attempt on me this year was at Malaysia Airlines office Beijing, which was using HSBC transaction machines for Visa/MC processing. It's not only BoC that's at fault here.

Not seeing much comment on CCB, ICBC, or Ag transaction machines for foreign CC processing--is it because they don't exist or we collectively don't have enough data points yet?
I am surprised. But perhaps it's because most of my PRC travel l/y has been Guangdong, HSBC China has not been as big an acquirer there as in Shanghai.

Just curious tho - how did you manage to get DCC scammed in an airline office? They should be doing the transaction right in front of you, and you shouldn't have pushy Hongkie relatives or impatient waiters (oxymoron?) to push you to sign. Assuming you get to circle the HSBC slip like Jamar, how did you manage get scammed? Even if you did, did you try chargeback with your overseas card issuer?

Last edited by percysmith; Jan 11, 2011 at 5:40 am
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Old Jan 11, 2011, 5:00 am
  #109  
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(Duplicate post again, sorry. The mobile version of this site is wonky - doesn't refresh screen after successful posting)

Last edited by percysmith; Jan 11, 2011 at 5:31 am
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Old Jan 11, 2011, 5:36 am
  #110  
 
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Try using a cash passport - you can have these in several currencies and you can therefore carry thousands of CNY on the cash passport account. I have used a Travelex cash passport in CNY widely in China with no problems.
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Old Jan 11, 2011, 6:56 am
  #111  
 
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Back to the slip-Truth be told, I jumped the gun a little. I just saw "DCC" and started to say "No, I won't sign this, reverse it"; it was incidental that I then noticed the other saleslady (manager?) tearing something off the printer. So yes. Then there's not much of a point in circling the currency I want to pay.

As for disputing it with my home bank- This account is a debit account with Wells Fargo. As I won't be back in the US until the end of next semester and with no desire to get tangled up in any more than I already was (busy dealing with final exams at college) I decided to settle it on the spot. And it showed up on my mobile banking (iPhone app, not SMS alert) for exactly the amount shown under "US$" on the DCC slip not long after they went to call about reversing the transaction.

As for Cash Passport- I already have a local bank account and UnionPay card. There's a long story behind why I didn't use it to pay.
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Old Jan 11, 2011, 7:20 am
  #112  
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Originally Posted by jamar
Back to the slip-Truth be told, I jumped the gun a little. I just saw "DCC" and started to say "No, I won't sign this, reverse it"; it was incidental that I then noticed the other saleslady (manager?) tearing something off the printer. So yes. Then there's not much of a point in circling the currency I want to pay.
This confirms my worst fears. When I was going through the DCC with the very well trained cashier in Grant Hyatt Taipei, I thought restaurants using thermal slips will be prone to ignore DCC procedures - even if currency can be selected - cos they "simply won't wait for an answer" and key in "1" (home currency) no matter what you do (although you were standing in front of the cashier, the 8-bill yum cha lunch tab runs were more of what I had in mind).

You can charge everyone back as punishment, but you take a risk your bank might not entertain you. And it's going to take a fair bit of your time, too.

I think the HK carbon slips may be better because DCC will be dealt with like tip adjustment at the close of day, which suits Chinese restaurants operating procedures better. Personally I like carbon, but slips are becoming more and more of a rarity tho.

The manageress is probably the owner's wife. They tend to guard the till in HK and other Asian countries' small businesses.

It's also unbelievable that HSBC has such a crap acquirer setup in the PRC - not training and enforcing merchant standards in the PRC, poor support over the phone.

Originally Posted by jamar
As for disputing it with my home bank- This account is a debit account with Wells Fargo. As I won't be back in the US until the end of next semester and with no desire to get tangled up in any more than I already was (busy dealing with final exams at college) I decided to settle it on the spot. And it showed up on my mobile banking (iPhone app, not SMS alert) for exactly the amount shown under "US$" on the DCC slip not long after they went to call about reversing the transaction.
Oh you're debit...that's why you get instant posting. My credit cards take a day or two to post Chinese transactions except cash withdrawals.

Originally Posted by jamar
As for Cash Passport- I already have a local bank account and UnionPay card. There's a long story behind why I didn't use it to pay.
Remittance currency control from your local friendly SAFE I guess? I used to have unwanted job duties dealing with remittance problems to our PRC subsidiaries and staff from our bank accounts in HK?
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Old Jan 11, 2011, 7:32 am
  #113  
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In any case I'd write to them, attaching a photo, naming the merchant and leave a copy here (with personal details omitted)

https://www.hsbc.com.cn/1/2/misc/complain-wform

and

Quality Service Management Department
HSBC Bank (China) Company Limited
36/F HSBC Tower
1000 Lujiazui Ring Road
Pudong
Shanghai 200120
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Old Jan 11, 2011, 8:21 am
  #114  
 
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Originally Posted by percysmith
This confirms my worst fears. When I was going through the DCC with the very well trained cashier in Grant Hyatt Taipei, I thought restaurants using thermal slips will be prone to ignore DCC procedures - even if currency can be selected - cos they "simply won't wait for an answer" and key in "1" (home currency) no matter what you do (although you were standing in front of the cashier, the 8-bill yum cha lunch tab runs were more of what I had in mind).

You can charge everyone back as punishment, but you take a risk your bank might not entertain you. And it's going to take a fair bit of your time, too.

I think the HK carbon slips may be better because DCC will be dealt with like tip adjustment at the close of day, which suits Chinese restaurants operating procedures better. Personally I like carbon, but slips are becoming more and more of a rarity tho.

The manageress is probably the owner's wife. They tend to guard the till in HK and other Asian countries' small businesses.

It's also unbelievable that HSBC has such a crap acquirer setup in the PRC - not training and enforcing merchant standards in the PRC, poor support over the phone.
1. Well, it's a little late to charge them back now that they've voluntarily reversed the transaction. Also, neither charge nor credit have hard-posted; apart from the "void" slip I have no proof it happened at all. (and I've heard that Wells Fargo is less customer-friendly than Schwab).

2. Yes, HSBC needs help here, if for nothing else other than to have a better reputation than BoC. The lady helping me (can't fault her, she really didn't know better (if she was right in saying that she was "told" to do this), spent quite a bit of effort helping me reverse the transaction and even pulled out a few previous DCC sales slips to show me how things usually go- Japanese people, all of them, who didn't circle either and apparently were OK with JPY being selected for them) got bounced around to four different people before she got someone who knew how to reverse transactions.

And unfortunately a complaint letter will have to wait until I'm finished with final exams.

EDIT: I should also say that at this point that I never got the cardholder copy of the initial sales slip; I forgot to ask due to Mr. Impatient Hongkie wanting to leave, and neither debit nor credit show up at all on my online statement.

Also: To be more clear, this is what happened:
1. Waitress came over and took my card.
2. Ran it through the machine. I was still sitting at my table near the cash register/card machine.
3. Waitress comes back with DCC slip. I start to complain.
4. I look over and something's being torn off the card machine printer.
5. I go over to the cash register and ask them to reverse the transaction.
6. I notice that the machine is on the "please swipe card" screen. Pushing the "clear" button brings up a "DCC function" menu with, among other things (like the reversal function), a prominent "OPTOUT" option which requires an authorization code which nobody at the restaurant has (at first I assumed this was necessary pre-transaction to, well, opt out of DCC).
7. At this point I start to panic and check my mobile banking to be sure. It posted as DCC.
8. They start calling HSBC to ask about reversing the transaction. Mr. Impatient Hongkie shoos my sister and me away and says he'll deal with it.
9. Transaction is reversed, void slip printed. He pays in cash instead. (Originally I was going to swipe and he'd hand me the cash- quick 'n dirty way to get around times when SAFE is being stupid)
10. I get void slip.
11. On the way out he berates me for wanting to fight for "so little money. That's not being financially astute, that's just being selfish. Don't waste time on little things like this next time".

Last edited by jamar; Jan 12, 2011 at 4:16 am
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Old Jan 11, 2011, 9:00 am
  #115  
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(After reading Jamar's void slip again)

I've just noticed the my "model" specimen Grand Hyatt Taipei bill http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/cathay-pacific-asia-miles/910542-best-credit-card-coversion-rate-asiamiles-2009-fters-based-hk-33.html#492 is not as "model" as first thought.

Nothing wrong with the transaction - it came out right. My NTD33,700 came out as NTD33,700/HKD9,130.07, not HKD9,256.28/HKD9,256.28 as offered by DCC.

The confusing bit is the DCC message still being printed on the statement:

"I have chosen not to use the MasterCard
currency conversion process and agree
that I will have no recourse against
Mastercard concerning the currency
conversion or its disclosure"

This is inappropriate because DCC has been *successfully* refused, so the message shouldn't appear. I *have* chosen to use the Mastercard currency conversion process, otherwise I can't get HKD9,130.07.

So the message is not conclusive of whether DCC has been applied or successfully refused. DCC implementation is so fxcked up even in the hands of experienced and honest merchants and acquirers!
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Old Jan 11, 2011, 10:29 am
  #116  
 
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Originally Posted by percysmith
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I am surprised. But perhaps it's because most of my PRC travel l/y has been Guangdong, HSBC China has not been as big an acquirer there as in Shanghai.

Just curious tho - how did you manage to get DCC scammed in an airline office? They should be doing the transaction right in front of you, and you shouldn't have pushy Hongkie relatives or impatient waiters (oxymoron?) to push you to sign. Assuming you get to circle the HSBC slip like Jamar, how did you manage get scammed? Even if you did, did you try chargeback with your overseas card issuer?
1. I didn't get scammed, since I noticed the telltale wording and the US currency amount that was over 8% higher than the RMB-USD exchange rate of the day. Though I didn't have the knowledge then (nearly a year ago) that I have now, it felt like something was wrong and I refused to sign, had them reverse the transaction and then I eventually ran out to get the RMB cash to cover the transaction.

2. There was no option to circle currency of choice. Let me repeat this. NO OPTION TO CIRCLE CURRENCY OF CHOICE. In fact, I have never seen any of those types of slips up here in Beijing--moondog does a lot more cc transactions up here so maybe he can chime in on what he's encountered. My charge slip came out with an RMB charge in large print so it looked kosher, then underneath the fine print had the disclosure notice about choosing the currency and signing meant accepting the charge in USD in the amount given. Sneaky, sneaky.

3. After reversing/cancelling the initial transaction, we tried again but neither the agent nor I knew how to hit the right sequence of buttons to get the transaction to come out straight RMB, without home currency conversion and disclosure notice. It was clear that the airline agent really believed they were charging in RMB, they had no idea of DCC. Yes, they thought I had escaped from a lunatic asylum!

4. I had to chargeback a few years ago for a completely different reason, and let me tell you, when you live in China, are rarely in the USA to straighten things out, it is A HUGE PAIN to spend time on the phone to one's bank, trying to get someone to even understand the problem. Even with Skype to blunt the cost of calling. And there is no guarantee that the bank will even agree to chargeback. If circumstances dictated that I needed to do a credit card transaction that was then whammied by the DCC, and the amount of excess was worth it, I would go to the trouble of course. But not for what I consider to be garden-variety expenses. (I also have privacy reasons for preferring cash for most transactions but that's a completely different issue.)
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Old Jan 11, 2011, 10:43 am
  #117  
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Originally Posted by jiejie
I was going through account records from 2010 recently, and the most memorable DCC attempt on me this year was at Malaysia Airlines office Beijing, which was using HSBC transaction machines for Visa/MC processing. It's not only BoC that's at fault here.
Originally Posted by jiejie
2. There was no option to circle currency of choice. Let me repeat this. NO OPTION TO CIRCLE CURRENCY OF CHOICE. In fact, I have never seen any of those types of slips up here in Beijing--moondog does a lot more cc transactions up here so maybe he can chime in on what he's encountered. My charge slip came out with an RMB charge in large print so it looked kosher, then underneath the fine print had the disclosure notice about choosing the currency and signing meant accepting the charge in USD in the amount given. Sneaky, sneaky.

So I guess it's not like jamar's Secrep Recipe Shanghai sales slip then?

I'm taking your word for it - it's just disgusting that HSBC can flout the rules even tho it knows what the rules should be (HSBC-Global Payments Asia Pacific processed my Taipei transaction). Does being The World's Local bank mean it will act the World's Local Way, be it BoC or whatever?

I was looking at its Premier brochure - promising international pre-arrival services. Why bother, if I'm going to get the same thing from BoC China?
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Old Jan 11, 2011, 11:08 am
  #118  
 
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Originally Posted by percysmith
So I guess it's not like jamar's Secrep Recipe Shanghai sales slip then?

I'm taking your word for it - it's just disgusting that HSBC can flout the rules even tho it knows what the rules should be (HSBC-Global Payments Asia Pacific processed my Taipei transaction). Does being The World's Local bank mean it will act the World's Local Way, be it BoC or whatever?

I was looking at its Premier brochure - promising international pre-arrival services. Why bother, if I'm going to get the same thing from BoC China?
Different, and maybe what I got presented with is yet another version of card transaction slips one might encounter in the PRC. I am also a bit surprised that HSBC doesn't seem to have it's act together on this. Whether it is oversight, lack of proper training for merchants, or outright attempts to fatten its coffers through trickery, I don't know.

On a slightly brighter note, I am an HSBC Premier member (though that's not the credit card issuer I was using at the airline office), and have absolutely no complaints about their service on my personal accounts both PRC and abroad. On the other hand, I divorced BoC without looking back, as soon as retail regulations loosened enough in the 2000's that I had other options. Friends don't let friends go to Bank of China.
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Old Jan 11, 2011, 11:14 am
  #119  
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My Schwab DCC Template

Since these threads have been getting so much action recently, I finally got around to finding the documents I used during my dispute last year.

In addition to this letter, I can send a spreadsheet template to anyone that requests it.

By the way, your letter and spreadsheet should be much simpler than mine if you include receipts for all of the transactions you wish to dispute. Since this was my first time venturing into these waters, I was curious to see if they'd accept my reasoning and math (for the transactions lacking receipt copies) without question... and they did.

<<YOUR NAME, ADDRESS, ACCOUNT NUMBER, ETC>>

FIA Billing Disputes
PO Box 15026
Wilmington, DE

<<DATE>>

To Whom it May Concern:

I’m writing to dispute the transactions in the table below on the grounds that I was not given a choice of currency per Visa Dynamic Currency Conversion (“DCC”) regulations. I am enclosing receipts for 10 of these transactions. For the remaining 15 transactions, I have used the average DCC premium from the receipt backed transactions to derive dispute amounts. You are welcome to update these figures with the actual receipt data (from your records), but I’m confident that my margin of error is less than 1%.

<<INSERT SPREADSHEET>>

Kind Regards,

<<NAME>>
ETA: In my calculations, I used historical interbank exchange rates (probably slightly better than the actual rates FIA uses), and they were fine with this.

Last edited by moondog; Jan 11, 2011 at 11:31 am
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Old Jan 11, 2011, 11:19 am
  #120  
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Originally Posted by jiejie
Different, and maybe what I got presented with is yet another version of card transaction slips one might encounter in the PRC. I am also a bit surprised that HSBC doesn't seem to have it's act together on this. Whether it is oversight, lack of proper training for merchants, or outright attempts to fatten its coffers through trickery, I don't know.

Maybe closer to this one then?

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/catha...sed-hk-30.html (carbon sales slip, no selection options printed elsewhere on the slip or verbally asked of me):

"RATE: 1.20022 NO CommissionFee
TXN CUR(BASE MAT): HKD2549.28
I declare that I have been offered a choice
of payment currencies and my choice is
final. I understand that the currency
conversion is not provided by VISA."

The first two lines (from "RATE" to "HKD2549.28" is overprinted over the "I acknowledge satisfactory receipt of relative goods/services 同意支付上还款项 / Customer signature 持卡人签字" which makes it difficult for me to transcribe it even now.

The whole "I declare...VISA" statement has been overprinted over the signature box and I signed on top of the statement. I think if I have to score it out, I cannot then legibly sign on top of it to approve the RMB amount.
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