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Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC) [2014-2016]

Old Jan 18, 2014, 11:10 pm
FlyerTalk Forums Expert How-Tos and Guides
Last edit by: emilio911
What is it?

Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC) is a "service" some merchants and ATM operators offer that will charge a cardholder in the native currency of the card rather than the local currency. A more complete definition and examples are available via this Wikipedia article on DCC. While sold as a convenience to cardholders traveling outside of their home country, it is a pure profit play by the merchants. You may end up paying a fee of up to 8% over the purchase price for accepting DCC. Always decline DCC and asked to be billed in the local currency!



Where will I see it?

You can be hit with DCC anywhere there is a difference between your debit or credit card's denominated currency and the currency of the location where you're trying to use the card. The most common example will be at a merchant overseas, but now some ATMs are offering the service too. While many US cardholders complain about getting tricked into accepting DCC overseas, some merchants in the US have started to use DCC as well.

What is the issue?

Unless you're the merchant or ATM operator, there isn't much benefit to using DCC. Some customers say they prefer knowing exactly how much they'll be charged in their home currency or may not know the exchange rate of the place where they are visiting. For example, if you are in Prague for two days and you don't know how much the Czech Koruna is worth relative to the US Dollar, you might feel more comfortable knowing that you're buying an item for $205.00 versus 4000 CZK. However, the real exchange rate as of January 18, 2014 would place 4000 CZK at $197.18. You just paid an extra $7.82 for the "convenience" of knowing how much you'd be charged!

DCC often charges about a 4% premium over the true exchange rate. The problems don't stop there since many US banks still charge a 3% foreign transaction fee (FTF) for purchases made outside of the US. Not only would you get hit with the $205.00 charge, you could also find yourself facing a total charge of $211.15 if your card has a 3% FTF.

This is a pure money grab from the merchants, and it's billed as an easy way to squeeze additional revenue out of the transaction. Numerous [1, 2] articles have talked about DCC duping many consumers. Discover even has a warning about being tricked into DCC when using a card abroad.

For example, this FlyerTalk member reported that Avis charged his Saudi credit card in Saudi riyals instead of USD for a car rental in Florida without his consent. This has also been a trend for hotels, particularly large chains as indicated here and here.

DCC is simply not worth it for the consumer. Unless you like paying a convenience fee of up to 5% of the total transaction just to know how much you will be billed, you should always decline DCC and ask to be billed in local currency when handing over your card.

Furthermore, it is in your interest to obtain a card that has a 0% FTF. FlyerTalk member kebosabi maintains a fairly comprehensive spreadsheet of EMV-enabled cards ideal for overseas travel, many of which offer a low or 0% FTF as a feature. There is also a wiki at FlyerGuide of various FTF of debit and credit cards.

What can I do to avoid DCC?

American Express currently does not support DCC on its network, so you are safe from DCC if using an American Express card. However, Visa and MasterCard card networks can support DCC, so be vigilant when purchasing abroad with a Visa or MasterCard branded card. There have been reports of being charged DCC with a Discover card in China [citation needed], but primarily the issue is happening with Visa and MasterCard cards.

Before handing your card to the merchant, always specify clearly that you want to be charged in the local currency and that you do not want DCC. For some transactions, you retain control of your card as you dip it into a chip reader and can view on a screen to select which currency you want to use for the transaction. Always select the local currencyto get the best exchange rate. Do not select the card's native currency!

Similarly, for ATM withdrawals, make sure you decline any kind of conversions. Some good examples of what to look for when using an ATM overseas are here and here. You're probably coming off of a long flight and fatigued, but educating yourself beforehand can save you from getting ripped off. The user interfaces on almost all of these ATMs are set up to encourage you to take the bait, and you have to be extremely vigilant not to fall for it.

If you are doing a PIN-based transaction, you should have the opportunity to review the total amount and denomination of the transaction before entering your PIN. If you are doing a signature transaction and the merchant has processed your transaction with DCC, cross out the amount and write "DCC refused" on the receipt. Do not sign the receipt, and demand that the merchant reverse the transaction and run it in the local currency. If no verification is required due to a small purchase amount, ask the merchant to reverse the charge and repeat the transaction using local currency. If all else fails, file a dispute with your card issuer when you return home. Even if it's immaterial, the banks will get the message like they did with EMV.

Some merchants will claim that their systems have to bill you in your native currency. This is a complete lie. But just like a mag stripe only card, this is battle where you have to be prepared. Don't settle for merchants claiming that "it has to be done this way" or "pay cash if you don't want this". Be prepared to walk away, and, if you must complete the transaction, write "DCC refused & merchant didn't give a choice" on the receipt and cross out the amount. Let the merchant know that you will be filing a dispute with your bank.

Disabling DCC

Disabling DCC on ANZ terminals in Australia

ANZ markets DCC as Customer Preferred Currency (CPC). Terminal operators can contact ANZ Merchant Services at 1800 039 025 to have this feature disabled. Currently, your Visa or MasterCard will be subjected to DCC if denominated in: CAD, CHF, DKK, EUR, GBP, HKD, JPY, MYR, NOK, NZD, SEK, SGD, THB, USD, or ZAR. All DCC transactions on ANZ will cause a 2.5% markup. Steps to avoid DCC:
  1. Insert, swipe, or tap your payment card
  2. Have the cashier select credit (CR)
  3. The terminal will display CREDIT ACCOUNT
  4. If applicable, enter your PIN
  5. The terminal will display PROCESSING \ PLEASE WAIT
  6. The terminal will display EXCH <exchange rate> \ <currency> <amount> \ ACCEPT RATE? \ ENTER=YES CLR=NO
  7. Instruct the cashier to press the yellow CLEAR (CLR) button (If entering a PIN, you can retain the terminal to perform this step yourself. If entering a signature, you can ask for the terminal to control this process, not indicating that it's a chip-and-signature card.)
  8. The transaction should now process without DCC

If you see a signature slip with DCC verbiage and a checkbox indicating a currency selection, kindly ask the merchant to void the transaction. If it's a PIN-based transaction, you have an additional opportunity to cancel the transaction because it will ask for your PIN a second time. For instance, if you see "EUR 17.29 KEY PIN" refuse to enter your PIN and start again.

Disabling DCC in China

There are many reports of forced DCC in China, and there is a great thread [closed to new posts] on DCC in China on the the China Destinations forum.

Disabling DCC on Bankcomm terminals in Beijing http://www.hongkongcard.com/forum/fo...p?id=12272&p=2 #19

jair101's DCC instructions of March 2011 http://www.etveg.com/misc/DCC_China.pdf

Disabling DCC in Eurozone and UK

DCC offered in tourist traps (Harrods Knightsbridge/Galleries Lafayette Montparnesse/El Cortes Ingles Grand Via Madrid)

Unlike the rest of the world, Visa Europe does not require merchants to collect a ticked box on the slip (presumably because merchants there don't keep signed slips under Chip-and-PIN)
El Cortes Ingles collects a signature electronically and the DCC selection is made on the signature pad - the choice is respected.
Harrods and GL rely on cashier input in the POS for the currency choice - the cashier may forget to ask. The POS do not offer voiding (only refunds), but since you're given a slip to sign the best thing to do is to deface it before signing and submit chargeback request to issuer bank on return home.

There may be smaller merchants who also collect DCC but I seemed to have pre-empted most of them by saying "charge Euros (Pounds) please"

In Spain all merchants by law are required to provide you with a complaint form called an hoja de reclamaciones if requested. The form has two carbon copies. The customer retains one copy as a record of the complaint. The merchant maintains another copy, and the third is sent to the local consumer protection bureau. Merchants are also required to post a sign conspicuously informing the customer of the right to complain (usually in Spanish and English). Do not accept the lie that they don't have any forms. This is illegal, and you are able to call the police if the merchant refuses to provide you with this official form. It's interesting to see merchants start to squirm when you know the rules, and most merchants will start to be accommodating after you mention it. (Please still fill out the form even if the merchant cooperates after mentioning it because these are likely the merchants who won't otherwise change their behavior.)

Disabling DCC in Hong Kong and Macau

Hong Kong and Macau can get as non-compliant as China, possibly because many acquirers have cross-border operations and know they can get away with non-compliant firmware and procedures.

In practice, if you are given a DCC slip, and the cashier has not taken a choice before giving you your copy, the slip will be processed in your home currency - be prepared to dispute.

Unable to disable Global Payments DCC in Hong Kong instance #1, instance #2

Unable to disable DBS DCC in Fortress Electronics HK

Unable to disable BoC DCC in Free Duty HK

Disabling DCC in Japan and Korea

Japan's just starting out http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/japan...ing-japan.html and http://www.hongkongcard.com/forum/fo...p?id=3939&p=17 #168 but there are no reports I know of where cardholders are compelled to use DCC against their will.

Korea is also not much affected by DCC but where offered, trying to opt out is harder than Japan due to the language barrier (both verbal and written)
http://www.hongkongcard.com/forum/fo...hp?id=4303&p=3 #23
http://www.hongkongcard.com/forum/fo...p?id=12272&p=2 #11

Disabling DCC in the Maldives

Disabling DCC on Global Payment terminals in the Maldives

Disabling DCC in Thailand and Taiwan

DCC present but generally not an issue. Cashier will generate quote slip is usually generated and pass to cardholder. When cardholder refuses, a verbage-free slip denominated in THB/TWD will be produced.

Certain Taiwan hotels may take deposits in cardholder currency. But these are only pre-authorisations and can be voided in full for TWD-only final checkout payments.

Disabling DCC on Websites

Airbnb - (Since the "loophole" seem not to work anymore, please report if you chargeback the DCC. )
Hotwire - You need to select your preferred currency before making a search.
PayPal - The instructions to stop the DCC on a recurring charge are here.

I got duped by DCC already before I found this thread. Is there anything I can do?

If you've been hit with DCC and the merchant did not follow the Visa/MC rules, you should file a dispute with your card issuer. Even if the transaction is a small amount, it's worth it to dispute the charge on principle. Do not let merchants get away with this scam uncontested!

If you were not clearly given a choice of currencies and did not specifically communicate a preference to be billed in your card's native currency - if you did not accept DCC - then you have recourse when filing a dispute with your card issuer. The Visa Product and Service Rules clearly state (p 339):
  • Merchants that offer DCC must be compliant with the regulations
  • Inform the cardholder that DCC is optional
  • Not impose any additional requirements to use local currency
  • Not use any language or procedures that may cause the cardholder to choose DCC by default
  • Not convert a transaction in the local currency to the card's billing currency after the transaction has completed
  • Ensure that the cardholder expressly agrees to DCC

You can even use terminology from Visa Product and Service Rules when filing the dispute, giving Reason Code 76: Incorrect Currency or Transaction Code. Reason Code 76 is used when the transaction was processed with an incorrect transaction code, or an incorrect currency code, or one of the following:
  • Merchant did not deposit a transaction receipt in the country where the transaction occurred
  • Cardholder was not advised that Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC) would occur
  • Cardholder was refused the choice of paying in the merchants local currency
  • Merchant processed a credit refund and did not process a reversal or adjustment within 30 calendar days for a transaction receipt processed in error

MasterCard's rules also clearly state that the POI Currency Conversion must be decided by both the merchant and customer. When filing a dispute with a MasterCard, list chargeback Reason Code 4846 from the MasterCard Chargeback Guide, which covers POI currency conversion disputes in the following circumstances:
  • The cardholder states that he or she was not given the opportunity to choose the desired currency in which the transactions was completed or did not agree to the currency of the transaction, or
  • POI currency conversion took place into a currency that is not the cardholder's billing currency, or
  • POI currency conversion took place when the goods or services were priced in the cardholder's billing currency, or
  • POI currency conversion took place when cash was disbursed in the cardholdeer's billing currency.

You do have a choice of currencies. Exercise that choice!

Do not get taken by surprise when faced with DCC, and know your options. As Visa/MC purport, you do have a choice of currencies, but you need to make that choice heard! Don't be complacent in this sneaky tactic by some merchants to pad revenues.

Before going to a different country, get educated. Understand the exchange rate relative to your native currency. Know how to recognize when the merchant is trying to force DCC on the transaction, and pull out all of the stops to make sure it doesn't happen to you.

If you have a chip-and-PIN credit card, it's easier to control the transaction to try to prevent DCC. With chip-and-signature, if you get an uncooperative merchant, deface the merchant's copy of the receipt. Write LOCAL OPTION NOT OFFERED, cross out the DCC currency amount, and sign the receipt.

This will give additional evidence when filing a dispute to get the DCC charges refunded. When filing the dispute, you can use the Visa Exchange Rate Calculator or MasterCard's Currency Conversion Tool to determine the Visa or MasterCard exchange rate on the date the transaction posted to your credit card. Compare this to the DCC value to figure out the amount by which the merchant overcharged you. Don't forget to add in any Foreign Transaction Fee if your card has one. (If it does, you should really consider finding a card for use overseas without a FTF. )

Example Images (click for a larger image)

Hotel receipts in China, the Netherlands, and Dubai respectively:



Purchase receipts in China and Korea:




Cancelled translation in Hong Kong:



Novotel in Shenzen:

Print Wikipost

Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC) [2014-2016]

Old Feb 25, 2014, 12:55 pm
  #136  
 
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Originally Posted by KvR
In Poland with an Euro chip-and-pin Maestro card I had a really bad experience in a hotel. On the customer display "AMOUNT PLN 100.00 ENTER PIN ****" was shown. After entering the PIN this was on the Polcard slip:

Exchange rate*: 0.24257
Fee/mark-up: 3.00%
Amount 24.26 EUR
* This currency conversion is provided
by eService S.A.

I have chosen not to use the MasterCard
conversion method and I will
have no recourse against MasterCard
concerning the currency
conversion or its disclosure


The official MasterCard/Maestro exchange rate for that day was 0.23594.

I disputed the transaction with my bank without success. I learned from the central payment processing center in Frankfurt, Germany that a chip-and-pin transaction cannot be voided.
I void chip and pin transactions all the time. That's simply not true. What generally can't be done is a refund in the DCC currency.
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Old Feb 25, 2014, 1:16 pm
  #137  
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Originally Posted by KvR
I disputed the transaction with my bank without success. I learned from the central payment processing center in Frankfurt, Germany that a chip-and-pin transaction cannot be voided.
I think the last statement from the Frankfurt processing centre is bull.

If they mean they can't void a slip before it's posted, I don't think Chip-and-PIN has anything to do with it cos it's more to do with whether the terminal has a void button or not.

If they mean they can't chargeback then they're not compliant with MasterCard Rules https://www.mastercard.com/us/mercha...l.pdf#page=208 . They would prefer (and pretend that) these rules don't exist just as airlines pretend that EC261 doesn't exist. If they deny your rights under MasterCard Rules, take it up with your bank regulator/supervisor.
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Old Feb 26, 2014, 7:09 pm
  #138  
 
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Originally Posted by percysmith
I think the last statement from the Frankfurt processing centre is bull.

If they mean they can't void a slip before it's posted, I don't think Chip-and-PIN has anything to do with it cos it's more to do with whether the terminal has a void button or not.

If they mean they can't chargeback then they're not compliant with MasterCard Rules https://www.mastercard.com/us/mercha...l.pdf#page=208 . They would prefer (and pretend that) these rules don't exist just as airlines pretend that EC261 doesn't exist. If they deny your rights under MasterCard Rules, take it up with your bank regulator/supervisor.
Does MasterCard or Visa expect the merchants to read documents as thick as this? They should have a pamphlet or something similar.

Also, if this is meant for the bank employees, I suspect it is still too much... They should have a two-to-three-page guide book with reference to this complete guide. Or they will just tell you no all the time.
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Old Feb 26, 2014, 7:18 pm
  #139  
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Originally Posted by reclusive46
I void chip and pin transactions all the time. That's simply not true. What generally can't be done is a refund in the DCC currency.
"Void" means completely cancelled. If the full amount paid is not returned, the transaction hasn't really been voided.
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Old Mar 13, 2014, 12:39 am
  #140  
 
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Anyone knows some merchants in China? I have always been wanting to confirm the swipe fees for using 银联 cards and foreign cards in China, but haven't found any merchant who can provide me with this knowledge.

As far as I am sure of, there must be POS from UnionPay directly (which doesn't use DCC), and POS from banks (交行 中行 use DCC and 工行 mostly doesn't). I was told once that when using DCC, merchant pay half the swipe fee, which I remember is 0.5%. However, I also remember standard swipe fee for UnionPay cards is 1%. This means merchants don't pay more when you use your Visa or MasterCard without DCC in China.

That's what I want to confirm. If so, those merchants can stop playing victim and plea guilty to the conspiring with banks.
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Old Mar 13, 2014, 1:45 am
  #141  
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Originally Posted by zyxlsy
Anyone knows some merchants in China? I have always been wanting to confirm the swipe fees for using 银联 cards and foreign cards in China, but haven't found any merchant who can provide me with this knowledge.

As far as I am sure of, there must be POS from UnionPay directly (which doesn't use DCC), and POS from banks (交行 中行 use DCC and 工行 mostly doesn't). I was told once that when using DCC, merchant pay half the swipe fee, which I remember is 0.5%. However, I also remember standard swipe fee for UnionPay cards is 1%. This means merchants don't pay more when you use your Visa or MasterCard without DCC in China.

That's what I want to confirm. If so, those merchants can stop playing victim and plea guilty to the conspiring with banks.
Here's a full list of Unionpay acquirers

http://www.hongkongcard.com/forum/fo...hp?id=8062&p=5 #43
https://sso.chinaunionpay.com/sso/fi...0-20130705.txt
(download and open in Word)

Here's an easier to read guide
http://zhidao.baidu.com/question/11578696

From my own experience, Visa merchant IDs in the PRC follow Unionpay numbering as per above

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/china...on-36.html#536

Yes there are directly acquired Unionpay slips (0100xxxxxxxxxxxx, 直聯) and bank-acquired Unionpay slips (間聯).


I don't get your point though. Merchants will pay less swipe fees if customers pay DCC (0.5%) vs customers pay Unionpay (1%)?

If you mean Visa without DCC is only 1%, I think it's higher. HK is about2%, can't get lower than that in PRC.

Last edited by percysmith; Mar 13, 2014 at 5:07 am
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Old Mar 13, 2014, 5:54 am
  #142  
 
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Originally Posted by cbn42
"Void" means completely cancelled. If the full amount paid is not returned, the transaction hasn't really been voided.
I think that's what reclusive is saying, he can VOID the transaction (needs to be done shortly after it takes place), removing it from existence basically, but he can't refund it in full if it was DCC'd.
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Old Mar 13, 2014, 12:56 pm
  #143  
 
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Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC) - Master Thread

Two months in on my trip here's what I've seen for DCC:

Poland CC- Frequent ATM: Frequent
Germany CC- Once ATM: Never
Italy CC- Never ATM: Never
Slovenia CC- Never ATM: Never
Croatia CC- Not yet ATM: Yes

Last edited by LoneTree; Mar 13, 2014 at 3:12 pm
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Old Mar 13, 2014, 1:08 pm
  #144  
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Originally Posted by LoneTree
Two months in on my trip here's what I've seen for DCC:

Poland: CC: Frequent ATM: Frequent
Germany: CC: Once ATM: Never
Italy: CC: Never ATM: Never
Slovenia: CC: Never ATM: Never
Croatia: CC: Not yet ATM: Yes
I wonder what the reason is for the high incidence of DCC in Poland? Perhaps the other countries (except Croatia of course) are getting almost all of their traffic from within the euro area so DCC wouldn't generate much revenue?
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Old Mar 14, 2014, 6:34 am
  #145  
 
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Originally Posted by percysmith
I don't get your point though. Merchants will pay less swipe fees if customers pay DCC (0.5%) vs customers pay Unionpay (1%)?

If you mean Visa without DCC is only 1%, I think it's higher. HK is about2%, can't get lower than that in PRC.
My point is, I remember being told about 10 years ago that 银联 swipe fee for 银联卡 is 1%. Last time I was trying to get a non-DCC transaction at Ritz Carlton Beijing using Visa, the manager said they pay half the swipe fee if they use DCC, and I remember he mentioned 0.5% and 1%.

Usually in Beijing, merchants use 简联, and in Shanghai 直联 is more prevalent. But as far as I can think of, and per PRC laws, merchants in Mainland China must do transactions through UnionPay, and UnionPay deals with Visa and MasterCard to facilitate usage of foreign credit card, right? (some merchants may have direct link to Visa or MasterCard, but I think I just read an article on the internet saying this is technically illegal in China)

Therefore I wanna confirm, do merchants in China pay the same swipe fee if a customer uses a UnionPay card, or a Visa card?
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Old Mar 14, 2014, 6:36 am
  #146  
 
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Originally Posted by Majuki
I wonder what the reason is for the high incidence of DCC in Poland? Perhaps the other countries (except Croatia of course) are getting almost all of their traffic from within the euro area so DCC wouldn't generate much revenue?
I think the most important thing is whether you are given the choices, or you are forced.

Having DCC itself is not very dangerous. Hong Kong and Singapore all have that, but they are still my favorite places because I can opt out very conveniently.
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Old Mar 14, 2014, 6:42 am
  #147  
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Originally Posted by zyxlsy
But as far as I can think of, and per PRC laws, merchants in Mainland China must do transactions through UnionPay, and UnionPay deals with Visa and MasterCard to facilitate usage of foreign credit card, right? (some merchants may have direct link to Visa or MasterCard, but I think I just read an article on the internet saying this is technically illegal in China)
Not direct link, but an acquired relationship akin to overseas (merchant-prc bank as acquirer-visanet-non-prc issuer bank-cardholder)?

Unionpay is not a mandatory intermediary for visa prc transactions. If it is true, every Unionpay merchant should simultaneously be a Visa merchant (a situation akin to Japan)

Last edited by percysmith; Mar 14, 2014 at 6:57 am
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Old Mar 14, 2014, 6:58 am
  #148  
 
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Originally Posted by zyxlsy
Originally Posted by Majuki
I wonder what the reason is for the high incidence of DCC in Poland? Perhaps the other countries (except Croatia of course) are getting almost all of their traffic from within the euro area so DCC wouldn't generate much revenue?
I think the most important thing is whether you are given the choices, or you are forced.

Having DCC itself is not very dangerous. Hong Kong and Singapore all have that, but they are still my favorite places because I can opt out very conveniently.
The problem in Poland and the one in Germany is that while presented with an opt out prompt on the terminal, the merchant would never ask and just accept. Even when I declined in advance. Then they would never void the transaction and claim ignorance or inability. Add in language barriers and it may as well be forced.

All disputes with CC have been successful. Though I haven't tried Barclay yet since those can't be submitted online.

I think Majuki is right, countries bordering the Eurozone have more opportunity to bill in foreign currency.
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Old Mar 14, 2014, 7:29 am
  #149  
 
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Originally Posted by LoneTree

I think Majuki is right, countries bordering the Eurozone have more opportunity to bill in foreign currency.
This probably true most of the time. Although France borders the UK and Switzerland who don't use the Euro and I've never seen DCC there. Although Visa and MasterCard don't really operate in France, they've just partnered with CB, maybe thats why.
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Old Mar 14, 2014, 8:12 am
  #150  
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Originally Posted by reclusive46
This probably true most of the time. Although France borders the UK and Switzerland who don't use the Euro and I've never seen DCC there. Although Visa and MasterCard don't really operate in France, they've just partnered with CB, maybe thats why.
What about in Switzerland?

About a year ago, I didn't see DCC in Germany except at the Frankfurt Marriott. In the Czech Republic I only made a couple of card purchases and none were DCC. In Austria I only had the hotel, the Renaissance Wien, which didn't charge DCC. I didn't make any card purchases in Slovakia. I thought the Czech Republic would be a good candidate for DCC, but maybe I didn't visit places that did it.

Last month a fellow FlyerTalk member and I were in Barcelona, and my friend got hit with DCC in a souvenir shop. My guess in Europe is that you're more likely to see DCC at establishments that see a higher degree of foreign cards such as souvenir shops or cafes near tourist areas, big chain hotels, and department stores. I have not seen DCC performed elsewhere. It's also not as ubiquitous as in Taiwan or Hong Kong, so you don't know whether or not it's coming. In Taiwan I always have my wife ask for TWD, and they don't even flinch. However, in Barcelona last month I asked to be charged in euros, and the cashier seemed genuinely confused. "What other currency would we use to charge you? " I then explained that some restaurants offer the option of being charged in euros or the currency from your home country, but it's usually best to be charged in local currency to get the better exchange rate. ^

You have to stay vigilant, and expect DCC to come down the pipe anytime you're outside of the area that uses your currency.
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