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Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC) [2014-2016]

Old Jan 18, 14, 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 4, 14, 1:25 pm
  #76  
 
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Originally Posted by Majuki
I think we stand a better chance of mobile payment taking off. Think of the Starbucks or mobile boarding pass model where you can have them scan the barcode off of your phone.

I don't think contactless payment suffers from a perception problem, but so few places consistently accept it and so few cards support it that it never took off. The problem I see with too much reliance on one's phone is what happens when the battery dies or the phone crashes at an inopportune time? There's no fallback technology. I've already had a few fumbles myself with mobile boarding passes where the AA app hiccuped right before the gate agent scanned it.
Pretty much all new EMV terminals also accept contactless as well. I don't think the terminal manufactures make many non-contactless emv terminals anymore. Even the terminals in Walmart are contactless enabled (The reader is in the screen) they just don't use it because Visa has ridiculous fees in the US on contactless transactions and treats it as a Card-not-present transaction. This is likely to change with EMV.
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Old Feb 4, 14, 1:52 pm
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Originally Posted by reclusive46
Pretty much all new EMV terminals also accept contactless as well. I don't think the terminal manufactures make many non-contactless emv terminals anymore. Even the terminals in Walmart are contactless enabled (The reader is in the screen) they just don't use it because Visa has ridiculous fees in the US on contactless transactions and treats it as a Card-not-present transaction. This is likely to change with EMV.
Ditto. On the http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/credi...action-us.html thread, the photo shows the EMV card reader equipped with contactless reader (the contactless logo and the 4 lights above) and this EMV terminal seems to be one of the older models out there.
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Old Feb 5, 14, 3:53 am
  #78  
 
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Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC) - Master Thread

I filed a dispute with Chase on a few of my DCC charges yesterday. All credited within 24 hours. Though the largest single amount was only $2.00. Too bad some of the other issuers make you call in.

Last edited by LoneTree; Feb 5, 14 at 4:11 am
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Old Feb 5, 14, 4:37 am
  #79  
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Originally Posted by kebosabi
Ditto. On the http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/credi...action-us.html thread, the photo shows the EMV card reader equipped with contactless reader (the contactless logo and the 4 lights above) and this EMV terminal seems to be one of the older models out there.
Paywave/contactless is VEPS, and you cannot DCC on it

p.468 of VIOR http://usa.visa.com/download/merchan...n.pdf#page=504
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Old Feb 5, 14, 5:10 am
  #80  
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Originally Posted by percysmith

...Thailand: a quote slip is generated, the terminal pauses, you tell the cashier whether to press yes or no into the terminal.

With the exception of one time where the dcc was run through without asking I've had similar expereinces. And since I have a number of no forex ccs I just had her cancel the charge and start again.

My wife, on a no forex cc, accepted the USD charge in SIN airport while purchasing duty free. She realized it after the fact.....
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Old Feb 5, 14, 11:32 am
  #81  
 
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Originally Posted by LoneTree
I filed a dispute with Chase on a few of my DCC charges yesterday. All credited within 24 hours. Though the largest single amount was only $2.00. Too bad some of the other issuers make you call in.
A Google Docs template or a fillable Adobe Acrobat form to be used to fax/e-mail your issuer in the case of a DCC dispute would be a helpful addition to the Wiki.

Many of these corporations operate on a SOP. Who says we can't do the same?

1. Got duped by DCC?
2. Download a fillable Google Docs/Adobe Acrobat form and fill out
3. Fax it in
4. Let the issuers deal with the paperwork

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Old Feb 5, 14, 11:58 am
  #82  
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Lonetree: Unfortunately in this case Chase ate the DCC scalp. It could not have possibly disputed a transaction in a day - I took 10 weeks for a full-drawn Reason Code 76 chargeback which resulted in the DCC charge being reversed and a local currency charge being charged.

I don't like how US banks almost brought the world economy down due to their greed but on the same token I don't think it's right that overseas banks are allowed to steal from them either. Yes there is the factor that the US banks are lazy so they don't go the full Reason Code 76 monty but it really doesn't punish the overseas perpetrators of this crime.
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Old Feb 5, 14, 12:18 pm
  #83  
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Originally Posted by percysmith

I don't like how US banks almost brought the world economy down due to their greed but on the same token I don't think it's right that overseas banks are allowed to steal from them either.
Before I started doing most of my banking in Hong Kong, I too felt that US based banks were in a league of their own in terms of gall factor. But, both HSBC and Hang Seng have proven to me that they have the power/desire to be every bit as ruthless as BofA (e.g. we often pay close to 7% commissions on outbound wires!).

Back on topic, no matter how much of a stink people like us make about DCC, ALL of the financial institutions in the game stand to benefit. Basically, even if you consume 3 hours of some bank employee's time to recover $2, it's true that you're probably costing the bank $90. But, for the other 99 (out of 100) people that have given them an extra $2 each, they're pulling in $198.

That having been said, I still applaud our efforts to spread awareness about DCC.

Last edited by moondog; Feb 5, 14 at 12:27 pm
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Old Feb 5, 14, 12:33 pm
  #84  
 
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Originally Posted by moondog
Before I started doing most of my banking in Hong Kong, I too felt that US based banks were in a league of their own in terms of gall factor. But, both HSBC and Hang Seng have proven to me that they have the power/desire to be every bit as ruthless as BofA (e.g. we often pay close to 7% commissions on outbound wires!).
I've known ever since a kid that US banks weren't the only ones greedy, if not the US pales in nickel-and-diming its customers compared to Japanese banks.

Until recently, Japan didn't have 24 hour ATMs and if you withdrew cash past the banks closing hours you got dinged with convenience charges. Let alone that Japan loves to do things their own proprietary way that up until recently, you couldn't even use foreign ATM/debit cards at Japanese banks or almost anywhere because their entire ATM system was incompatible with the rest of the world.

And as for bank transfers, there's pretty much a fee even within their own bank. The only time it's free is if the recipient account holder is also within the same branch. http://www.bk.mufg.jp/tesuuryou/furikomi.html

Even US banks aren't that conspicuous in nickel-and-diming their customers. At least BofA account holder in Los Angeles allows free transfers to any BofA account holder in New York. In Japan, Mitsubishi-UFJ account holder in Tokyo sending a transfer to a Mitsubishi-UFJ account holder in Osaka, the sender and recipient gets raped with transfer fees even though they both bank at Mitsubishi-UFJ.

And at least the US offers choices from lots of competitors. If you dislike BofA, you can go with Chase or Citi, or you can join a credit union. In Japan, the entire banking industry is run like an oligarchy that there really is not much difference in banking from Mitsubishi-UFJ to Resona. The only one that is reasonably acceptable is Japan's Postal System savings (Yucho) or if you're lucky, join their credit unions which is far more restrictive than the US (you are part of the Japanese Agricultural Farming system, etc.).

Last edited by kebosabi; Feb 5, 14 at 12:45 pm
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Old Feb 5, 14, 1:38 pm
  #85  
 
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Originally Posted by percysmith
Lonetree: Unfortunately in this case Chase ate the DCC scalp. It could not have possibly disputed a transaction in a day - I took 10 weeks for a full-drawn Reason Code 76 chargeback which resulted in the DCC charge being reversed and a local currency charge being charged.
I figured, but in the end I'm fine with this. If Chase gets annoyed enough it might cause some larger action anyway.
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Old Feb 5, 14, 2:01 pm
  #86  
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Originally Posted by LoneTree
I figured, but in the end I'm fine with this. If Chase gets annoyed enough it might cause some larger action anyway.
Like...leave the card business?

As big as Chase is Chase is unlikely to be able to force Visa (or Mastercard) to clamp down on DCC malpractices.


But, OTOH, the more compensation it pays out of pocket, the more likely that one day it will start charging back those DCC perpetrators.
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Old Feb 6, 14, 10:32 am
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Report on Chase Debit and Credit Cards in Seoul

Hi All

Just came back from Seoul.

Been using my Chase credit cards (United Club for general purchases, Ritz Carlton for restaurants, Sapphire for Westin Chosun stay). Businesses in Seoul regardless of size all support credit cards (I didn't run into any that doesn't, street food stalls don't count), much better than Tokyo.

There were a few times I run into DCC, particularly in Lotte Department Store and its market downstairs. One time when purchasing tea, I wasn't paying attention enough so the lady hit USD fast enough and I got DCCed. The difference is only $1 so I didn't spend the time fixing it as her English was bad enough. In restaurants, I never had any incidents of DCC. Checking out in restaurants in Seoul with credit cards (even US cards) is really fast and convenient.

Used my Chase debit, with Woori Bank and Shinhan Bank ATMs, there is no ATM fee charged by the ATMs. On the other hand, Citi ATMs charge around $3, so do convenient store ATMs. So when using ATM for cash, try Korean banks.

All in all, using US credit cards (like mine with no foreign transaction fees) in Seoul is quite worry free.
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Old Feb 6, 14, 8:30 pm
  #88  
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Originally Posted by zyxlsy
There were a few times I run into DCC, particularly in Lotte Department Store and its market downstairs. One time when purchasing tea, I wasn't paying attention enough so the lady hit USD fast enough and I got DCCed. The difference is only $1 so I didn't spend the time fixing it as her English was bad enough.
Yes Lotte seems to be a trouble spot. I got hit at the duty free.

Actually, it turned out to be the USD21 transaction that got DCCed not the USD31. The USD21 receipt I got looks like a shop receipt only but the USD31 non-DCC slip is an integrated shop/card receipt (different POS but same floor), so even now I'm not sure whether the USD21 receipt is also my card receipt or not (I wasn't given a seperate card receipt).

Picture of receipt: http://i.imgur.com/p2gQ6fm.jpg

Last edited by MDtR-Chicago; Feb 6, 14 at 9:20 pm Reason: Please resize images if including in a post
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Old Feb 7, 14, 4:25 am
  #89  
 
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Originally Posted by percysmith
Yes Lotte seems to be a trouble spot. I got hit at the duty free.

Actually, it turned out to be the USD21 transaction that got DCCed not the USD31. The USD21 receipt I got looks like a shop receipt only but the USD31 non-DCC slip is an integrated shop/card receipt (different POS but same floor), so even now I'm not sure whether the USD21 receipt is also my card receipt or not (I wasn't given a seperate card receipt).

Picture of receipt: http://i.imgur.com/p2gQ6fm.jpg
Hi Percysmith, long time no see.

The one receipt on the left seems quite strange. To me it seems like another bill altogether. It is gonna be really shocking if a 21 USD transaction would be bumped to 31 USD because of solely DCC.

I scanned some of my receipts from Lotte.

The first one is from the Duty Free. It is really interesting that Duty Free charges USD as there base currency. If you wanna use KRW, you are DCCed... So, paying amount in USD, no DCC.

The second one is from the market on B1. I chose KRW as the currency, and the final amount is in KRW.

The third one is from a vendor on B1, just outside the market cashier. She clicked USD instead of asking me for the choice (maybe unintentionally), and I got DCCed. I didn't calculate whether it is like what the receipt says, that the DCC rate is normal rate plus a 3% markup. It is close though.

Picture of receipt: http://zyxwg.vip.sina.com/receipt.jpeg

Last edited by MDtR-Chicago; Feb 7, 14 at 9:34 am Reason: Please resize large images
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Old Feb 7, 14, 6:02 am
  #90  
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Hi zyxlsy

No I made two spendings at the duty free floor: one usd21 one usd31

You didn't get dcced on the duty free floor cos their card machines are charging usd and you have a had card.

But u got dcced at the basement cos basement is back to normal krw. I think the choice is on the signing pad there I think, I shopped there with mastercard too (and ae and unionpay - buying three boxes of brownies one at a time http://www.hongkongcard.com/forum/forum_show.php?id=3939&p=6 )
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