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Old Nov 12, 16, 8:24 am   #1
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Airbnb's sneaky 3% FX fee - deceitful and infuriating, and now unavoidable?

(Background: You pay a host in your local currency and they tack on 3% to convert it to the host's local currency even if you have a no-fee card and can pay directly in the host's currency. They quote you a rate in your local currency and you'd never realize it unless you paid close attention during the checkout process that they are screwing you by 3% on the FX conversion.)

It used to be that you could change the currency at the bottom of the page to the host's currency and avoid Airbnb's stupid 3% 'convenience' fee for currency conversion (they marked up the exchange rate). I now see that there is no way to avoid this - even if I change the currency at the bottom of the page and the country of my residence and the billing country of my card, it still wants to charge me in USD instead of EUR for a booking in Europe and mark up the interbank USD/EUR exchange rate that I would get through my card.

Frankly this is deceitful and infuriating. Every other OTA manages to handle multiple currencies without stealing 3% from me.

Isn't this against Visa / Mastercard rules about Dynamic Currency Conversion?
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Old Nov 12, 16, 2:29 pm   #2
  
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Interesting. Will look carefully the next time I'm thinking of booking through airbnb.
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Old Nov 12, 16, 6:12 pm   #3
  
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What if you book on the Airbnb site for the destination country - e.g., https://www.airbnb.co.uk/



Quote:
Originally Posted by abcx View Post
(Background: You pay a host in your local currency and they tack on 3% to convert it to the host's local currency even if you have a no-fee card and can pay directly in the host's currency. They quote you a rate in your local currency and you'd never realize it unless you paid close attention during the checkout process that they are screwing you by 3% on the FX conversion.)

It used to be that you could change the currency at the bottom of the page to the host's currency and avoid Airbnb's stupid 3% 'convenience' fee for currency conversion (they marked up the exchange rate). I now see that there is no way to avoid this - even if I change the currency at the bottom of the page and the country of my residence and the billing country of my card, it still wants to charge me in USD instead of EUR for a booking in Europe and mark up the interbank USD/EUR exchange rate that I would get through my card.

Frankly this is deceitful and infuriating. Every other OTA manages to handle multiple currencies without stealing 3% from me.

Isn't this against Visa / Mastercard rules about Dynamic Currency Conversion?
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Old Nov 12, 16, 7:00 pm   #4
  
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Originally Posted by BigFlyer View Post
What if you book on the Airbnb site for the destination country - e.g., https://www.airbnb.co.uk/
Airbnb uses the billing address of your card to charge you in the card's home currency regardless of what site you use. It will even charge Canadian issued USD denominated cards in CAD.
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Old Nov 13, 16, 2:50 am   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eigenvector View Post
Airbnb uses the billing address of your card to charge you in the card's home currency regardless of what site you use. It will even charge Canadian issued USD denominated cards in CAD.
I have a card with country set to the US that it is not letting me remove because I used it for another stay and I think because of that it is setting the currency of any other card I add to the US too even if I use a different billing country.

I even tried Paypal which showed local currency initially but even with that they try to charge me in USD because that is where my Paypal account is located.

This is nothing but a 3% money grab and they're clearly being obstructionist about letting you use the local currency (in fact, the functionality used to exist according to posts on the Internet until the bas*ards blocked it). I intend to initiate a chargeback after my stay on the grounds that they are doing dynamic currency conversion without offering me the opportunity to pay in local currency, which I believe is against the rules of Visa and Mastercard. I'm not a lawyer, but I hope a class action is filed about this.
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Old Nov 13, 16, 6:53 am   #6
  
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Have you tried entering the billing address with the correct building/street/town, but leaving country as the country of the currency you wish to bill in? Not sure about AirBNB, but it works for many other travel sites/companies.

Edit: United for instance is another one that dynamically tries to change your currency based on billing address.

Last edited by belfordrocks; Nov 13, 16 at 7:25 am
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Old Nov 13, 16, 7:05 am   #7
  
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This has been around for a year at least, and they insist it's a "financial security" feature for them or some bullcrap like that, to supposedly protect them from currency fluctuations. I actually complained really loudly about this on my last stay and they gave me a $25 coupon.
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Old Nov 13, 16, 7:40 am   #8
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Moderator Note: Please follow this thread as the discussion continues in the Budget Travel Forum. Thanks.
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Old Nov 13, 16, 7:53 am   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by belfordrocks View Post
Have you tried entering the billing address with the correct building/street/town, but leaving country as the country of the currency you wish to bill in? Not sure about AirBNB, but it works for many other travel sites/companies.

Edit: United for instance is another one that dynamically tries to change your currency based on billing address.
Yes, see above.
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Old Nov 13, 16, 7:54 am   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by littlewinglet View Post
This has been around for a year at least, and they insist it's a "financial security" feature for them or some bullcrap like that, to supposedly protect them from currency fluctuations. I actually complained really loudly about this on my last stay and they gave me a $25 coupon.
It's total BS and just a money grab. I intend to fight it on principle even though it's small dollars.
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Old Nov 13, 16, 7:57 am   #11
  
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Again I'm not familiar with AirBNB, but they don't have any kind of loyalty/rewards program, right? What's stopping you from signing up again with a different account in a different currency then, if your current one is locked to USD?
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Old Nov 13, 16, 8:34 am   #12
  
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Originally Posted by belfordrocks View Post
Again I'm not familiar with AirBNB, but they don't have any kind of loyalty/rewards program, right? What's stopping you from signing up again with a different account in a different currency then, if your current one is locked to USD?
They go off of the billing address of your payment method, so if you pay with US credit card you're screwed. Not sure how the airbnb gift cards are treated, maybe those allow one to switch currency?
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Old Nov 13, 16, 8:53 am   #13
  
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AirBNB is a great idea that is being managed very badly. They are milking customers to the stage they go elsewhere.
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Old Nov 13, 16, 10:55 am   #14
  
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This problem is not new. On a $1500 cad stay they charged me in CAD and performed the conversion. I asked through multiple emails to opt out of the Dynamic Currency Conversion, as is my right, I believe as a consumer. They declined. I called and escalated the matter. Still declined.
Here's where it get's interesting though: I then tried to change my card later on for a different purpose. I was switching from Amex to Mastercard to fulfill spend requirements. They informed me over email that I would not be able to issue a chargeback for the DCC. I never had an intention of doing that, but now that they said it, I googled it, according to Visa/MC rules you can issue a chargeback for DCC. Airbnb seems to know about this and actively tries to dissuade you from doing it. I find this whole thing disgusting on AirBNB's part.
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Old Nov 13, 16, 11:23 am   #15
  
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Doesn't Amex forbid DCC?
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