9 Responses

  1. DaninMCI
    DaninMCI at |

    Great points Seth. I ran into this recently when booking some train tickets in Europe for next week and saw this same sort of online “choice”. I almost fell for it and almost used the wrong credit card that had foreign transaction fees (Yes Citi AA business card I’m talking about you). I chose the local currency and used my Chase Sapphire card with no FTF’s and saved at least 5% just guessing.

  2. 02nz
    02nz at |

    I absolutely hate DCC and agree it’s a total scam. The “convenience” of knowing what the price in your home currency is pretty useless, because by that time you’ve already decided to purchase, and also because doing the conversion some other way (eg by smartphone) is so simple. I get especially annoyed when hotels or other establishments charge me in USD through DCC even when I’ve explicitly chosen otherwise by marking the local currency on the receipt – that’s happened to me enough times to convince me it’s not an accident – they do it because it’s very profitable. Also watch out for a similar thing at ATM’s which offer to convert your cash withdrawal to USD (not dispense USD, just charge you in USD) – I’ve compared the exchange rate offered to what my bank used, and the latter rate was always better by close to 10%.

  3. progapanda
    progapanda at |

    You should elect to settle hotel bills in Peru in USD as well; doing so avoids the same 19% VAT Peruvians must pay on such transactions (presumably in PEN).

  4. Doug
    Doug at |

    Note that saving the 19% VAT in Chile applies only to hotels paid in US$, not on other purchases, so for all other spending pay in Chilean pesos.

    In Argentina you can save the hotel VAT by paying in US$, but you want to pay in Argentine pesos despite that. That’s because you can get about 14 pesos for a US$ almost everywhere (other than at an official bank), but you’ll only get the official rate of 8.6 pesos (as of today) from a bank or your credit card company. The spread between 14 pesos per dollar and 8.6 pesos per dollar is worth way more to you than the VAT.

  5. UAPhil
    UAPhil at |

    I’ve had several small merchants plead ignorance on DCC – they might even be telling the truth. I’ve decided not to worry about it for small transactions (the hassle of getting it corrected is greater than the cost) but to be careful on larger purchases.

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