Irish people withdrawing money from cash dispensers in foreign countries are being ripped off, often without knowing it, said Brian Hayes MEP.
“When people travel to a country which uses a different currency, the cash dispensers may give you the option to withdraw money in their own currency or the local currency,” he explained.
“Most people will opt to withdraw the cash in their own currency, as they prefer to know exactly how much they are debiting from their account.
“This practice of paying in one’s home currency, which is called dynamic currency conversion (DCC), uses an exchange rate which is almost always worse than ‘standard’ exchange rates. The consumer has no way of realistically comparing the two options, as they rarely have instant access to each exchange rate to do a quick calculation – especially while they are a queue.
“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.
“In early 2018, the regulation of Cross-Border Payment Fees will be under review in the European Parliament and I will be arguing strongly for more stringent regulation of these practices. The default setting in ATMs should be in the local currency, with an option presented to customers to withdraw in their own currency, should they have a specific need to do so. Consumers need to be the priority here – the banks are making enough dividends through general withdrawal charges without customers being hit by charges potentially twice in the one transaction.”