Don’t let DCC dupe you into higher holiday costs

We all like to get the best holiday we can with the travel money that we have at our disposal.

You save up for the dream vacation, probably shop around for a good deal on flights and hopefully are signed up for our Rate Alerts to buy currency when the rate is in your favour.

But did you know that you could unwittingly be duped out of your hard earned travel money when using your payment card abroad?

When you use cards overseas to withdraw cash or pay in shops and restaurants, you’ll often be given the option to pay in pounds rather than local currency.

Ever been faced with an option like this at an ATM, restaurant or shop?

This practice exposes you to extortionate fees and unfavourable rates and more often than not it leaves you out of pocket. Whether you’re using your debit, credit or FairFX Currency Card you’re at risk of losing out because of it.


You’re paying the price

This practice, known as Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC), is offered by shops, restaurants and via ATMs overseas allowing customers the chance to pay in their home currency.

You may find it easier to track your spending when you pay in pounds, but you’re paying the price.

If you pay in Sterling, the vendor or ATM is able to decide the rate that is used to convert your transaction from, for example, Euros, back into Sterling. This conversion is charged at an average of 6% of your transaction value – but can be as high as 10% on top of whatever you spend.

That’s a lot, and it all adds up to you being able to spend less on the things you enjoy on holiday.

Industry figures suggest that a third of UK holidaymakers use cards overseas, spending £26.4bn. Our latest data reveals that 20% of card transactions overseas this year – and 24% of card spend – was subject to DCC to pay in pounds rather than local currency.

That means that a fifth of holidaymakers have been “duped” into paying up to 10% on every bill or ATM transaction.

So, for the UK as a whole, that adds up to a whopping £380m in currency conversion fees.


FairFX tips to avoiding being ripped off

The premise of DCC appears logical but it results in you paying unnecessary fees and accepting unfavourable exchange rates.

We have some tips to avoid being ripped off on your next holiday:

  1. Choose local currency
  2. If you’re asked what currency you want to pay in, always choose local currency. And the same if you’re using an ATM.

  3. Be vigilant
  4. If you’re billed in pounds, refuse it. Write ‘DCC rejected’ on the receipt and insist on being charged in local currency.

  5. Lock in your exchange rate
  6. Keep control of what you’re spending and lock in great rates on your FairFX Prepaid Currency Card before you go. If you’re using a prepaid currency card loaded with pounds, still always choose to pay in local currency to avoid third party charges and rates.

  7. Sign up to our Rate Alerts
  8. Get a notification every time the rates are in your favour through our email Rate Alerts

  9. Don’t leave changing your travel money until the last minute. Exchange rates at airports can be over 10% more expensive meaning you could lose £100 for every £1,000 you change.


Prepaid. Prepared. Use a FairFX card rather than exchanging money at the airport and you’ll get more to spend on your holiday.

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