Should You Pay in Local or Home Currency When Traveling?

Photo by  Christine Roy  on  Unsplash

Keeping track of your money while traveling can be stressful. Factor in exchange rates, conversion fees, etc. and it’s easy to lose track of how much you really end up spending when traveling, regardless of the destination. Thus, it might be tempting to choose to pay for things in your home currency when given the choice. Here’s a tip: don’t.

What is dynamic currency conversion?

Dynamic currency conversion is when you have an option to choose whether to pay in the local currency or in your home currency. Merchants calculate the exchange rate, which may mean that it’s actually better to pay in the local currency and skip the exchange altogether.

 As The Points Guy explains, “The only real benefit to dynamic currency conversion is that it allows a customer to immediately see how much their transaction will cost in their home currency rather than estimating or trying to do the math on the spot. If you accept that option, however, you’re in for a rude awakening when your credit card bill arrives because these transactions inevitably tack on additional fees.”

Beyond that, there are usually cash withdrawal fees associated with ATM machines, resulting in cash lost from both debit and credit card withdrawals. When possible, especially if you have a card that doesn’t charge international transaction fees, always pay in the local currency.

Bald Nomad sums it up: “Paying in your home currency will result in a, roughly, 3% conversion fee. If you have a card that charges international fees, that could be on top of the conversion fee, or instead of it.”

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