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Old 16.01.2013, 15:44
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Which currency to use for Credit Card when away from CH?

When using a CH issued credit card abroad, I am often asked this question "would you like us to charge your card in Swiss Francs or in the local currency?", I say CHF but I really dont know if one is better than the other. Can someone shed some light on the correct choice here and why?
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Old 16.01.2013, 15:47
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Re: Which currency to use for Credit Card when away from CH?

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When using a CH issued credit card abroad, I am often asked this question "would you like us to charge your card in Swiss Francs or in the local currency?", I say CHF but I really dont know if one is better than the other. Can someone shed some light on the correct choice here and why?
EF or Google?
EF or Google?
EF

No Google - first related link (3rd on list)
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Old 16.01.2013, 15:50
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Re: Which currency to use for Credit Card when away from CH?

The other one is better. This may depend on the % charge for foreign currency transactions by the issuer but *usually* you will end up worse off than the merchant unless you take lolcal currency.
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Old 16.01.2013, 15:54
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Re: Which currency to use for Credit Card when away from CH?

humm somehow that google answer doesn't have that feisty EF tone we so enjoy...

Good question by the way, I often wondered, just assuming the local bank wanted to get the commission: I use Maestro and I always say CHF.

Or I confuse the machine by trying to enter my pin... (right after having tried the same for the tip)
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Old 16.01.2013, 15:54
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Re: Which currency to use for Credit Card when away from CH?

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When using a CH issued credit card abroad, I am often asked this question "would you like us to charge your card in Swiss Francs or in the local currency?", I say CHF but I really dont know if one is better than the other. Can someone shed some light on the correct choice here and why?
The simple answer is simple - if it's a foreign currency transaction on a Swiss Franc credit card account there will be a charge, sometimes as much as 2.5%, for the conversion, so by making the payment in chf you're saving this charge.

There are exceptions - I recently switched to a PostFinance Visa card with a low, 0.9%, foreign currency charge, and a cash-back set at 1.25% for the first year, so even using it in Euros for my daily shopping I make more than the charge. After 12 months the cashback reverts to 0.75%, but the resulting .15% charge is still not really significant.
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Old 16.01.2013, 15:58
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Re: Which currency to use for Credit Card when away from CH?

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When using a CH issued credit card abroad, I am often asked this question "would you like us to charge your card in Swiss Francs or in the local currency?", I say CHF but I really dont know if one is better than the other. Can someone shed some light on the correct choice here and why?

Always ask for the local currency, especially if your card is Swiss-based.

I have several CHF and EUR denominated credit cards and whenever I go to Eurozone, I always use the latter. In North America, I use my US-based credit cards, mostly my Discover card.
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Old 16.01.2013, 16:03
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Re: Which currency to use for Credit Card when away from CH?

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Always ask for the local currency, especially if your card is Swiss-based.

I have several CHF and EUR denominated credit cards and whenever I go to Eurozone, I always use the latter. In North America, I use my US-based credit cards, mostly my Discover card.
You didn't read the wikipedia article did you?

The OP is talking about a CHF denominated credit card - and questioning whether to choose payment in local currency or the card's currency.
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Old 16.01.2013, 16:10
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Re: Which currency to use for Credit Card when away from CH?

There is always a conversion charge/fee of some sort, either your bank does the conversion or the merchant's bank does it.

I know my bank has low fees and a good exchange rate. I have no idea if what their banks rates are.

So I always choose the local currency that way it's my bank that does the conversion.
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Old 16.01.2013, 16:18
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Re: Which currency to use for Credit Card when away from CH?

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There is always a conversion charge/fee of some sort, either your bank does the conversion or the merchant's bank does it.

I know my bank has low fees and a good exchange rate. I have no idea if what their banks rates are.

So I always choose the local currency that way it's my bank that does the conversion.
And adds on an additional charge. Whether the merchant and/or their bank is ripping you of with a punitive exchange rate needs to be compared with the charge your own bank is making for the conversion. In some cases, certainly with my previous card at a 2.5% surcharge, you may still be better off paying in the card's currency if it's available.
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Old 16.01.2013, 16:24
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Re: Which currency to use for Credit Card when away from CH?

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You didn't read the wikipedia article did you?

The OP is talking about a CHF denominated credit card - and questioning whether to choose payment in local currency or the card's currency.

Re-read my post. My answer to the OP was "Always ask for the local currency, especially if your card is Swiss-based"

Meaning that if the OP is let's say in Poland and buys for 150 PLN of goods and the store ask him to choose between Zloty and Francs. If he chose the latter, the store may charge him 47 CHF on his card whereas if he chose local currency (in this case PLN), most likely the exchange rate (incl any intl transaction fees) by his credit card issuing institution will be better, and be charged 45 CHF after conversion...




No need for me to read the Wikipedia article.
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Old 16.01.2013, 16:30
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Re: Which currency to use for Credit Card when away from CH?

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There is always a conversion charge/fee of some sort, either your bank does the conversion or the merchant's bank does it.

I know my bank has low fees and a good exchange rate. I have no idea if what their banks rates are.

So I always choose the local currency that way it's my bank that does the conversion.
Exactly, never choose the merchant's exchange rate... This is what I wrote in my very first sentense, somehow dodgyken got confused by the rest of my post...
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Old 16.01.2013, 16:41
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Re: Which currency to use for Credit Card when away from CH?

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No need for me to read the Wikipedia article.
Arrogant little thing, aintcha?

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Exactly, never choose the merchant's exchange rate... This is what I wrote in my very first sentense, somehow dodgyken got confused by the rest of my post...
I don't think he did. It's just that your 'never' is very poor advice. Sometimes it may be better, sometimes worse.
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Old 16.01.2013, 16:48
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Re: Which currency to use for Credit Card when away from CH?

99% of the time, you're much better off letting VISA or Mastercard do the currency conversion for you.

You're meant to be given a choice but many consumer type programs/reports in the UK have mentioned that places often try to rip you off by selecting the choice (and they always pick "card currency") for you.

In many Asian countries, you get a receipt with both values and have to circle the one you want. Apart from China, where their banks conspire against you and always try to charge in your local currency, with about 5% charge in the exchange rate, which itself is bad. There's a very long thread on flyertalk forums about this.

Last time I was in Beijing I paid my Swissotel (see? there *is* relevance :-) ) stay on my visa card. Their card reader had no option to take the money in RMB so I had no choice but to pay in CHF. When I got home I emailed the manager and had them reverse the CHF charges and rebill me in local (RMB) currency. I saved about 4% overall. Which is not huge, but worthwhile.
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Old 16.01.2013, 16:54
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Re: Which currency to use for Credit Card when away from CH?

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humm somehow that google answer doesn't have that feisty EF tone we so enjoy...

Good question by the way, I often wondered, just assuming the local bank wanted to get the commission: I use Maestro and I always say CHF.

Or I confuse the machine by trying to enter my pin... (right after having tried the same for the tip)
I got confused , I meant local currency!

I wish I could edit my posts...
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Old 18.01.2013, 11:33
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Re: Which currency to use for Credit Card when away from CH?

Thanks guys.
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Old 18.01.2013, 14:10
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Re: Which currency to use for Credit Card when away from CH?

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When using a CH issued credit card abroad, I am often asked this question "would you like us to charge your card in Swiss Francs or in the local currency?", I say CHF but I really dont know if one is better than the other. Can someone shed some light on the correct choice here and why?
Best is you check with your credit card company on their policy regarding the fees, but Usually it is best to always charge in the local currency --your bank would (at least in theory) give you a better rate on the conversion.
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Old 18.01.2013, 14:18
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Re: Which currency to use for Credit Card when away from CH?

I suppose there's an advantage to knowing exactly what the charge will be, but local is usually best.
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Old 18.01.2013, 15:06
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Re: Which currency to use for Credit Card when away from CH?

I use the SBB visa card and received a leaflet from them once explicitly stating to choose the local currency as the visa company uses the inter bank currency rate
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Old 20.01.2013, 20:42
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Re: Which currency to use for Credit Card when away from CH?

DCC (Dynamic Currency Conversion) is the name of this scam (offering to debit your credit card in your home currency), because scam it is. The only ones to win are the merchant (which is why he/she offers it to you) and his/her bank.
Always pay in the local currency and if they don't offer the choice, just refuse to sign the slip.
After all Swiss Francs aren't legal tender outside Switzerland!
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Old 20.01.2013, 20:46
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Re: Which currency to use for Credit Card when away from CH?

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DCC (Dynamic Currency Conversion) is the name of this scam (offering to debit your credit card in your home currency), because scam it is. The only ones to win are the merchant (which is why he/she offers it to you) and his/her bank.
Always pay in the local currency and if they don't offer the choice, just refuse to sign the slip.
After all Swiss Francs aren't legal tender outside Switzerland!
Had this a few times and usually found after doing the coversion that the diffrence is peanuts as it comes almost identical either way
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