#CurveMoments - Robert
In the first instalment of our #CurveMoments series, we caught up with Curve user Rob to hear how Curve saved him £30 on a single transaction whilst on his travels abroad!
As editor of Head for Points (www.headforpoints.com), the UK’s biggest website for collectors of frequent flyer miles, I am constantly telling readers about exciting new reward based credit cards that will help them earn miles and points from their everyday spending.
When travelling, however, there is a problem. 99% of rewards credit cards carry a 3% foreign exchange fee which is added to everything you buy outside the UK. As the rewards you earn are NEVER worth as much as 3% of the amount you are spending, it is a mistake to use such cards when travelling.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC) is the answer. It isn’t.
DCC is when a hotel or store abroad gives you the option of paying in Sterling instead of the local currency. This is very, very rarely a good deal.
I was in the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in Ras al-Khaimah recently. It is a very impressive hotel but, at check-out, I experienced the worst Dynamic Currency Conversion that I have come across.
Hotels like to give you option to pay ‘in your home currency’ via DCC because they use an exchange rate far worse than the one your credit card company uses. The total cost will be almost always be higher than if you paid in local currency and then paid the 3% FX fee on your credit card.
Under MasterCard and Visa rules, you MUST be offered the choice of paying in local currency when a merchant offers Dynamic Currency Conversion. Some hotels will ‘try it on’, however, and give you a card machine which displays a Sterling figure. You need to reject this and insist you are charged in local currency.
I was given the card machine and the amount showing was in Dirham. I entered my PIN. The screen then flashed up ‘£ XXX.XX charged’ as it processed the transaction – in Sterling.
This was clear theft. What was even more shocking is that the payment slip that came out of the machine showed the total in Dirham and only in small print did it say that I had actually paid in Pounds.
I immediately told the hotel to reverse the transaction. It turned out that this particular card machine had been especially programmed to do this and could not work in any other way, so a different card reader had to be found.
Using his Curve card, Rob was able to avoid a high charge, saving money in his #CurveMoment
Using the 2nd machine, I was given the option of paying in Pounds or Dirham. I chose Dirham and charged it to my Curve MasterCard which has a 1% FX fee. Curve then recharged the transaction to my Hilton HHonors MasterCard, allowing me to earn additional Hilton points.
Because you see instantly the value of Curve transactions on your smartphone, I could see within seconds that I had saved £30.36 compared to the first transaction. This was 4% of the total bill meaning that the hotel had charged me 5% for the ‘privilege’ of ‘paying in my home currency’. You should ALWAYS reject the option to pay in £ when overseas, even if your credit card has a 3% FX fee – you will still be better off. A far better deal is to pay in local currency with your Curve card and recharge the transaction to a rewards earning Visa or MasterCard. You reduce the fee to 1% and you still earn your miles and points.
Visit headforpoints for more daily articles on earning and spending Avios points, other airline miles and hotel loyalty points.
Frequent flier and well-travelled money manager? Curve helps you get more from your money, at home or abroad.
Curve is a card and app that combines all your existing bank cards into just one Curve MasterCard, unlocking benefits such as: saving money abroad with super low foreign exchange fees, keeping on top of your spending on-the-go with instant notifications, and managing your spending in the app with receipt and expense management tools - all in one place. Get Curve today on Android or iOS.