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Irish people warned they are being 'ripped off' by ATMs in foreign countries

People are advised not to withdraw money in their own currency rate as it is more expensive.

Image: Dragana Gordic/Shutterstock

IRISH PEOPLE WHO take out money from cash dispensers in foreign countries are being “ripped off” according MEP Brian Hayes.

Hayes has highlighted the lack of awareness of ‘dynamic currency conversion’ (DCC) – the practice of paying in one’s own home currency – and said Irish people who do not know this is the more expensive option are losing out.

“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.”

If a person pays in their own currency, an exchange rate is applied that is almost always worse than standard 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,” Hayes said.

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.

Hayes said early this year the regulation of cross-boarder payment fees will be under review in the European Parliament. He said he will be arguing for more stringent regulation of these practices to ensure travellers to the European Union are getting a fair deal.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

Read: How a Cork peninsula with poor access and scant facilities plans to win more tourists>

Read: ‘A backwards step’: The Irish language option is no longer available on new Bank of Ireland ATMs>

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