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Foreign currency conversion

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daYZman

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Apr 16, 2007
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Hi,

Does anyone know how much Citibank or Visa charges for transactions in foreign currencies? Recently, I bought a phone in HK for HKD$1930 and the amount Citibank billed me for is AUD311.23. Based on these amounts, the exchange rate would be 1AUD:6.2HKD. The official rate from Yahoo on the billing day was around 1AUD:6.43HKD. So, that comes down to around 3.5% of surcharge - that's heaps compared to the ~1% surcharge for notes charged by banks!

Michael
 

vilemerchant

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May 8, 2007
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That's a hell of a vig. I'd definitely avoid buying any big ticket items in a foreign currency if this is the case.
 
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JohnK

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I know Amex charges 2.5% foreign currency conversion. I only use Amex for overseas purchases as I fully trust the exchange rate they will use.

I think Citibank charges 2.5% but Mastercard and Visa add on their own 1% charge. I recently withdrew money from Thailand using a CBA Mastercard, CBA Visa and Citibank ready credit at the same time and all 3 used worse exchange rates than Amex at the time. Out of those three Citibank ready credit was better than Visa which was better than Mastercard. Another inconsistency is when they process the transaction. With Citibank and Visa it was within a day or so of the withdrawal but Mastercard was a few days later.
 

straitman

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vilemerchant said:
That's a hell of a vig. I'd definitely avoid buying any big ticket items in a foreign currency if this is the case.
I believe that you'll find most banks hit you up this way these days. CBA has a similar fee for their CC transactions though I don't recall the percentage amount.
 

littl_flier

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straitman said:
I believe that you'll find most banks hit you up this way these days. CBA has a similar fee for their CC transactions though I don't recall the percentage amount.
Interesting, my old man bought my Mum a ring when we were in Thailand in April. The going exchange rate was about 27.5 but when it came through on Dad's CBA mastercard, it was at an exchange rate of 28.6. :p I always use CC's when overseas and avoid withdrawing cash and have alway got extremely good rates- AMEX and Mastercard. At Christmas I was getting over 0.405 for pounds and the cash rate in the bank was 0.407. I don't mind paying 0.405 for peace of mind. Switzerland was a different story though and I got ripped off big time there. Perhaps daYZman you were just having a bad day, or Citibank take a fair piece of the pie. :shock:
 

JohnK

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littl_flier said:
Interesting, my old man bought my Mum a ring when we were in Thailand in April. The going exchange rate was about 27.5 but when it came through on Dad's CBA mastercard, it was at an exchange rate of 28.6. :p
Looking at Thai baht exchange rates is not a good example since late last year/early this year the interim government implemented an "off shore" exchange rate and an "on shore" exchange rate. What you see on most websites is the "off shore" exchange rate which is around 2-3 baht lower than the "on shore" exchange rate. Be very careful which Thai bank processes the transaction as transactions through certain banks, Kasikorn is one example, come through at the lower "off shore" exchange rate.
 

littl_flier

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JohnK said:
Looking at Thai baht exchange rates is not a good example since late last year/early this year the interim government implemented an "off shore" exchange rate and an "on shore" exchange rate. What you see on most websites is the "off shore" exchange rate which is around 2-3 baht lower than the "on shore" exchange rate. Be very careful which Thai bank processes the transaction as transactions through certain banks, Kasikorn is one example, come through at the lower "off shore" exchange rate.
How incredibly sneaky of them. :shock: We did notice that all the currency booths in Thailand were offering around 29 baht if you exchanged AUD in places like the MBK centre, yet here the cash rate from the Big 4 banks (always lower than the wholesale rate) was 24.5 baht. I guess the msg here is make sure you get your Thai Baht in Thailand.

Thanks JohnK, I must remember this for future. :)
 

JohnK

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littl_flier said:
We did notice that all the currency booths in Thailand were offering around 29 baht if you exchanged AUD in places like the MBK centre, yet here the cash rate from the Big 4 banks (always lower than the wholesale rate) was 24.5 baht.
When I left in mid/late April the cash exchange booths were offering around 28.5-28.7 baht/A$ whilst the "off shore" rate was around 27 baht.

littl_flier said:
I guess the msg here is make sure you get your Thai Baht in Thailand.
I have found this to be the case in SE Asia, especially Thailand.

Now if only Europe was as clear cut. :rolleyes:
 

NM

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Chicken said:
Citibank increased foreign currency commission to total 3.3% for Visa and 3.4% for MasterCard
Which is why I never took up there persistent offer to have my ReadyCredit card linked to Visa.
 

coco50

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Here is a line from my Citibank Visa account from June 5 last year:

Foreign Amount US Dollar 52.00 Amount in AUD 63.89
 

coco50

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Amex actually states the commission on its statements. Her's one from K&L Wine merchants of LA for June 10 last year(well I was visiting my son and its was a long time between drinks):

US Dollar 91.94 AUD 112.34 includes conversion commission of AUD 2.74
 
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