Westpac Altitude 3.5% Foreign Currency Conversion

Discussion in 'Westpac Altitude Rewards' started by lopes2017, Dec 25, 2008.

  1. lopes2017

    lopes2017 Member

    Dec 20, 2008
    109
    1
    Can some one please confirm this for me.

    It appears that Westpac through their Altitude Plantinum card charge a whopping 3.5% conversion fee for any foreign currency transactions made using the Amex card. See below

    ___________________________________

    Foreign Currency Transaction Fee
    The following foreign transaction fees may be payable:

    1. Westpac charges a fee of 2% of the Australian dollar value of any purchases or cash advances/withdrawals when the applicable credit card scheme converts the transaction from a foreign currency into Australian dollars. This fee is incorporated into the Australian currency equivalent of the transaction shown on your statement.

    2. The applicable credit card scheme may also charge Westpac fees for processing foreign transactions. We pass these fees on to you. The fees vary depending on the applicable credit card scheme:

    • Visa International Service Assessment fee – 1.0%1
    • American Express foreign exchange conversion fee – 1.0% for Altitude & Altitude Gold and 1.5% for all other credit cards (including Altitude Platinum).
    • MasterCard Issuer Cross-Border Assessment3 of 0.8% plus MasterCard Currency Conversion Assessment4 of 0.2
    ___________________________________________

    They state above that the scheme will charge in addition to Westpacs charge of 2% and additional 1.5% which may be passed on to the card holder.

    Is this correct? What is your experience with Westpac ie do they indeed pass on the additional 1.5%?

    At 2% there is a slight loss to the card holder when the rewards program is factored in, with the extra 1.5% the loss is staggering...
     
    Registered Users have the option of removing this and all other advertisementsMore…


  2. lopes2017

    lopes2017 Member

    Dec 20, 2008
    109
    1
    I have just confirmed with Citibank that 3.5% conversion fee is correct.

    Does anyone know any other alternatives other than the wizard credit card that has low to zero conversion fees for credit card purchases.
     
  3. dajop

    dajop Senior Member

    Jul 1, 2002
    7,922
    1,564
    SIN
    Flight Map:
    View my flight map
    In the past, same day, same country, my American Express (held directly with American Express) has had lower fees - by about 0.4% than my Westpac Altitude Gold Amex. Don't have a recent comparison, as since then have not used the Westpac Amex for foreign currency transactions.
     
  4. lopes2017

    lopes2017 Member

    Dec 20, 2008
    109
    1
    Thanks for that. Did check Amex card directly from American Express, the foreign currency conversion fee is 2.5% lower than Westpac but still high.

    However, the new Amex Plantinum cashback card with the 5% cash back for the first $300 and then 1% there after offsets the 2.5% conversion fee!
     
  5. Nigelinoz

    Nigelinoz Established Member

    Dec 14, 2008
    1,919
    158
    Eskdale,Vic.Nr ABX.
    Not sure if this is of much use but as at 01 Dec St George Bank (Now owned by Westpac of course) were charging a FCC fee of 2.5% on it's Visa and Mastercard products and I recently got a brochure in the mail
    from the Greater Building Society (Don't ask me where they are based-maybe Google it) promoting their Visa card with a 2.0% Fee.
    (I doubt if St George will keep the rate at 2.5 now that Westpac own them)
     


  6. lopes2017

    lopes2017 Member

    Dec 20, 2008
    109
    1
    Found a low rate credit card by SCU credit union who only pass on the Visa charge of 1% for currency conversion.

    Must admit I thought threre would be more cards that had 0% like wizards clear advantage....maybe this is nothing more thn wishful thinking!

    Happy to be proven wrong!
     
  7. serfty

    Moderator

    Nov 16, 2004
    36,549
    6,587
    MEL
    Flight Map:
    View my flight map
    Actually Amex is now an effective 3%. I confirmed this with a Recent Amazon purchase by putting it though xe.com's credit card charges calculator: XE - Credit Card Charges Calculator
     
  8. lopes2017

    lopes2017 Member

    Dec 20, 2008
    109
    1
    Thats strange. Checked with amex yesterday and they advised me that their rate is 2.5% across the board for currency conversion.
     
  9. serfty

    Moderator

    Nov 16, 2004
    36,549
    6,587
    MEL
    Flight Map:
    View my flight map
    Their "currency conversion" rate is 2½%, however there are other subtle charges.

    FWIW, the transaction was for USD42.11 dated Dec 25 and charged AUD63.52. This is a variance of 2.989% from "Mid-Market" rates. Note that the AUS/USD exchange rate was very stable that day.
     
  10. lopes2017

    lopes2017 Member

    Dec 20, 2008
    109
    1

    Do you suppose that this is a general issue with most credit card companies?
     
  11. serfty

    Moderator

    Nov 16, 2004
    36,549
    6,587
    MEL
    Flight Map:
    View my flight map
    Yes!

    Of the cards I have used in the last few years, it has been only the Wizard that seems to match the daily prevailing mid market exchange tate.
     
  12. trippin_the_rift

    trippin_the_rift Established Member

    Apr 2, 2006
    3,327
    2,685
    Travel + Data
    Facebook:
    Also keep in mind that bank conversion rates are not XE.com rates -- but at their own, quite poor conversions. This explains the extra ~0.5% difference.

    Effectively the bank makes money twice here, once on the conversion and again on the 2.5% fee.
     
  13. PLANT

    PLANT Established Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    2,569
    312
    Is it better to use Westpac Altitude Visa to purchase goods or PAYPAL conversion rate NOW?
     
  14. wassie

    wassie Junior Member

    Dec 2, 2009
    13
    1
    Hi folks,
    great forum here so time to post.

    I have done this excersize so many times and still cant get a clear answer. I have always found it difficult to get Paypal's exchange rate at the time of purchase, although my experience has been it is generally slightly better than the Altitude cards (or any other c/card).

    But then another consideration is if you are purchasing over the net, especially in an overseas transaction, the c/cards afford you much better protection in the case of a disputed transaction, despite what Paypal advertise (Ebay purchases excepted).

    I never was able to deal with a person by telephone with Paypal and dispute resolution was not always acheived to my satisifaction on several occasions. C/cards have always resolved in my favour over the years, even if it has been a bit drawn out on occasion.
     
  15. spunkarooney

    spunkarooney Member

    Feb 24, 2004
    162
    0
    I never allow PayPal to convert foreign currency transactions into Australia Dollars. PayPal (an eBay company) exists to make money – I don’t like handing over my cash for no reason.

    For all non-Australian Dollar transactions I use my NAB Gold Banking Visa debit card as it doesn’t charge a NAB conversion fee. I have consistently found this to be cheaper.

    You can check FX rates online at sites like www.xe.com I always do this when making purchases in foreign currency.
     

Share This Page