Good idea to pay in local currency versus dollars

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There was a comment in the June 2018 issue from someone who got stung by paying in dollars as opposed to euros, and being stung by a double currency conversion charge. (See P.48 of the print issue.) This is old news but it bears reminding people that you should pay in the local currency when using a credit card. Our experience has been that we have been asked if we wanted to pay in euros (or whatever the currency is) or dollars. This poster paid 4% more on one charge and 3% more on a second. His warning was if you have a credit card that doesn't charge a conversion charge, pay in the local currency. This is what we have done for MANY years.

A worthwhile reminder, indeed. By mistake my wife told the server at the Zurich airport to pay in dollars instead of Euros. Yes, it cost more than if we had paid in Euros because our card does not charge exchange fees. Thanks for reinforcing this.

That advice needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Depending on HOW you pay, paying in the local currency may not necessarily be the best idea. If you pay be credit card, I second the advice to use a card with no foreign transaction fee and pay in the. local currency. Your bank will convert to dollars for your next statement, at the rate in effect at that time. There is no commission for the transaction as there would be if you actually changed the physical currency from dollars to local currency and paid in cash.

But does that mean paying in the local currency in cash is necessarily bad? Or even paying in dollars as cash is similarly bad? Not necessarily so. Frequently, we have found that we can often "negotiate" a far better price if we pay in cash, and if that cash is dollars. That's not always possible, but when it is, you do indeed save money. So, we carry credit cards as well as cashing the local currency as well as cash in dollars, and we use the one which gets us the best deal.