Whine Wednesday: Crazy ATM Currency Conversion!


We have warned our readers about Dynamic Currency Conversions (DCC) that are often presented at the credit card reader when the charge currency is different than that of your card (always a bad deal).

We have covered the same issue with the ATMs when you are withdrawing cash, but I just had one quite unbelievable experience last week at the Johannesburg Airport in South Africa.

As I was going to be in South Africa for close to two weeks, I decided to get some cash at the airport. I was looking for an ATM at the arrivals hall and found one from the Bidvest.

Not only is the fee to get cash ridiculous (75/3,000 = 2.5%), but they were also offering to do the conversion of ZAR to USD with an undisclosed markup.

Here’s what posted to my USD account:

The difference in the conversion amount that Bidvest offered ($229.46) and what was posted to my account when I declined it ($209.04) is $20.42. The bank markups the conversion by 9.8%.


Not only is Bidvest here taking 2.5% as a fee for using their ATM but tries undisclosed to charge another 9.8% as a conversion fee, which is misleading and borderline fraud. The correct way would have been for the Bidvest to adequately disclose their ATM FX fee (close to 10%) rather than trying to hide it.

This is a reminder for our readers ALWAYS to decline these conversions and let your bank to do it. My card issuer also reimburses the 75 ZAR fee.

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