Credit Cards

Is there a way to prevent foreign atms / merchants to charge Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC) on Canadian credit cards?

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  • Aug 21st, 2021 12:45 pm
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[OP]
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Is there a way to prevent foreign atms / merchants to charge Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC) on Canadian credit cards?

Dynamic currency conversion on Wikipedia

I was charged DCC a couple of times and I am wondering if there is a a way to prevent / block this kind of charges. I am talking about the case when the ATM or the payment terminal does not offer you the option to skip the charge and to have the exchange dome by the issuer bank.

TIA.
Last edited by andrew4321 on Aug 16th, 2021 5:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Feb 28, 2014
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Usually if terminals do DCC, they will offer it with a selection to say no. They'll just charge it in your local currency once you select either "no" or "charge in local currency". Personally, I've never experienced a terminal that automatically defaults to yes and charge someone's card using DCC.

Are you sure you were actually charged under DCC and not the card company converted the amount to CAD once it's been posted on your account?
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Also, consider using an AmEx in local currency (or any AmEx) as AmEx refuses/blocks DCC and only allows charging in original currency so that AmEx can convert currency for you (if applicable).

I currently use my AmEx Cash Magnet on eBay for USD purchases so I never have to manually disable DCC. Just saves a bit of time.
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andrew4321 wrote: Dynamic currency conversion on Wikipedia

I was charged DCC a couple of times and I am wondering if there is a a way to prevent / block this kind of charges. I am talking about the case when the ATM or the payment terminal does not offer you the option to skip the charge and to have the exchange dome by the issuer bank.

TIA.
I was in Las Vegas in a souvenir store and used my Canadian credit card (before getting a US dollar credit card) and this merchant automatically charged it based on DCC. When I took out my Canadian credit card, the merchant showed me a piece of paper and briefly explained to me that I wouldn't be charged based on my credit card conversion charge. This happened awhile ago (maybe 5 years ago) and I don't remember exactly how much the merchant explained it beyond them stating that the charge wouldn't be converted by my credit card (or something similar). I then took out some US currency and just paid for the item with cash.
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deltatux wrote: Usually if terminals do DCC, they will offer it with a selection to say no. They'll just charge it in your local currency once you select either "no" or "charge in local currency". Personally, I've never experienced a terminal that automatically defaults to yes and charge someone's card using DCC.

Are you sure you were actually charged under DCC and not the card company converted the amount to CAD once it's been posted on your account?
Forced DCC, though illegal in most countries, does happen, especially in touristy places. For example in Spanish tourist traps, some restaurant waiters will opt in to DCC before handing the terminal to the customer. So always pay attention to the currency displayed. If not the local currency, refuse to pay until given the option of paying in local currency.

Also I've seen ATMs that purposely formulate the DCC question in such a confusing way that the average tourist most likely chooses the wrong answer. So always count to 3 and think before choosing.

OP, there is no single foolproof solution. As mentioned, an Amex with no currency conversion fee (Scotia Gold is your only option in Canada) is your best bet for purchases (but don't use that at ATMs). With many (but not all) payment terminals, paying contactless also avoids the DCC. Other than that, don't let anyone rush you and always pay attention to what it displayed on the terminal / ATM screen.

Again this problem mostly occurs in tourist traps so avoiding those in the first place is a good strategy as well Smiling Face With Sunglasses
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Feb 28, 2014
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rhw123 wrote: Forced DCC, though illegal in most countries, does happen, especially in touristy places. For example in Spanish tourist traps, some restaurant waiters will opt in to DCC before handing the terminal to the customer. So always pay attention to the currency displayed. If not the local currency, refuse to pay until given the option of paying in local currency.

Also I've seen ATMs that purposely formulate the DCC question in such a confusing way that the average tourist most likely chooses the wrong answer. So always count to 3 and think before choosing.

OP, there is no single foolproof solution. As mentioned, an Amex with no currency conversion fee (Scotia Gold is your only option in Canada) is your best bet for purchases (but don't use that at ATMs). With many (but not all) payment terminals, paying contactless also avoids the DCC. Other than that, don't let anyone rush you and always pay attention to what it displayed on the terminal / ATM screen.

Again this problem mostly occurs in tourist traps so avoiding those in the first place is a good strategy as well Smiling Face With Sunglasses
Ah, good to know, I've been to some tourist traps while travelling before and was never forced. Thanks for the head's up.
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titaniumtux wrote: Also, consider using an AmEx in local currency (or any AmEx) as AmEx refuses/blocks DCC and only allows charging in original currency so that AmEx can convert currency for you (if applicable).

I currently use my AmEx Cash Magnet on eBay for USD purchases so I never have to manually disable DCC. Just saves a bit of time.
^^ Protip! Came to post the same.

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