Block 'offer' to use home currency while abroad

(Michael Jenkins) #1

I have just come back from Amsterdam and it seems now that with every card transaction offers the “service” to pay in your home currency. Usually this is at a very poor exchange rate, especially compared with Monzo.

Personally I find this kind of thing irritating and will probably be the next PPI. Which company is doing the conversion, how is competition regulated for the service etc. It’s preying on people not knowing how much their banks will charge. Additionally, I hit the GBP by mistake a few times :confounded:

Is it possible to block this “service” from the Monzo end? I assume Monzo have no control over what currency gets charged, however there must be some kind of data sent to identify the home currency of the card. If this is not available, only the local currency can be charged.

(Marta) #2

I know that it might not be possible, but I’d love this option.

(Rika Raybould) #3

I completely agree with the irritation caused by these “offers” while abroad.

I’m not sure Monzo can do too much about it but it’s certainly something that should be thought about as part of things such as the future in-app travel tips.

If there are any flags that could be set in the card or any conversations that could be had with MasterCard, I would love to see issuers (not just Monzo) start to deal with the problem at that level too.

(Michael Jenkins) #4

In the Revolut videos, its says that their card is seen as a local card, which means that the conversion offer would not be presented.

Maybe someone with an Revolut account can confirm this is the case…

(Rhys Short) #5

When I’ve used my Revolut card aboard I still had the currency conversion offer presented, every single time. I last used it in April last year though so might have changed since.

(Andy) #6

I queried this with my current bank (Citi) due to having a USD and Euro Account as well as sterling, which you can switch to use your debit card against…

The answer i got back was it’s down to the PAN number range (the first 6 digits) which the machines recognise as a non local machine, and then Mastercard or Visa push it back with the Dynamic Conversion rates. The only people who can turn this off is the merchants, as not all merchants will ask if you want to pay in £, $ or €

(Rika Raybould) #7

Some light reading on the subject for the rules and requirements on the merchant side.
Section 3.4 (page 79).

(Oliver Ford) #8

Just ‘non-local’? Or do they get a specific currency out of that?

If the latter, presumably the charge is made in sterling and nothing :monzo: could do to stop it. If the merchant’s asked for sterling, even if :monzo: detected your location there’d be nothing to be done - and that wouldn’t cover online use anyway.

If however there’s some kind of ‘whats-your-currency probe’, it’d be awesome if :monzo: responded with whatever’s machine-local.

(Alex Sherwood) #9

Unfortunately there’s no separate check, the BIN indicates the issuer’s location -

The first section of the Bank Identification Number identifies the location of the bank that issued the card, while the latter portion identifies the specific name of the bank.

Text copied from here.

Unfortunately it’s quite difficult to obtain a license to issue cards in a different country & therefore request a foreign BIN. So even though Monzo probably will issue virtual cards in the future (which could have a different BIN to the physical card that we have at the moment), it would be a lengthy process to make that possible.

FYI I work for a company that issues virtual MasterCard cards & this information’s coming from a colleague.

(Rika Raybould) #10

Some resources for those who wish to play around with and understand issuer identification numbers (or BINs). with their data on GitHub is the best source I know of for casual lookups of IINs. For example, Monzo’s current IIN of 535420 resolves to a UK MasterCard debit with the sub-brand of MasterCard Prepaid. has some lists of IINs from around the world, though the site has some bugs that returns United States for many of the country links.