More expensive than Amex

Used the card in Portugal. My friend used his Amex. Even after fees, he got a better rate.

First and last time I will use this card abroad.

Could you please post screenshots of your & your friend’s transactions with the charge in each currency included?

Monzo use the MasterCard exchange rate which is unbeaten, as far as I know so it would be good to look into what’s happened there.

Amex says that they use the Interbank Rate (which should be better than MasterCard’s rate) but they then add a fee of 2.99% on top (& also charge ATM withdrawal fees) so I find it quite hard to believe that your rate was worse to be honest.


I haven’t got access to his statements any more but looking at my own Amex (although teh transaction wasnt on the same day), it does look like the rate is better on Amex but then they put the add-on charge!

Maybe I’ll hang on to the card!!


Ah, maybe that’s the reason - the rates can change quite a lot from day to day! Or this :slight_smile:

If you’re still abroad, it would be great if you could try buying the same thing on both your Amex & Monzo cards - one after the other - to see which rate is better, after the fees :raised_hands:


The Amex rates are available online in your account. I’ve never seen Amex cheaper especially with the fee.

€100 today would be:
£92.20 on a Mastercard with no fee
£95.36 on a BA Amex card including a £2.76 fee


Confused here. So Monzo better after all?

I’m assuming that Chistery’s showing how much a €100 payment would cost in £, depending on which card was used there.

Yes, sorry, I missed off the £!

Fixed it for you now those pesky fees are added in :rofl:


Hi @drdes, are you sure you have been declining Dynamic Currency Conversion when travelling? This could explain exchange rate.

To be fair, this is the great advantage of Amex when travelling - especially to countries like Ireland and Hong Kong that push DCC hard and in often unethical ways - Amex bans DCC. I have an MBNA Everyday Plus (discontinued) and it’s great for situations like this - 0% FTF and no possibility of being hit with DCC.

Downside is the Amex rate is usually worse than the MC rate, plus acceptance issues. The MBNA Everyday Plus has major acceptance problems in some countries because they like to decline magstripe and contactless magstripe mode payments, even when given travel notifications to countries where these are common (like Japan for magstripe and the US for both magstripe and contactless magstripe). Plus the normal Amex acceptance issues in some countries.

To be clear - MBNA declines contactless magstripe virtually 100% of the time, and actual magstripe I’d say maybe 1/4 of the time. Making it not such a good travel card to some countries! And being Amex makes it bad for other countries. But the DCC-proof nature means I’m glad I have it.

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If you’re aware of the DCC trap why is it such a benefit that Amex doesn’t allow it? Is it because you’re worried you might forget and choose Pounds instead of local currency, or are you worried maybe a retailer will just whizz a transaction through as Pounds without you noticing? :confused:

It would be great if Monzo found a way to block DCC but personally I think just knowing about it is the greatest weapon. I will never let them get me!


The latter, especially in countries like Hong Kong where you select on a paper slip and the retailer enters it themselves later, or in countries (Poland is often reported for this) where the retailer can switch to DCC after you enter your PIN.


I’ve been caught out more than once, despite being fully aware. One time the wording of the question caught me in a sleepy moment, another time the merchant ‘thought he was being helpful.’ I persuaded him to reverse the transaction - he looked at me as if I was mad.


I don’t believe this for a minute. They know full well what they’re doing - they get a kickback.


I’ve heard this many times and often wondered how true it is. On the one hand, the kick back must be really small, on the other hand why would they allow it if it annoys customers so much?

Few customers would even notice. If I hadn’t read it on this forum I’d have assumed it made no difference and was even helpful.

The kickback is tiny, at best free processing of DCC transactions, and often not even that much. But the way they see it, they don’t care - if they can DCC you, you aren’t from around there, and therefore won’t come back anyway so fleece you for all they can.

There’s really two good ways to stop this:

  1. Bad reviews on Yelp, Google, etc. These reviews are precious, especially to restaurants. A few bad reviews for DCC will make many restaurants think twice.

  2. Chargebacks. This one can be a pain because most issuers don’t consider it worth their hassle, but forced DCC is a valid chargeback reason under both MasterCard and Visa rules. If you can get a chageback filed against the merchant, this will hurt them badly - it will cost them far more to deal with than the transaction was worth. A few successful DCC chargebacks will also make a shop think twice.

In other words, they’re counting on tourists to forget it and move on. Never. FIGHT IT. Or at least, write bad reviews highlighting the practice. If they overcharged you 3-10% in cash, you’d fight, so why wouldn’t you by card?


Very much agree with this. I do not take kindly to being fobbed off and if this were to occur I would not hesitate to ask for a chargeback…