PayPal forcing Dynamic Currency Conversion

I made a USD purchase via PayPal, and there was no option to choose to pay in local currency. I complained to PayPal and this was their reply:

I’m not 100% sure what your question is? Were you expecting to have the option to pay in local currency? I’m not sure why PayPal would offer that?

PayPal allows you to either use them to convert (bad exchange rate) or allow your bank to do it. Obviously, with Monzo its cheaper than using PayPal’s conversion.

I wonder if they have now removed this option in order to gain more money. I now can’t find the hard option for it in the PayPal account settings.

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and people ask me why I don’t trust paypal and wont touch them.

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Hi Rob, no the opposite. Some merchants that operate in foreign currencies offer a thing called Dynamic Currency Conversion, where they do the exchange themselves, charge you a fee (and usually a bad exchange rate) and then debit your card in GBP.

According to MasterCard rules, this has to be optional. And with PayPal it always has been. There’s a button at the last step where you can choose USD (or whatever currency) or GBP.

However, this time there was no option and they’re saying the currency conversion is part of the “system guidelines.” So I’m not sure what’s changed at PayPal, but it’s against the Mastercard rules:

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If PayPal are sticking fast, perhaps a complaint to Mastercard (either directly or through Monzo?) would be in order? PayPal fees are usually pretty extortionate, so being forced to use their rip-off currency conversion sucks.

Complained both ways. PayPal insisted they were right, but eventually gave me a £5 voucher to spend on my next purchase. I think that’ll be my last purchase with PayPal to be honest.

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Have you heard back from Mastercard? I imagine since this is such a huge company disregarding Mastercard rules, they’d get straight on the case.

I wouldn’t use PayPal but their purchase protection is pretty good reassurance when ordering something from AliExpress etc.

I’m not sure how they would be disregarding the rules. I’m sure there will be a loophole that PayPal are acting as an intermediary and are therefore exempt. They are rich enough to have decent lawyers to check these things out.

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And/or to call the decent lawyers after breaking the rules :woman_shrugging:t2:

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I wonder how this works. Can PayPal ‘see’ the currency behind the card (so a TransferWise or Revolut USD-denominated sub-account would go through fine) or does PayPal just see a UK BIN within the long card number and therefore assume it’s a GBP card and force the DCC?

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According to the following you should have had an option…

https://www.paypal.com/uk/smarthelp/article/FAQ1830

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Yep, I know. They insisted that I shouldn’t have the option though.

They told me I had a GBP card, so I assume they have a way of finding out.

Did you use a debit card or credit card as the underlying payment method?
I wonder if the article I linked to is specific to credit cards

Debit card

Do you have a credit card attached to you PayPal account you could try on the same site to see if the currency handling choice becomes available (but without going through with the purchase)?

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Very much agree.

I’ve got an open case with the financial ombudsman regarding this as they cost me 400 USD in transaction fees (200 for the original transaction, another 200 when reversing it as per their instruction).

They have no formal complaints team you can speak to even after they’ve admitted fault. It’s like going in circles it’s very frustrating. Happened to me in January last year so it’s not great.

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I’ve had issues with this - in particular, where the merchant (CloudFlare in my case) sets up a continuous payment authority, it is not possible to opt out of DCC.

It’s unfair and frankly a deceptive business practice.

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What was the card you used?