Should I pay in local currency or pounds (GBP) when I use Monzo abroad?

Dynamic currency conversion means paying in pounds when you’re abroad usually costs much more


Reminded me of this amazing post from @Avishai :grin:

Nice one @bea :sunglasses::money_with_wings::palm_tree:



1 Like

TL;DR Always pay in the local currency


Good monzo​:slightly_smiling_face::hugs:

Not sure if you all noticed, but the blog-post has been edited and we now have a notification when you fall for Dynamic Currency Conversion. That was a little side-project of mine :raised_hands:

Thoughts? How do you find the wording on it?

Fun fact, I gathered some data and more than half of ATMs in Greece, Portugal and Sweden go through Dynamic Currency Conversion! ie. the customer is “borderline-scammed” into a poor exchange rate


Wow, that’s kind of shocking. Hopefully the work you’ve done will help customers who have been ‘tricked’ by this immediately raise a support call and get some help. Seems to me like your little side-project is one that will be missed by most customers, but those who see it will find it incredibly useful. Great work! :smile:

1 Like

That’s not really what we want… in fact the opposite. We don’t want customers contacting Monzo “unnecessarily”, taking up time from more urgent queries. In this case the flow should be all “self-service”.

The customer will be given the notification and when they click on the transaction they will be given more information (which takes them back to this blog-post)


Our measure of success for this will be seeing a sharp decrease in the number of DCC transactions, as customers become more aware


That’s very informative and a great way to educate people - great work!

Appreciate the point about the intention for the flow being self-service.

My question at this point would be, if the customer believes they paid in Euro and the system tricked them in to paying otherwise, how would they contest this other than by raising a support call? Is there a self-service flow for this?

Edit (for sake of clarity): my initial question came from an understanding of this sort of discrepency happening because the customer has been bamboozled into going down the DCC route rather than actively choosing to, hence the question about contacting support (as opposed to modifying behaviour to make the right choice next time).


I see… that’s a good question. The customer should really be given the choice. If they are not, you are right, they could contact support to dispute the transaction.


What would happen in that case? If I make a foreign transaction, am not given the currency option, and dispute it?

Would that result in the vendor resubmitting In local currency?

I take it the system doesn’t “know” if the currency choice has been presented? Just the final currency applied?

A dispute means asking for all of or a partial amount of money back (via a bit or arbitration - as opposed to you going up to a shop and asking them in person).

I don’t know the exact rules in this case and to be honest, it sounds too specific to have its own rule. It will probably fall under a more generic case of a customer proving they were “unaware of additional charges”, which is a valid dispute reason.


And supposedly disputing a partial amount - being the additional costs the customer paid for being charged DCC without being given an option

This brings to mind some previous experiences I had traveling in China, where HSBC merchant terminals were infamous for being difficult at best to “choose” local currency on (you had to press “cancel” just as it started dialing in to HSBC, at which point it would error out and then give you the ability to choose “DCC opt-out”, otherwise if you let it go all the way through it would go from “rate enquiry” to “processing” to printing the slip with your home currency pre-selected). Bank of China was just as bad- you had to process with DCC first, then go into the day-end settlement menu, select “DCC opt out”, and type in the trace number from the card slip, at which point it would process as local currency.


I travelled to Greece earlier this year (good old days when travel was a thing) and the ATMs pretty much beg you to pay in pounds. If you just want to pay in euro you have to opt out by clicking lots of additional buttons and going through threatening warning pages


Thankfully, in Canada the ATMs instead seem to rather you choose local currency. They’re upfront about the choice with relatively neutral language:

And it’s choosing DCC that brings up an extra “are you sure” screen:

While choosing local currency moves you straight to dispensing the money and asking if you want a receipt.

Turns out to be an 11 cent difference.

However, the detailed prompt with more information didn’t appear for me. Is it because it was an ATM withdrawal, or because I have a US account, or something else entirely?

1 Like

This is good, could it be more proactive by sending a notification when the app detects it’s overseas? “Looks like you’re abroad, if you use your card, pay in local currency it’ll be cheaper.”

Isn’t what you’re asking for this?

This is great though, but I wonder how well it works with companies like Ryanair who make it incredibly difficult to pay in the local currency if you buy a flight starting abroad from their UK site?