How a Car Hire Firms Currency Con can increase your bill by 6%

Don't accept a poor deal on currency rates at the car hire desk

Mark's Top Tip

Get yourself a Credit Card that doesn't levy charges for use abroad, and then use the local currency to pay. Its always cheaper.

Credit Card Currency Con on Car Hire

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Car Hire Firms have cottoned onto the Credit Card Currency Scam to squeeze extra pounds from car hirers - make sure you don't get caught!

Don't get caught with a poor currency deal on your car hire

In the past couple of years an increasing number of car hire firms are using what is called 'Dynamic Currency Conversion' (DCC) to inflate their profit margins.

This system allows the car hire firm to offer you the option of paying in local currency or in pounds. However if you decide to pay in Sterling you are leaving it up to the car hire firm to determine the currency conversion rate they use.

Using the example of the left the exchange rate Hertz / Thrifty would have used on Thursday 8th January 2015 was £0.6867564 to one Swiss Franc. The rate offered by Mastercard on the same day was £0.647521. That's a difference of 6% - or £15 on a £250 car hire bill!

Whilst car hire firms should offer you the choice do check that it's not been automatically selected for you. Last Summer I was presented with a bill by a Spanish firm where they had already decided I would pay in pounds, and without me reading the credit card slip I would have ended up out of pocket.

The 6% fee in the example here goes straight to the rental firm, so it is clearly to their benefit if they can slip it through onto unsuspecting customers.

Do be aware both when you collect the car and are asked to sign the pre authorisation or when you return the car and sign off the car rental return docket to make sure they charge their plastic in the local currency.

The best cards to use are those who do not charge you a levy for using your card abroad, for more information read this article on good credit cards to use abroad.

Any questions? Why not 'Ask Mark'?

This content was last reviewed on 12/01/2015