Poor Exchange Rate at Chase

Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills.
Post Reply
User avatar
Topic Author
djpeteski
Posts: 1083
Joined: Fri Mar 31, 2017 9:07 am

Poor Exchange Rate at Chase

Post by djpeteski »

So online it will tell you the best exchange rates can be had at banks ahead of time for foreign currency. That is not the case with my recent experience with Chase.

I sent the wife to Chase to get 1K worth of Cayman Dollars for our upcoming trip. While there were no fees the exchange rate we received was 1.31, the current rate is 1.2 and is stable. Over the last 5 years the highest the rate has been was 1.22. As such we ended up over paying for the money we received by about $88.

I asked if we could undo the transaction and was told "no".

One can do better at the airport kiosks or paying the double exchange rate thing that is common on that island.

That is the merchant charges you in USD giving you a somewhat poor rate, then the bank charges you in Cayman dollars doing the same. Then Visa/Master Card turns it back to USD. Some merchants give you the option to no be charged in the local currency which is the best option as only the CC changes the dollars.
ZinCO
Posts: 369
Joined: Thu Nov 05, 2015 8:42 pm

Re: Poor Exchange Rate at Chase

Post by ZinCO »

I'm not sure where you found that it was best to convert currency at a bank before traveling. I feel like it is well documented that the best options are 1) using a no-foreign-transaction-fee (FTF) credit card to charge in local currency, and 2) using an ATM card with fee-reimbursement at bank ATMs at your destination (again, make sure it's in local currency).
bsteiner
Posts: 9433
Joined: Sat Oct 20, 2012 9:39 pm
Location: NYC/NJ/FL

Re: Poor Exchange Rate at Chase

Post by bsteiner »

Can’t you use credit cards and U.S. dollars where you can’t use credit cards?
MGBMartin
Posts: 1188
Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2021 11:09 am

Re: Poor Exchange Rate at Chase

Post by MGBMartin »

So online it will tell you the best exchange rates can be had at banks ahead of time for foreign currency.

I’d like to see online where you see that.
There are more expensive ways of converting currency but banks are by far not the best.
Even a credit card with a 3% FTF is probably cheaper than bank exchange.
Best is a no fee credit card or no fee Debit/ATM card.
Bad spellers of the world untie | Autocorrect is my worst enema
nalor511
Posts: 5317
Joined: Mon Jul 27, 2015 1:00 am

Re: Poor Exchange Rate at Chase

Post by nalor511 »

If you want cash, get it via ATM at your destination with Fidelity or Schwab ATM card
bbqguru
Posts: 266
Joined: Sat Sep 17, 2011 8:31 pm

Re: Poor Exchange Rate at Chase

Post by bbqguru »

The most favorable rate is going to be on your credit card, assuming you have a card that does not charge a foreign currency conversion fee.

Have the merchant charge your card in the local currency. Your issuer will convert the charge to US Dollars and nothing to worry about on your end.

What you do not want to use is Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC). You should know if you're using it because the charge is entered in the local currency and then the terminal prompts you to select local or USD.

That said, we just left Mexico and many merchants were using a 20 Peso to 1 USD conversion when the actual rate was closer to 17. When that was the case, we simply paid cash or let them charge the card in USD after they did an "in-house" conversion. Many had two processing terminals, one for Pesos and another for USD. When I inquired about the two terminals, it was because they have bank accounts that are denominated in Pesos and USD. That way they can do business easier with merchants who are USD based and not have to worry about conversions.
NYCaviator
Posts: 2171
Joined: Sat Apr 09, 2016 5:06 pm
Location: NYC

Re: Poor Exchange Rate at Chase

Post by NYCaviator »

All banks generally have bad exchange rates, not just Chase. It's not free for them to convert and hang onto foreign currency, and they mark it up to make money and pay for that service. We moved to BOA with the preferred rewards. They offer a 2% discount on the foreign currency markup. Not sure what difference it'll make, but I'm interested to see.

I don't think getting a bit of currency ahead of time is all that bad. My strategy is to have a little bit of cash, but use a card for everything else. If you need more cash? Just pull it from an ATM.

Having a bit of cash in your pocket when you step off the plane, probably exhausted, isn't the worst thing. Then you won't have to stress out about finding an ATM machine.

We travel internationally quite a bit, and I've found myself needing less and less cash each time I go. You'd be amazed at how widely accepted cards are around the world. I went to Argentina and all the travel forums and guides said to bring mounds of cash to convert because you got the best exchange rate and no one took cards. Almost every single merchant took cards, even in tiny remote towns, and the Visa exchange rate was terrific. I never use cash in the US and rarely need it abroad. Just for souvenirs at street vendors.

Ultimately paying $88 isn't the end of the world if it makes your vacation less stressful. Think of all the other overpriced things you spend money on when you're on vacation just for convenience.
User avatar
whodidntante
Posts: 13376
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2016 10:11 pm
Location: outside the echo chamber

Re: Poor Exchange Rate at Chase

Post by whodidntante »

Pre-ordering foreign currency at a bank is one of the most expensive ways to get currency. You'll get a better rate if you go to an ATM in the foreign country but decline DCC, always. If you need a large amount of currency, do a debit card cash advance at a bank.

I will say that I got a surprisingly good exchange rate when depositing foreign currency at Wells Fargo. I had a Premier account, but I'm not sure that matters.
mariezzz
Posts: 1134
Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2017 11:02 pm

Re: Poor Exchange Rate at Chase

Post by mariezzz »

Capital One (online) checking accounts in the past (haven't checked recently) had free withdrawals from non-US ATMs (but you might pay a fee to the ATM - I never did have to pay a fee (I always researched ahead and used an ATM that didn't charge fees), so I'm not sure whether Capital One reimbursed fees other ATMs charged). And Capital One credit cards didn't use to charge a foreign transaction fee (I haven't checked on this for a few years; they still might not charge a fee). Foreign transaction fees can add up really fast.

The exchange rate I got doing ATM withdrawals from the Capital One checking account was excellent. I initially set up this checking account for international travel, because of the no transaction fee policy. You should be able to call them, or look around their website, and see how they determine the exchange rate.

I had alternative options for withdrawing money (but with more fees), plus credit cards, in case there was a glitch with the Capital One ATM card, but it always worked in places I was in Europe.

Be careful when using credit cards in other countries. IIRC, in general you're better off having things charged in the currency of the country you're in, rather than in US dollars. But, check with your credit card company - fees keep changing and vary across cards.
User avatar
Watty
Posts: 29178
Joined: Wed Oct 10, 2007 3:55 pm

Re: Poor Exchange Rate at Chase

Post by Watty »

djpeteski wrote: Tue May 14, 2024 11:16 am I sent the wife to Chase to get 1K worth of Cayman Dollars
....... As such we ended up over paying for the money we received by about $88.
Frankly I'm impressed that they were able to get an obscure currency like that.

Out of curiosity I looked it up and the population of the Cayman Islands is only 69k people.

With the processing involved I would suspect that they actually lost money processing the transaction.
MGBMartin
Posts: 1188
Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2021 11:09 am

Re: Poor Exchange Rate at Chase

Post by MGBMartin »

Watty wrote: Wed May 15, 2024 3:13 am
djpeteski wrote: Tue May 14, 2024 11:16 am I sent the wife to Chase to get 1K worth of Cayman Dollars
....... As such we ended up over paying for the money we received by about $88.
Frankly I'm impressed that they were able to get an obscure currency like that.

Out of curiosity I looked it up and the population of the Cayman Islands is only 69k people.

With the processing involved I would suspect that they actually lost money processing the transaction.
And from what I’ve read, and according to the Cayman Islands Tourist Board, USD are widely accepted by most businesses at the fixed exchange rate; so no need to exchange before traveling.
Bad spellers of the world untie | Autocorrect is my worst enema
Post Reply