Which Currency To Use When Using Cards Abroad

Day 29 of Year 26

One element to travelling that took me some time to understand was how to convert when purchasing with cards while abroad. I want to share what I have learned, so that if you are also buying using cards, you might save yourself couple dollars/euros/zlotys/pounds/gold bars, etc. etc.

The question asked when inserting debt/credit cards is, do you want to purchase in the native currency and have your bank convert after the fact, or purchase with your currency, and have the store convert it immediately into the native.

The store will give you a currency conversion so you are aware what it will be converted at, and then you get to make the call. In Poland, the stores I frequent offer conversions between 2.0-2.4 zl on the euro.

Which is terrible, because my bank will convert it at over 4.

That means on 100 zlotys purchased on card, I would spend either 20-25 euros, or 40-50. That is why it makes sense to be aware of this, it adds up.

In my experience, it is better to have your bank convert it for you, because I think they care a bit more about your business than the kebab shop does.

However, I would recommend going online, or calling your bank, to ask them what they convert at if you plan on travelling.

It all adds up friends. Happy wandering


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