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The costly money mistake even smart travelers make

paying for fruit
Reuters/Ueslei Marcelino
Choose your currency wisely.
  • Rosie Spinks
By Rosie Spinks

Quartzy Reporter

Published Last updated on This article is more than 2 years old.

It makes sense for most people to use credit cards as much as possible when spending money abroad. You can minimize fees that come from frequent cash withdrawals, feel less concerned about being robbed (as long as you don’t carry all your cards at once), and even collect points and miles for basic spending.

But there is also a potential pitfall: dynamic currency conversion.

You’ve probably come across it in the form of a question in a restaurant or store: Would you like to pay in the local currency or the currency of where your card is from? Whether you’re talking to a person or running your card though a machine, it sounds like a very helpful service, making it easier to calculate the cost of something without having to do math in your head. What they usually don’t mention is that this is a costly service—one that can add as much as an extra drink or two to your restaurant bill.

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