Do I Get a Better Exchange Rate Using Credit Card, Debit Card, or Cash?
This is another question that I read all the time, and surprisingly, have to fight tooth-and-nail to get some people to understand that DEBIT and CREDIT cards will obtain better exchange rates than street exchange booths. Of course, it depends on which cards you choose to carry and what fees those cards will charge you!
I started this website to have a repository for my charge slips and billing statements that provide time-and-time again, that my debit and credit cards outperform cash exchanges. I wanted a place where nay-sayers could find all my documentation to prove my statements.
I live in a foreign country — and I get better-than-street exchange rates 99% of the time! I say 99% of the time, because there have been some strange anomalies over the years where I didn’t beat the local rate. So to be completely fair, I include those unusual situations as part of my documentation.
You will get a better exchange rate using cash machines abroad when you travel with a card that will refund ATM fees.
If you want to see dozens of posts with documentation that show the rates I receive and how those rates compare to street rate, go to the PROOF section.
But for now, here are a few quick comparisons. All documentation is mine – and comes from MY monthly statements.
DEBIT CARD TRANSACTION
This is a screen capture from my checking account and reflects an ATM withdrawal in the Philippines. I withdrew 10,000-pesos and was charged 200-pesos for a total of 10,200-pesos charge to my account. When you divide the $226.97USD I was charged with the 10,200-pesos I received, you will see that the rate of exchange was 44.94! Look again at street rate: it was 44.85.
CREDIT CARD TRANSACTION
The total of my purchase was 1146.60-pesos.
Here is the screenshot of my CREDIT CARD billing statement. The charge at Metro of 1146.60php was converted to $25.51 on my credit card statement. No calculation is necessary, because the exchange rate is clearly shown as part of the transaction!!! I received 44.95!
SO, IN SUMMARY, I beat the street rate with both my credit card and my debit card!
BEST STREET RATE ON THIS DAY: 44.85
My ATM cash withdrawal gave me a rate of: 44.94
My Credit card transaction gave me a rate of 44.95
Check out my proof section for dozens of similar transactions.