As I have written about, rates change throughout the day. The bank (Visa / Mastercard) rate is up-to-the-minute accurate. The exchange booths generally aren’t monitoring the money market as closely.
However, the rate posted on an exchange booth can be substantially different from the rate you obtain when using your card if the rates changed dramatically at market opening. And it can work in your favor or against you.
That is what happen Thursday, August 27, 2015. I used my Schwab card to withdraw cash in the Philippines.
As you can see above, I obtained a rate of 46.62 Peso to the Dollar.
At the booth I normally use, the rate was 46.70 P/$. That means that I didn’t do as well today getting money from the ATM.
But that was only part of the beating! Just down the street, another money exchange booth was paying 46.75 P/$.
Not one of my better days. I received 46.62 p/$ instead of 46.75 p/$. In US Dollars, I lost about $5USD by not obtaining Peso by using cash.
Sometimes it would be better if I didn’t notice the occasional loss.