Avoiding DCC (at least in Europe)

I’m interested to understand what accounts / card do not trigger DCC (Dynamic Currency Conversion), at least at merchants in Europe. My understanding, which is from a bystander point of view (and may, of course, be incorrect):

  • Mastercard banned DCC on prepaid travel cards in April 2019.
  • Very few cards meet that precise criteria, where the currency must be pre-loaded onto the card - for example, as Revolut offers dynamic currency conversion, I understand you will still get DCC on a Revolut card (and many other currency cards), as they aren’t truly prepaid travel cards (although the Mastercard website is very bad at providing any details of what cards are actually covered by their DCC ban)
  • Some merchants across Europe seem to trigger DCC based on a non-EU country code of the card number, so even a UK EUR cards (especially post-Brexit) may still trigger DCC, even if the transaction should occur wholly in EUR.
  • When the announcements were made two years ago, the main examples quoted were FairFX and Caxton and WeSwap, but I note that even today FairFX still warn about DCC on their website
  • A European country code EUR card should not invoke DCC within Europe, but post-Brexit, most won’t provide such an account to a UK customer.
  • Some European ATMs charge a transaction fee on non-European cards, irrespective of DCC, and the only way to avoid this is to present a European card rather than a non-European one (a separate, but related cost of travel)
  • Some merchants / POS machines, allow the currency to be selected post transaction authentication, meaning you can be susceptible to DCC even if you saw the transaction amount in Euros (based on reading various forums, rather than direct experience here). Contactless should not have DCC applied however (although Contactless+PIN may then offer DCC after PIN entry **), making it even more important to be vigilant and not immediately give the terminal back.

On that last point, since Brexit some of the options are no longer available to new customers; N26, Bunq (currently closed to new UK accounts, although still working for existing accounts), and KBC (the three that were often discussed at FTT) aren’t available, but may avoid DCC; eg Bunq issued cards with an NL country code in Euros, so DCC is likely not to be offered at least when paying across Europe (brings back memories of a situation with a Dutch colleague paying a hotel bill in Switzerland, and them getting stung by the DCC rate).

Generally I’ve managed to avoid getting caught by DCC charges by insisting on paying in Euros (and trying to hold onto the terminal straight after PIN entry), but I want to understand what techniques / solutions / accounts offer the greatest protection.

So, what options are there left:

  • Are there any UK institutions with accounts / cards (open to new customers) that explicitly avoid DCC across Europe?
  • Are there any European institutions with accounts / cards (open to new UK customers) that explicitly avoid DCC?
  • How does everyone else avoid DCC?

(I suspect the limiting factor on the second question is “open to new UK customers” rather than whether European EUR accounts are subject to DCC in Europe.)

** Source here from WeSwap’s blog that Contactless+PIN is “likely” to incur DCC, and who said (written in Dec 2019) that their multi-currency card was included in the DCC ban. They also mentioned the DCC ban for prepaid cards would become mandatory from April 2020. Also here from Curve community mentioning Apple Pay contactless can result in DCC.


Interestingly, the Mastercard website now shows Revolut alongside FairFX, Caxton and WeSwap on their website, implying Revolut Mastercards should not incur DCC.

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I’ve had DCC offered the most in Spain. Infact, I had staff at El Corte Ingles (oh, the irony) inform me that there “is no way we can charge you in Euros, as this is not an EU card”, at which point I just walked away from the till and left the €50 of shopping there. Elsewhere in Spain in the same shop (sucker for punishment), eventually, after a fuss, the till jockey called a manager over, who input a special code that then allowed me to be charged in Euros. It certainly seemed to be automatic for some places and you would normally be presented with the bill and the payment terminal pre-set to charge you in sterling. At the time, I was using a FairFX Euro card, which I would have been whacked twice on their (and the shop’s) terrible exchange rate. I have noticed that I generally didn’t get whacked for DCC using Monzo or Revolut. Go figure.


Out of interest, roughly when was this? (eg before April 2019 when Mastercard changed the rules)?

Over the last few years, I’ve found pretty much everywhere I travelled offered DCC, and had no problems in asking for Euros / CHF, but it was Spain where they were more likely to assume I wanted GBP. Equally, I use contactless a lot, which should limit their ability to ask.

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Both sides of that date. I travelled extensively in Poland before and after that date and was never offered DCC once, even when paying with a sterling denominated card.

Interestingly, I’ve only been offered contactless and PIN in Poland, which I like - here if you exceed the 11 contactless transactions, it just automatically rejects it - in Poland, it prompts you to enter a PIN

I’ve not had contactless+PIN often; I first came across it at a hotel in Spain back in 2017.

With a couple of exceptions, Poland is on a par with France and the UK in the use of contactless and card transactions. I have bought a 30p equivalent tin of Coke with my Monzo card there. Even some French supermarkets have a €1 minimum charge ! We got loads of zloty out in anticipation of it being a card desert and had to resort to paying in cash exclusively in the last few days to run the wallet down !

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Reviving this topic, as I’m about to travel for the first time since November 2019, what are the safest options?

Starling € account ? (no DCC)

I want a wrinkle-free trip with no dodgy dealings at the till :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

I’m not sure any of those options will avoid DCC, as all will be seen as UK cards, and hence DCC can and will be offered.

Even the € account with a € balance?

If the machine does DCC 1st then it will present to Starling as £.

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Maybe a monese euro card?

Is this just a Europe problem? I seem to remember my last visit to the U.S, there were no such issues, every single transaction I made on my Starling debit card, was transacted in U.S Dollars, not one retailer asked me if I wanted the conversion in GBP.

If it is a Europe problem, is this just an attempt to rip off unwitting U.K card holders? I will say, that on my visit to Sweden back in December 2021, every transaction using my Starling debit card was carried out in Swedish Krone, again, no one asked me if I wanted it charged in GBP.

Please excuse my ignorance if I don’t quite understand the complexities.

I’ve personally seen DCC in the US - always with Chip and Pin machines.

Did get a little chuckle about DCC being aimed at UK cardholders though…

I’m reading the situation the same way.

I’m pretty sure when last I was abroad (Belgium) most of my purchasing was by debit card in bars and the odd restaurant.

I don’t recall any transactions being prefaced by the “£ or €” thing. I guess that’s because the bars just get on with serving and didn’t ask the question.

I’m probably bothering myself unnecessarily. I was just wondering if I had a fail safe in my wallet. I thought the Starling account would be it - or maybe Revolut or Fineco?

Or maybe I just go debit card in hand and keep an eye out……:thinking:

Been in Egypt for a little while now, and paying everywhere with my Chase card.

So far no one has attempted to “force” DCC on me (on one single occasion they asked me whether I prefered to pay in GBP or EGP, and my choice of EGP was respected without hesitation), though the numberless card has raised a few eyebrows.

1% cashback is a plus, and it was on that basis I decided to use Chase as my default card here.

One weird thing that happens quite regularly (but not always) when I pay for something: the amount is shown in USD while pending, but once the payment is confirmed it switches to EGP. Never seen that with any card before, so not sure if that’s an Egyptian thing or a Chase thing …


Certain types of transactions are less prone to DCC; eg chip and pin is likely to ask every time (except where banned by the EU), whereas contactless and mobile wallet are less likely to ask, although there have been people reporting DCC offered after the contactless transaction, which is where there’s a greater risk they select GBP for you as you have likely not got / no longer got hold of the device.

If your Revolut card is a prepaid Mastercard, it should be exempt, but most of those were replaced recently, and the new cards are debit cards, which falls outside of the automatic exemption.

Starling won’t help (will be seen as a UK card), as would I suspect Wise. If you run the Fineco first 6 digits through a bin checker, does it show up as Italian or British? If Italian, that then should be exempt from DCC.


By the machine at the time of transaction or by the shopkeeper at point of sale? I genuinely don’t know, that’s why I ask. As I said previously, never had this problem with my Starling card in either the U.S or Sweden or indeed Egypt when I was there in 2020, I was just charged in the local currency.

Personally I’m with you here. I’ve occasionally been asked (by the shop keeper / cashier, or by the card machine) whether I wanted to pay in GBP instead of local currency, but never been “forced”/surprised by someone making the choice for me. (My experience is limited to Egypt and Europe for what it’s worth)

Just as the whole maintenance debacle I don’t think it’s as big an issue as some make it out to be :joy:

Afaik DCC without consent is grounds for chargeback anyway (page 19), so even in the rare occasions that it does happen it just means you get your shopping for free :man_shrugging:


By the POS machine at the time of the provision of the card. DCC does seem more of a problem in Europe, but is available to merchants worldwide. Our of interest, did you mainly use the card directly with chip & pin, contactless, or through :apple: or :google: pay?