Reader Mary Beth points out something I hadn’t seen before on the Avis website, when you go to your profile and update your credit card (probably because my credit card on file will expire soon, so I haven’t updated it in a long time):
Emphasis below is mine:
Note: International travelers using a MasterCard or Visa charge card have the opportunity to be billed in their local currency:
I choose to have Avis bill all my future rental charges in the currency of my Avis profile credit card.
I understand that if I am renting at a location at which the currency differs from my credit card issuing currency, Avis will convert my rental charges to my card issuing currency. Immediately after I return my rental car, Avis will use the prevailing conversion rate. Any converted amount will be billed to my credit card. The conversion will be conducted by the Avis location. The international currency selection fee is three percent. If you disagree please unselect checkbox.
They will convert the rental charge to your home currency and charge you three percent for doing so. There’s absolutely no reason that you would want to do this.
Most credit cards which do not waive foreign transaction fees will still charge those fees even if the billing is done in your home currency because the charge originated outside of your home country.
So if you have a credit card that waives foreign transaction fees, leaving this box checked means you pay 3% for the conversion anyway (and though Avis says you’ll get the ‘prevailing’ exchange rate there’s no guarantee it’s as good as the bank rate anyway, I’d be pretty confident it isn’t better).
And if your card doesn’t waive foreign transaction fees, you wind up paying those fees twice — three percent to Avis and then also (usually about 3%) to your credit card.
If you rent with Avis outside the United States, you definitely want to go to your account, edit your credit card information, and uncheck that box!