European ATMs Have A New Scam To Charge Foreigners Extra [Roundup]

News and notes from around the interweb:

  • Airport Dimensions, which operates The Club lounges, will open a lounge at the Grand Rapids airport in Michigan next year. (Airport Dimensions is owned by Collinson Group, which also operates Priority Pass.)

  • Some ATMs in Europe are now playing dynamic currency conversion games, cheating visitors taking out local currency.

  • Man accused of killing friend in Strip hotel over $20 gaming voucher

  • Demand for hotel suites and connecting rooms has risen dramatically

  • Weird, breast milk is supposed to be allowed through security checkpoints as a ‘medically necessary liquid’

  • Weird, Delta CEO Ed Bastian named ‘Ethical Leader of the Year’ by the Society of Human Resource Management. Remember when he was promoting racist attacks on competitor airlines from the Mideast?

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. @ Gary — I didn’t know it was ethical to devalue people’s hard-earned miles by 20-50% overnight. Good to know.

  2. I think you can safely replace “Some ATMs in Europe are now” with “All ATMs in Europe have been for many years”

  3. Gary, the ATM thing is not new, and it’s not only EU. Mexico has done that for years. But your post doesn’t highlight the most important advice: ALWAYS DECLINE the currency conversion. Folks mistakenly think it’s required to get money out of the ATM…. It’s NOT required at all. It’s definitely a scam but just decline it, and you’re okay.

  4. At least the machine from the photo is showing the option to decline the conversion to USD so isn’t forced.

    Unlike some vendors I encountered in India where without asking me selected USD on transactions then on my argument insisted the USD conversion was “automatic”, or their “store policy”, or various other BS

  5. The DCC scam at ATMs is hardly new. And it’s not limited to Europe. I’ve seen it in Japan and Korea also, among other places.

    (Of course we all know that if you’re looking for accurate and even-handed content, VFTW is not the place to come).

  6. I’ve seen the ‘USD dollars’ scam at UK hotels and restaurants going back at least to the late 00’s. It was a 3% haircut on our corporate cards. I tried to warn coworkers – but apparently they didn’t care (not their money) or they didn’t understand. A Marriott up in Derby would do this without even asking – it would piss me off if (often at end of a long week) I forgot to request GBP.

  7. Rick Steves went full on Branch Covidian, so I’m not surprised this is new to him. For us Grandma killers that never stopped traveling, this is old news.

  8. The ATM Rick Steves provides as an example makes the option clearer. Many ATMs do not give this option – instead they just provide two choices – “accept” or “reject” the exchange rate. Many travelers believe by rejecting the exchange rate the transaction is cancelled…rather rejecting the exchange rate (which is covertly marked up) you are rejecting it and will receive Euros at the official rate at the time of withdrawal.

  9. As others have pointed out this ATM is actually very clear and transparent. That isnt the case at all ATMs . I find that IN BANK ATM’s are a lot more transparent in general than independent ATMs.

  10. Gary, I’m surprised you didn’t notice this ATM thing during your trip to Australia. Nearly every ATM I used in Australia in May (Westpac, ANZ, Commonwealth, etc.) not only gave me the opportunity to value my withdrawal in US dollars (with something like a A$1.33/US$ exchange rate… pass!), they all charged fees ranging from A$4 – A$7.50 for a transaction.

  11. As states above, ATMs on Europe have been doing the DCC thing for years. I saw it near a hotel near LHR about 2017.

  12. In some countries in Europe the ATM situation has become positively brutal and makes me long for the days of travelers checks. Even if you’re not fooled by DCC, the regular service fees are abysmal, and all the same scammy company running almost all ATMs in many European countries.

  13. How about in the USA?

    I took friend from Spain to a local Best Buy in Miami and with his European Visa they offered him the option of paying in Euros. We noted the conversion amount while he selected in local currency and that offered amount was greater than what he was actually charged.

  14. The words ‘ethical’ and ‘airlines’, regardless of context, are rarely seen together in the same sentence.

  15. Recent transaction at a resort atm in the Playa del Carmen Mexico area charged an additional % on top of the fee. Came to $80 for a $400 withdrawal. Thank goodness for my Charles Schwab card

  16. If Europe is so consumer-friendly as we are typically led to believe, then why have their regulators not slammed down on these unethical actions?

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