Monday, 25 October 2010

Payment Card Fraud

One of the other bloggers mentioned that card companies were making money on foreign credit/payment cards by debiting the account in the foreign currency rather than Polish złoties, charging highly for the service.

I recently got a receipt from a shop for such a payment through Polcard. This has the wording:
I accept that I have been offered a choice of currencies for payment & that this choice is final [.] I accept the conversion rate & final amount & the selected currency

I wasn't offered a choice and didn't know about it until I got the receipt. Obviously I therefore didn't accept any of the things mentioned. The statement on the receipt is claimed to be by me, but it is in fact by Polcard. As far as I am concerned, it is simply fraudulent. Since it was printed out after I had keyed in my PIN and the transaction was complete - it is at the bottom of the receipt, I could not have agreed to it if the cashier had wanted me to. I therefore feel greatly aggrieved at this lie about my views. Far more so than the fact that they are making money out of me: that's business.

They wrote more, however:
The guaranteed FX rate is based on Reuters rate of the previous banking day including a hedging margin not exceeding 3.5%

I like the 'hedging margin' description, since it nicely suggests that the 3.5% is not there to make them money. Currencies do fluctuate, so safeguarding themselves sounds reasonable. However, they fluctuate to both the company's advantage and disadvantage and the net result should be that they make a profit, more so if they have a sensible forward buying policy. Well done, for the commercially manipulated wording all the same.

However, the statement did allow me to check with my English bank, which charges 2.5%. Since my English bank makes money out of me in every way possible, the card company's 3.5% is not unreasonable in itself. I now know that I don't want them to do the currency exchange, but will I be able to stop it?

Soon after, I went into a petrol station. I was offered the choice of złoties or euros. Euros was odd, but I did have a choice here and I chose złoties. However, the receipt came out in pounds. I told the cashier about the mistake and she tried to cancel the sterling payment. She was obviously new and had difficulties, which her colleague was too busy to help with, rather impatiently suggesting she ring up the card company. Since there was a queue and I was late, I accepted the payment in pounds. I will try again next time.

1 comment:

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