I’m writing this from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where I’m currently on holiday with my family over the Lunar New Year period. Whilst here, I needed to get some local currency out – the Malaysian Ringgit – to pay for some bills (I’d use the credit card, but they don’t seem to have as wide an acceptance here!)
At the cashpoint, I was offered the choice in Pounds Sterling rather than Malaysian Ringgit – around £213.00 for RM1,000.00. Because I was using my Metro Bank Debit Card, I knew that being charged in the local currency would be the best option: fortunately it was possible to opt out. On getting back, I found out that my card had been charged £205.79: £7 less than if I’d opted to pay in pounds.
This isn’t restricted to cash machines, however: it can also be found at credit card terminals in shops – so, if you’re ever asked whether you’d like to pay in pounds abroad, you should always decline if you’re using one of the recommended cards.