Pesos or Dollars - Another Dominican scam

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Tonchi

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Nov 17, 2015
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I am sure everyone that uses an American credit card (3 times I've got my money back when stores and rental car agencies scammed me and I got charges reversed) has seen the credit card processor machine at the grocery store that asks if you want the transaction is pesos or dollars. This prompt started showing up over a year ago.

I've always answered pesos, because the conversion rate was on my cards was nearly identical to the caribe exress exchange rate, before the popup started showing up. I never looked at how much in dollars the transaction would be until recently. A week ago I looked at a small $25 purchase and if I choose dollars, I would have paid $1.50 more.

On a transaction today at the market I looked at the dollar amount again. I choose pesos and looked at the dollar amount that would have been charged.

My Citi card amount charged was $67 at the peso rate, but the dollar amount on the machine was almost $71.

In other words, the credit card processor is adding an automatic 6-7% to the price and stuffing all that money, which has to be tens of thousands every day, into their pocket designed to fleece tourists (and people that live here) that think they should automatically put dollars because the card is denominated in dollars.

Just another Dominican scam. :oops:
 

NanSanPedro

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Apr 12, 2019
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I am sure everyone that uses an American credit card (3 times I've got my money back when stores and rental car agencies scammed me and I got charges reversed) has seen the credit card processor machine at the grocery store that asks if you want the transaction is pesos or dollars. This prompt started showing up over a year ago.

I've always answered pesos, because the conversion rate was on my cards was nearly identical to the caribe exress exchange rate, before the popup started showing up. I never looked at how much in dollars the transaction would be until recently. A week ago I looked at a small $25 purchase and if I choose dollars, I would have paid $1.50 more.

On a transaction today at the market I looked at the dollar amount again. I choose pesos and looked at the dollar amount that would have been charged.

My Citi card amount charged was $67 at the peso rate, but the dollar amount on the machine was almost $71.

In other words, the credit card processor is adding an automatic 6-7% to the price and stuffing all that money, which has to be tens of thousands every day, into their pocket designed to fleece tourists (and people that live here) that think they should automatically put dollars because the card is denominated in dollars.

Just another Dominican scam. :oops:

Interesting because I have a Citi card too and always choose pesos. I will be sure to check next time.
 

Sol09

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Jan 12, 2017
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I am sure everyone that uses an American credit card (3 times I've got my money back when stores and rental car agencies scammed me and I got charges reversed) has seen the credit card processor machine at the grocery store that asks if you want the transaction is pesos or dollars. This prompt started showing up over a year ago.

I've always answered pesos, because the conversion rate was on my cards was nearly identical to the caribe exress exchange rate, before the popup started showing up. I never looked at how much in dollars the transaction would be until recently. A week ago I looked at a small $25 purchase and if I choose dollars, I would have paid $1.50 more.

On a transaction today at the market I looked at the dollar amount again. I choose pesos and looked at the dollar amount that would have been charged.

My Citi card amount charged was $67 at the peso rate, but the dollar amount on the machine was almost $71.

In other words, the credit card processor is adding an automatic 6-7% to the price and stuffing all that money, which has to be tens of thousands every day, into their pocket designed to fleece tourists (and people that live here) that think they should automatically put dollars because the card is denominated in dollars.

Just another Dominican scam. :oops:
It's not a Dominican scam. This is called Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC) and can be found at merchants worldwide.

Selecting to pay in dollars will always cost more than DOP (or whatever the local currency is).
 

Tonchi

Active member
Nov 17, 2015
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It's not a Dominican scam. This is called Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC) and can be found at merchants worldwide.

Selecting to pay in dollars will always cost more than DOP (or whatever the local currency is).
I have lived here 7 years... This scam just popped up a year ago..

If it was some established and sanctioned DCC, why did it only appear a year ago? Why dont travelers know about it?

The point is that nobody is being told about DCC (AKA scam) so my post will hopefully expose it and save members some money.

Does the girl at the cash register ask, "Would you like to pay more money through DCC, or would you just like to pay in pesos?"
 
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NanSanPedro

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Apr 12, 2019
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I have lived here 7 years... This scam just popped up a year ago..

If it was some established and sanctioned DCC, why did it only appear a year ago? Why dont travelers know about it?

The point is that nobody is being told about DCC (AKA scam) so my post will hopefully expose it and save members some money.

Does the girl at the cash register ask, "Would you like to pay more money through DCC, or would you just like to pay in pesos?"
The first time I saw it the girl pointed to the pesos and told me to press it. This was at Ole. If the grocery store was involved I'm sure they would have told the employees to ask the stupid gringo to press USD.
 

Sol09

Active member
Jan 12, 2017
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I have lived here 7 years... This scam just popped up a year ago..

If it was some established and sanctioned DCC, why did it only appear a year ago? Why dont travelers know about it?

The point is that nobody is being told about DCC (AKA scam) so my post will hopefully expose it and save members some money.

Does the girl at the cash register ask, "Would you like to pay more money through DCC, or would you just like to pay in pesos?"
My guess for why it was introduced a year ago is because that is when the Verifones (credit card machines) that became equipped to process DCC began to be disbursed to merchants who wanted to participate.

If you look at your receipt when this "scam" happened to you, you will see that it references DCC, the exchange rate of the sale, and it explicitly states the margin that is being applied (typically 4%).

Every time I had over my card to the cashier, I tell them to charge in Pesos before they even run it so there is no question.
 

SKY

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Apr 11, 2004
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This scam is not new. And it is not Dominican. It is World Wide. ALWAYS take the local currency, unless you want to pay more. Very common in Europe..................
 
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D'Arcy (Apostropheman)

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Apr 10, 2022
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Here and there
I have lived here 7 years... This scam just popped up a year ago..

If it was some established and sanctioned DCC, why did it only appear a year ago? Why dont travelers know about it?

The point is that nobody is being told about DCC (AKA scam) so my post will hopefully expose it and save members some money.

Does the girl at the cash register ask, "Would you like to pay more money through DCC, or would you just like to pay in pesos?"
I suspect that you may not have noticed because it's been like this for years...possibly decades and as has been mentioned it's a world wide thing, so relax.
 

chico bill

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May 6, 2016
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Another thing that I noticed. Used to be the initial transaction on my Citibank card would show up on my statement with a different amount (pennies) more, sometimes less than what first registered on my alert. I wrote it off to Peso conversion fluctuations.
Now the amount that posts on the alert is always unchanged from the statement amount.
 
Feb 7, 2007
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I am sure everyone that uses an American credit card (3 times I've got my money back when stores and rental car agencies scammed me and I got charges reversed) has seen the credit card processor machine at the grocery store that asks if you want the transaction is pesos or dollars. This prompt started showing up over a year ago.

I've always answered pesos, because the conversion rate was on my cards was nearly identical to the caribe exress exchange rate, before the popup started showing up. I never looked at how much in dollars the transaction would be until recently. A week ago I looked at a small $25 purchase and if I choose dollars, I would have paid $1.50 more.

On a transaction today at the market I looked at the dollar amount again. I choose pesos and looked at the dollar amount that would have been charged.

My Citi card amount charged was $67 at the peso rate, but the dollar amount on the machine was almost $71.

In other words, the credit card processor is adding an automatic 6-7% to the price and stuffing all that money, which has to be tens of thousands every day, into their pocket designed to fleece tourists (and people that live here) that think they should automatically put dollars because the card is denominated in dollars.

Just another Dominican scam. :oops:
This is "normal" worldwide. In Europe, ATMs give you an option to make the withdrawal in Euros deduced from your card in EUR or in USD. Of course the USD rate offered is much worse than the interbank conversion rate from EUR to USD. Roughly same 5+%, Always chose the local currency instead of USD. There is a fee for "convenience" of knowing how much will be deducted (in USD) instead of the "unknown" (but well below) interbank rate. Also, PayPal does this, when you pay in foreign currency, and your linked account is in USD. And PayPal is more sneaky, PayPal predefines the "offered" USD rate, and you have to make several clicks on a small print to change the conversion back into the original charged currency.
 
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Tonchi

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I suspect that you may not have noticed because it's been like this for years...possibly decades and as has been mentioned it's a world wide thing, so relax.
I am relaxed... The point of this is information so that everybody learns this.
Its not common knowledge like Intl transactions fees are
 

Tonchi

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Nov 17, 2015
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The important thing here is ---- There is NO scam !!

Surely, we've proven that to our poster by now.....and it's not as if we haven't discussed this before here
That depends on what your definition of scam is.. When someone includes hidden fees,, that no one knows about,, no one tells you about,,, to me thats a scam..

They dont ask or tell you at the store, you will pay more if you choose dollars. I am sure they honestly dont know. But the credit card processors do, and they want to keep that easy money coming..

Is it legal?? I am sure it is. Is it right??? Thats a big no

And as I said, this isnt a small amount amount being taken,, these are huge numbers that people should be informed about.

We can honestly disagree about the definition of scam, but an included HIDDEN and UNDISCLOSED cost, to me, is a scam.
 
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Well, if it is 4% and your card has a 3% currency conversion fee, a risk averse person will take the convenience of knowing exactly USD amount charged, instead of depending on possible interbank currency exchange rate volatility, paying additional 1%. Which in this case is 0.5 pesos per USD. Which we know it's unlikely that the exchange rate would change so much in DOP, but in USD to EUR for example that 1% represents just 0.01 USD which makes for a much likelier chance of exchange rate volatility in that time period.

So no, it's not a scam, it's a convenience and a tool to mitigate and eliminate exchange rate risk for risk averse consumers.
 

Tonchi

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Nov 17, 2015
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Well, if it is 4% and your card has a 3% currency conversion fee, a risk averse person will take the convenience of knowing exactly USD amount charged, instead of depending on possible interbank currency exchange rate volatility, paying additional 1%. Which in this case is 0.5 pesos per USD. Which we know it's unlikely that the exchange rate would change so much in DOP, but in USD to EUR for example that 1% represents just 0.01 USD which makes for a much likelier chance of exchange rate volatility in that time period.

So no, it's not a scam, it's a convenience and a tool to mitigate and eliminate exchange rate risk for risk averse consumers.
Like I put in my original post... The pesos price is always converted at the Caribe Express exchange rate. The dollar price is not. You are always paying more and that is a hidden fee, making it a scam. There is no convenience being offered here either. They hide the fact that they are making money from the exchange, because nobody is informed before making a decision.

Additionally,,, the point is to make $5-10 every transaction. Who cares what the intercurrency bank rate is on a $100 purchase of groceries?? They do because they are TAKING your money. But the average tourist is choosing dollars because it familiar, and they dont know any better. Not because they are risk adverse and fear the intercurrency bank rate
 
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