# Thread: Ordering in foreign currency for first time

1. ## Ordering in foreign currency for first time

I am planning to use PayPal to make my first order from a vendor who requires payment in a foreign currency.

However, I do not understand how to calculate the true cost of my order. PayPal says it charges a fee for foreign currency conversion. But, according to PayPal's help page it looks like that fee is paid by the vendor. But isn't there an additional transaction fee?

I do not really understand how PayPal works. I'm sure all of the information is buried somewhere in PayPal's help page, but it's much easier to simply ask people who have done it before.

ADISC did have a helpful page describing how to order internationally in the old wiki. But, I haven't been able to find that information after ADISC dropped the wiki in favor of the help articles.

I appreciate any help. Europe seems to have the best AB clothing.

2. PayPal has astronomical fees, but they are - indeed - charged to the recipient of the money. So you won't have to take that into account. If you have to pay 40, say, Euros, then you just pay 40 Euros, and are charged the equivalent of 40 EUR.

For you, the exchange rate is important. PayPal uses horrible exchange rate compared the prevailing market rate (something like a 3-4% extra charge calculated into the exchange rate). PayPal will show you the applicable exchange rate before you finalize the transaction, i.e. it'll tell you 40 EUR at exchange rate \$1.30 per 1 EUR = \$52. It's easy enough to understand.
However, you can save money by not letting PayPal do the conversion from your dollars to the foreign currency but letting your credit card company do it. You'll have to check for foreign currency fees of your credit card. On my card, they're 1%, so a lot cheaper than PayPal's implicit 3-4%. That's why I always charge my credit card in the foreign currency when paying with PayPal.

Peachy

3. Originally Posted by Peachy
However, you can save money by not letting PayPal do the conversion from your dollars to the foreign currency but letting your credit card company do it. You'll have to check for foreign currency fees of your credit card. On my card, they're 1%, so a lot cheaper than PayPal's implicit 3-4%. That's why I always charge my credit card in the foreign currency when paying with PayPal.
This.

It depends on the card, but 1% is fairly typical for foreign currency fees, whereas PayPal builds 3+% into its exchange rate. Some cards (notably a lot of CapitalOne cards and cards designed for foreign travel in the US) actually offer foreign currency transactions without a fee as one of their features.

4. Thanks, that helps. But I don't quite understand what you mean when you say that you can charge the foreign currency to your credit card instead of using PayPal's conversion. Does PayPal give you such an option when you go through the vendor's checkout process?

And, what is the best way to check how much my card would charge to do the currency conversion? Is the fee literally called a "foreign currency fee?" Or, is it something less intuitive?

5. Originally Posted by KitsBunny
Thanks, that helps. But I don't quite understand what you mean when you say that you can charge the foreign currency to your credit card instead of using PayPal's conversion. Does PayPal give you such an option when you go through the vendor's checkout process?

And, what is the best way to check how much my card would charge to do the currency conversion? Is the fee literally called a "foreign currency fee?" Or, is it something less intuitive?
In my experience, it's hard to find. It'll be called something pretty understandable, but it seems like that sort of thing is usually buried in the small print.

6. I placed an order on a USA site, so that was in a foreign currency (dollars). It actually turned out that PayPal's conversion was actually cheaper for me at the time compared to the bank conversion rate, so it is worth double checking before ordering.

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