Unclear exchange rate leading to ATM fee

I have recently spent my holidays in Budapest, Hungary. As there are some places where they only accept cash, I wanted to get an amount for the holidays. I have checked right before the transaction (on Google, xe.com) and 83000 Hungarian forint was 198.8 £. So I tried this amount and to my surprise, in the Curve app I’ve got the message "ATM withdrawals exceeded’ and consequently they charged me a fee of 2£.

There was no other explanation. So I have written a message to Curve support asking for an explanation.
After 4 days, I have received a short message from someone who recommended as Emil, saying that “at the moment of the transaction, that amount of Hungarian forint was equal to 200.01 GBP”

I have immediately replied back asking for proof of that. Not to mention that charging a fee of 2£ for an unclear exceeding of 0.01£ I find pretty unfair. I sent this message on the 24th of July but since then I do not have any reply.

Now my question for the community here is:
Is there an official website, or somewhere within the Curve app where I should have checked it?
I have checked online the exchange rates and as I said a round number of 83000 Hungarian forints was 198.8 £. My intention was not to get 199.9 or exactly 200.00, but as that number of forints was a pretty round number I considered it fine. In all the sources that I have checked right before and right after the transaction, the amount I got was not exceeding 200£. And the ATM (an OTP bank) did not charge me any fee.

Hello,

The conversation from Hungarian Forint to Pounds Sterling is not made by Google or xe.com. Its made by Mastercard and Curve.
The amount shown on Google cannot be used to get a precise exchange rate. You need to use MasterCard’s Website instead.

-Read poeliev’s post, i was wrong. :confused:

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I am afraid that’s incorrect. Curve does not use the MasterCard rate (that’s also the reason why Curve has a FX weekend markup, where cards that do use the MasterCard rate don’t have this).

Our currency conversion rates

When you make a transaction in another currency, we use a wholesale rate to make the conversion.

This means you’ll have access to the rate the banks use in order to exchange money between them, this is also known as the interbank rate.

The rate may vary over the course of a day, so it could be different to a rate that is only updated once a day (like the Mastercard® rate).

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Ok, so what rate does Curve use ?
And more importantly, how can such a rate be checked in real-time ?

At least from my situation which I presented, the rate is clearly less favorable then what I have seen on google and xe.com.

Unfortunately Curve is extremely vague about the live/real time FX rate it uses. A couple of years ago there was a FX calculator on their website, but it was removed and though there was a promise it would return (see post below) it never did (at least I can’t find it on their website).
In the same topic there can be voted to have a FX calculator in the app. But as you can see it’s an old topic and nothing seem to have happened since then.

I finally got an answer from Curve - and I got it only after sending a message on Twitter. So just filling in the contact form or sending an email is not at all a good idea, as there are high chances of not getting an answer, as it happened to me!

Their official answer is: “At the moment we don’t have an in currency exchange rate value feature or checker for customers to utilize. However, I would be happy to feedback to the product team for you. Kindly note that for any future foreign exchange transactions, please ensure to keep under your fx fee-free limit”

The answer I find hilarious: how can one be certain of keeping under a certain limit, when that limit is not officially presented?
As I have said in the first post of this topic, I have checked some websites right before (and then right after) the transaction and it was ok.
The exact GBP amount is not presented in the Curve app, not even after the ATM transaction - and the information was disclosed only by the support team.

Taking into account this information, and the rates I have found online on those moments (right before and right after) the transaction, I find that the Curve exchange rate was 0.61% worse as compared with the rates I found online. Once a transaction falls within this threshold, a limit officially unknown ‘a priori’, then for 0.01£ one pays a 2£ fee.

Anyway, let’s focus on that 0.61%-worse Curve rate. Based on your experience, and if you have made such determinations, I mean to check and compare public rates with Curve rates (corresponding to your transactions - because - of course - you cannot just do simulations), what values have you got? Did the Curve rate approach some of the public rates? or was it sometimes better or sometimes worse?

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In your opening post you share that you wrote to Curve support for the 2nd time on the 24th of July, but you don’t tell the date of the ATM transaction. I am curious. Could you please share this date as well?

After a trip to Prague in July last year I compared the FX rate Curve used (CZK to EUR) to the MasterCard rate on that date. On all transactions Curve had a slightly better FX rate.

The date was Tuesday 20th of July, at an OTP Bank ATM. My opinion is that Curve should implement a function allowing to see the conversion rates applied at a certain moment.

MasterCard rate on that date:

1 Hungarian Forint = 0.0024258 Great British Pound

Your transaction amount of 83,000.00 HUF = 201.34 GBP in your card currency

The currency conversion rate and your card currency amount are as of July 20th 2021 and includes a bank fee of 0%

So Curve’s FX rate was on that date and time (slightly) better than the MasterCard rate (just as with my transactions).

I am not at all an expert in this field, but I am trying to understand.

Let’s try to make a simulation for the present.
Now I notice the rate presented by this converter for today is 83000 HUF = 201.06 GBP

Now I have just googled the conversion, same procedure I have done in that date. The first result is Google converter itself which shows 199.4 GBP
The second result is xe.com which shows 199.3661 GBP
The third result is wise.com which shows 199.30458 GBP
The fourth result is currency.me.uk which shows 199.3 GBP
and so on…

I don’t know what all of these numbers mean. They deffinitely look better than that converter. Are they incorrect?

Even after I have insisted on getting an answer, Curve support did not indicate me a certain converter or any other way to find out a conversion rate.

Today’s MasterCard rate is actually 200,06

1 Hungarian Forint = 0.0024104 Great British Pound

Your transaction amount of 83,000.00 HUF = 200.06 GBP in your card currency

The currency conversion rate and your card currency amount are as of August 9th 2021 and includes a bank fee of 0%


As you can see on this site (by pressing the ‘i’) what is shown are so called midmarket rates (explanation in the screenshot below).

And when clicked on the learn more link:

The mid-market rate is the mid-point between the rate a currency can be bought or sold at. These rates are not available to customers - not even Xe can buy currency at this rate.

These rates are real time and are updated every 60 seconds during trading hours.

Our free information services always list the mid-market rate because it indicates the value of a currency that’s not weighted towards buying or selling.


Screenshot below is from the Revolut app that is showing how much GBP it would cost you to buy 83000 HUF. That is what actually happens when withdrawing HUF at an ATM using a GBP card, you are buying HUF with GBP.

Just as Curve Revolut is using wholesale/interbank rates and (just as Curve) Revolut is known, by doing that, to offer (slightly) better rates than the MasterCard or Visa rates.

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this is what curve wrote me 1-2 years ago. btw i don’t really understand why you wanted to be so close to the limit. 80 000 huf should have been absolutely enough for you in hungary…

We use a wholesale rate called Currency Layer that is sourced from a very broad base of commercial sources and banks around the world, and is refreshed every hour. It’s much cheaper than high street banks - you’ll save around 3-5% on each transaction using Curve. It’s refreshed every hour so it will change when compared to a rate that is only updated once a day (like the MasterCard rate). We will be more expensive for some transactions and much cheaper on others.