An expensive way to get local currency
Anne was going on holiday to Indonesia and purchased a travel card from her local travel agent. Anne could not put Indonesian currency onto the card and paid $3,300 to load Australian dollars instead. Anne then discovered that the charges to withdraw Australian dollars in Indonesia were very high and that it would be cheaper to use her regular EFTPOS card. Anne decided to cancel the travel card and sought a refund of the amount loaded. When she contacted Have Money, Will Travel, the travel card issuer, she was told it would cost $10 to get a refund but received back only $3000. Anne could not understand where her $300 had gone.
Anne said no one had mentioned the possibility of exchange rate fluctuations or currency conversion charges, either when she bought the card or when she sought a refund. She wanted to retrieve the $300.
Have Money, Will Travel’s position
In replying to Anne’s complaint, Have Money, Will Travel said that all foreign currency transactions were subject to fluctuations in the exchange rate from day to day. Have Money, Will Travel confirmed the rates applied to the purchase and subsequent sale of Australian dollars were correct at the times of the transactions and declined to refund Anne’s lost funds.
FSCL’s involvement and resolution
When we contacted Have Money, Will Travel about Anne’s complaint, it offered to resolve the matter by paying Anne $300. Anne accepted Have Money, Will Travel’s offer and the complaint was settled on that basis.
It is important to remember that foreign currency conversions will always be subject to exchange rate fluctuations. If you want to change back to NZ dollars the foreign currency loaded on to a travel card you may receive less (or more) than the amount you originally paid for the foreign currency.