Pay In Foreign Currencies to Save Big Money
Part of our mission at Miles to Memories is to save you money. Yes, a lot of that focus is often put on credit cards and travel, but there are so many ways to save money in all areas of your life. For example, I have written in the past about ninja tricks which involve stacking a bunch of discounts to achieve savings on everything from flooring to Valentine’s Day!
One of the coolest ways to save money is by paying in a foreign currency. Not all merchants allow this of course, but if it is an option you should always see if it is beneficial to you. I have found that lately with the strong dollar it is often cheaper for us “Americans” to pay in a foreign currency.
Saving 27% with Russian Rubles
One such example just came up in my life. As many of you know I am a huge roller coaster and theme park fan. There is a new game coming out called Planet Coaster which is of interest to me. While I am not a big gamer at all, I have always loved this type of game. Anyway, the developer has given nerds like me the ability to purchase early access.
When I visited the developer’s website I noticed something right away. At the top of the page, there is a currency and a language toggle.
I also noticed that the website’s URL changed depending on the currency. For example, the U.S. store has the following address:
Immediately after seeing this I checked the price of the product that I in each of the three currencies. The prices are:
- $74.99 USD
- £49.99 GBP
My next step was to head to Google. They actually have a very handy currency calculator built into the search engine. There is no need to visit a 3rd party site. Google told me the following:
So I can either pay $74.99 in U.S. dollars or choose another currency and save. Do you see that chart next to the Russian Ruble. It has stumbled compared to the dollar. With all geopolitical discussion aside, that is good for the purpose of this purchase.
No Foreign Transaction Fee Card
The next step was for me to use a card that doesn’t have a foreign transaction fee. I chose my SPG Business Amex card since I am still meeting the minimum spend requirement from the 35K offer. Thankfully the website allowed me to put in my correct address for billing and since this is a digital download no shipping will be required. After inputting all of the information I hit submit. Moments later, success!
American Express even sent me a transaction notification since I have it setup to tell me when there is a foreign transaction:
The Final Cost
While you can debate whether it is smart for me to pay $55 for early access to a roller coaster game, you can’t deny that by simply changing a setting, a 27% savings is tremendous. My final cost for this was actually better than what Google said. It only cost $55.31. That is certainly better than $74.99!
Other Uses For Foreign Currencies
Using the foreign currency “trick” is something that can be done in a lot of cases. Just about anything without a physical deliverable will work.
For example, look to pay in a foreign currency for:
- Hotel rooms
- Plane tickets
- Game downloads
- Software downloads
- Train tickets
- Online services
- Monthly subscriptions
Of course you will always want to check to make sure that it is beneficial to pay with a foreign currency and will always want to use a card that doesn’t have a foreign transaction fee. If you put a subscription in a foreign currency then make sure to check back periodically since currency markets fluctuate quite a lot.
When it comes to travel, many companies will price something cheaper in the home currency than your own. For example, you might get a cheaper plane ticket from Japan Airlines by paying in Yen as opposed to dollars. That isn’t always the case, but it never hurts to check. The one thing I caution against is lying about your address or where you are located.
I am happy with this purchase and to be honest, I would not have paid $75 for this game, but paying $55 made sense to me, plus this is the first time I have ever paid in rubles anywhere. I think that is kind of cool, or perhaps I am just a nerd. I am sure it is the latter.
Do you have any foreign currency tricks or suggestions to add? Let us know in the comments!