I've recently discovered Airbnb silently overcharges their customers by converting each transaction into their local currency:

If you’re paying in a currency different from the default currency of the country where the listing or experience are located, we also charge a 3% conversion fee on your total cost;

I am going to pay with a Revolut card so I want to completely avoid any currency conversions on the merchants side. How can I force Airbnb to allow me to pay in the currency of my choosing? Things I've tried so far:

  • Selecting a different country when adding my debit card
  • Changing my location in the profile
  • Changing the displayed currency in Airbnb's settings
  • Changing the billing country at the "confirm and pay" screen
  • 1
    It used to be possible to change to the local Airbnb website, and pay through that. I don't believe this is possible any longer however. – Paddez Dec 15 '17 at 10:03
  • Have you also tried setting up a new account on the local airbnb website? airbnb.ca in your case I guess? – mts Dec 21 '17 at 11:36
  • @mts no, but adding a card from a different country does allow me to pay in a different currency, so it seems that they use the bank's address to determine the payment currency. – JonathanReez Dec 21 '17 at 11:40
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    3% is pretty low considering most banks charge 3.5-5% for currency conversions, often with a pretty high minimum charge. – jwenting Jan 5 at 9:59
  • @jwenting my Czech bank charges me 2%, with no minimum charges. And my Revolut card charges me nothing, so no external conversion services could possibly benefit me. – JonathanReez Jan 5 at 10:05
up vote 9 down vote accepted

I'm not sure when exactly it happened, but as of September 2018 Airbnb stopped charging any foreign exchange fees. Now I see the exact same price when I use my GBP card as I do when I use my CZK card. Their FAQ confirms my findings:

We will display the prices on Airbnb in the currency you select. If you choose to change the currency at any point while booking, we will display a new price in the new currency you select.

Bookings will be completed with the displayed price and currency as selected by you.

If you choose to make or receive payments in a currency different from the designated currency of your payment method, your credit or bank card issuer may apply a currency conversion rate or fees to your payment. Please contact your provider to learn more about what fees may apply. Airbnb is not responsible for these fees.

Kudos to Airbnb for fixing the issue!

One option might be to use sites like Homeaway (if they have properties where you want to go). The bookings we've made through that service charge in the native currency of the property owner, in our cases $US and UKP. Then you can pay using whatever method you want.

  • Unfortunately Homeaway's choice of listings is far inferior. – JonathanReez Dec 14 '17 at 17:32
  • @JonathanReez You might not have an option but to endure AirBNB's terms, alas. – Jim MacKenzie Dec 14 '17 at 17:32
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    There's often a trick you can use to avoid sneaky fees. Perhaps someone's figured it out with Airbnb. E.g. my trick for avoiding sneaky bank fees is to get a Revolut card. – JonathanReez Dec 14 '17 at 17:35
  • @JonathanReez Since it's possible for organizations that charge credit cards to tell what the native currency of the card you're using for payment is, my guess is that the only workaround would be to have a payment method that is in the native currency of your destination. Services like PayPal will let you charge in native currency or your currency, and you can override the default (the latter), but it sounds like you're not finding such an option on AirBNB. – Jim MacKenzie Dec 14 '17 at 17:45

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