19

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
7
  • 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, 2017 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, 2017 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, 2017 at 11:40
  • 2
    3% is pretty low considering most banks charge 3.5-5% for currency conversions, often with a pretty high minimum charge.
    – jwenting
    Jan 5, 2018 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, 2018 at 10:05

3 Answers 3

12

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!

3
  • It sees that the price is the same no matter the currency you select. Jan 16, 2019 at 10:58
  • I'm pretty sure I wasn't charged this fee when paying for an Australian listing with US dollars in April 2018.
    – user27701
    Apr 24, 2019 at 21:02
  • 1
    This raises the question: how does Airbnb convert between currencies? How is the exchange rate determined?
    – jetset
    Mar 21, 2021 at 22:25
2

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.

4
  • Unfortunately Homeaway's choice of listings is far inferior.
    – JonathanReez
    Dec 14, 2017 at 17:32
  • @JonathanReez You might not have an option but to endure AirBNB's terms, alas. Dec 14, 2017 at 17:32
  • 1
    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, 2017 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. Dec 14, 2017 at 17:45
0

Yes always pay in local currency! I made the mistake of booking an apartment in Spain using USD, my credit card currency. My host told me he would charge me 150€/ night. Airbnb charged me US$184/ night which was much higher than any rate I found on the internet. When I took it up with them, the “specialist” kept saying they showed me the prices in USD and they didn’t do any currency conversion, which was of course a blatant lie. After a protracted conversation he finally admitted that the “ automatic currency converter” they used was OANDA. According to OANDA, 150€ came out to be US$178. I chatted and spoke with 3 Airbnb representatives on this. No one was willing or able to explain the 3% discrepancy between this and $184, which was actually a hidden fee Airbnb would not admit to. Airbnb also calculated their service charge based on the jacked-up USD room prices. In other words, I was overcharged twice. Luckily my host agreed to give me a full refund when I cancelled, and I was able to pay in Euros. Lesson: always pay Airbnb in the local currency. You can go to your Profile to make the choice.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .