Portuguese ATM Exchange Rates – Just Say NO

person pressing keys of an atm

When given a prompt about whether you want to ‘protect your exchange rate’ or some shit, say ‘NO’. You might get a scary looking “Are you sure?!?!?!” prompt – double-down, hit NO. There. That’s the entire post. (JK, lemme explain below)

So my understanding of that weird prompt you get on Portuguese ATM’s is that they’re offering to ‘lock’ the exchange rate at the moment of the transaction. This is a “service” (and those are some serious dick-quotes I’m using there) that they provide at a “modest” fee (hey, at least dick-quotes are free. I’m going to use them.)

Hitting ‘yes’ can cost you up to €50 (or was it $50? I don’t know. I just figured out how to type the euro symbol – it’s option-shift-2) on a couple-hundred euros withdrawal transaction. I can’t imagine what kind of exchange-rate shenanigans that that €50 would save you for – I mean, I guess if the Euro was massively surging in value?

I’ve read tales of people (hotel staff, or something?) who would be handling customer credit cards at ATM’s who were trained to hit that stupid button on behalf of the customer (which seems pretty close to illegal to me – or at least, super-duper sus).

I imagine it’s just a giant cash cow against nervous foreigners to save them from the evils of the filthy European money from Brussels. Probably gets split between the ATM operators and the venue they’re in, I’d guess?

Anyway, my take is that it’s utter bullshit and you should never, ever, ever push the stupid button.

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