Currency conversions

AndyLandy

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Just for interest, since we have a rather fantastic international community here: Did you know that Google can do quick-n-easy currency conversions for you?

Just ask Google "100 GBP in USD" or whatever international currency symbols you're converting and Google Calculator does the rest!

Using the power of "Let me Google that for you" for a demonstration:
http://lmgtfy.com/?q=100+GBP+in+USD
 

arnljot

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Just to supplement with: It also works for weight and meassurement conversions too. (When posting something :p )
 

Nathanieltolbert

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just remember that if you use paypal, they screw you over on the conversion rate taking a percentage for themselves. I don't know if many people know that or not, but I thought I would mention it.
 

SkydivinGirl

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I've notice that as well, Nathan. :( I normally use xe.com and it is always more once I actually pay with PayPal. Just one more way to squeeze money out of their customers. :)

Thanks for the info, Andy!

Heather
 

chiark

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For anyone in the UK, the post office Platinum credit card (not their money card things) gives an absolutely unbeatable rate - it's the Mastercard network's rate as I understand it - with no commission taken.

Consequently, I pay in the remote currency and get charged in that rather than have the conversion done by paypal... (I think!)
 

AndyLandy

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For anyone in the UK, the post office Platinum credit card (not their money card things) gives an absolutely unbeatable rate - it's the Mastercard network's rate as I understand it - with no commission taken.

Consequently, I pay in the remote currency and get charged in that rather than have the conversion done by paypal... (I think!)

I've done something similar. Mastercard's conversion rate is very competitive, and I use that when I do a currency conversion on PayPal. Worthwhile to know!
 

User1301

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I've been using google for that for ages now - it's very good. It also does quick calculations as well (like type in 456*32/6 and you'll get 2432)

J
 

Nathanieltolbert

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Okay seriously, we have some geniuses on this website, how hard would it be to set something up like pay pal where the fees wouldn't be so outrageous? They take upwards of 4 percent sometimes based on the amount you receive. It's crazy. If we could create one called something like Amipay or some other, we could make transactions here much easier. But I don't know much about on-line banking setup so maybe they're reasonable on their fees?
 

AndyLandy

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Okay seriously, we have some geniuses on this website, how hard would it be to set something up like pay pal where the fees wouldn't be so outrageous? They take upwards of 4 percent sometimes based on the amount you receive. It's crazy. If we could create one called something like Amipay or some other, we could make transactions here much easier. But I don't know much about on-line banking setup so maybe they're reasonable on their fees?

I'm afraid it really is a non-starter. First-off, accepting credit cards means a 2.5% surcharge anyway, which would have to be passed on. Secondly, it costs a fair chunk of change to be able to accept cards at all. Finally, the security complications involved in maintaining a reliable online money system is just asking for trouble. :-(

The idea is lovely, but it's out of our league, I'm afraid.
 

rkauer

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The credit card fee is dealt in a case-to-case basis.

For example, on my family shop Visa charges 3% in it's own, plus the monthly rent of the card machine, almost the same as other cards (Credicard, Mastercard, Amex).

On a small non-profit community as Amibay the costs will surpass the taxes of a Paypal a-like due the small transaction volumes and the number of C.C. "flags" we'll have to use. I know Europe uses at least one other credit card company, as Brazil have some local ones, too (the vast majority is debit cards, but they work here).

In the end of the day, accepting at least the major credit card companies will still make the security system here a complete nightmare.
 

chiark

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Okay seriously, we have some geniuses on this website, how hard would it be to set something up like pay pal where the fees wouldn't be so outrageous? They take upwards of 4 percent sometimes based on the amount you receive. It's crazy. If we could create one called something like Amipay or some other, we could make transactions here much easier. But I don't know much about on-line banking setup so maybe they're reasonable on their fees?

To process credit cards, you need a relationship with a merchant acquirer who'll process the transactions through the networks (visa/mastercard) for you. They charge a percentage of the transaction for credit cards, and that percentage can be from 1.5% to 5%+, depending on your risk profile, volume, and many other things.

All these transactions would be "cardholder not present" (CNP) which are inherently risky so you'd be into the thicker end of the acquirers fees.

What would be needed is a mechanism that relies on something other than credit cards, creating a genuine p2p payment scheme that is cleared using some form of free settlement. It needs to be global (or be able to scale to global), it needs to be fraud-resilient - or better still simply unattractive to fraudsters - and it needs to provide the right balance between seller and buyer for dispute management.

It's quite easy to think about and design what is needed, but it would be a nightmare to set up and manage: you're not the first person who's thought about this ;) . I did some consultancy for a small startup about 8 years ago trying to do just this...
...despite everyone wanting this, and wanting it to succeed, the barriers were practically insurmountable. And there's many players who simply would not want this to work, notably the banks themselves as the payment networks are some of their most precious things...
 
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