5 online shopping tips to save you money.

Chee-Xuan Tang
03.06.20
4 minute read

While you do your part to stay home, you might be shopping more online. See how you can save money and shop safely with your TransferWise debit card.

1. Always pay in the local currency

When spending online from overseas, some sites might ask if you want to pay in your home currency (AUD) or the merchant’s local currency (e.g. USD if based in the US).

Always choose to pay in the currency of the country you’re buying from — in this case USD. If you choose to pay in your home currency and let the merchant convert it, you could be paying a 8% Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC) fee. On top of that, you will be charged additional foreign transaction fees imposed by your bank since the transaction is conducted with an overseas merchant.

It’s often more costly to pay in your home currency than in a foreign currency. So always check before you make payment and choose to pay in foreign currency!

2. Avoid sneaky exchange rate markup

When paying in foreign currencies using a bank card, you’d often incur an “exchange rate markup” fee. This is a hidden fee which is not transparently disclosed in your statements. Your card statements would display your transactions in the foreign currency and the equivalent in your home currency, without revealing the exchange rate they used.

The “real exchange rate” also known as the “mid-market rate” refers to the mid-point between the BUY and SELL rates on the global currency markets. This constantly fluctuates based on market activities and is the rate you find on Reuters, Google etc. This is the rate that TransferWise uses when you pay using your TransferWise card in foreign currencies. We display our low conversion fees upfront, with nothing to hide.

Most banks add a hidden markup to the exchange rate they offer you. For example, if the real exchange rate is 1 AUD : 0.65 USD, your bank may add a 6% exchange rate mark up and offer you an exchange rate of 1 AUD : 0.61 USD.

To illustrate, if you bought a pair of shoes that cost 200 USD on Amazon US, you’d save 20 AUD by using a TransferWise card on exchange rate alone. Here’s how:

With the real exchange rate, you pay the equivalent of 200 USD / 0.65 = 307.69 AUD

With the bank’s mark up in exchange rate, you pay the equivalent of 200 USD / 0.61 = 327.86 AUD

3. Avoid foreign transaction fees

Take note of foreign transaction fees charged by your bank cards. This is often disclosed in your banks’ terms and conditions which can be found online. As long as you’re making a purchase from a merchant outside of your country, regardless whether you’re paying in your home currency or the merchant’s local currency, most banks charge what’s known as foreign or international transaction fee, which often ranges from 2-5% of the total transaction amount.

If you have a bank issued Visa, Mastercard of American Express credit/debit card, you’ll be hit with these international transaction fees which only show up on your bank statement after your purchase is complete.

Avoid getting surprised by foreign transaction fees in your bills by paying for overseas purchases using the TransferWise card - enjoy zero foreign transaction fees, no annual fees, with low and transparent currency conversion fees.

4. Use discount codes and cashback websites

Besides saving on DCC fees, foreign transaction fees and exchange rate mark ups, you can save even more using discount codes and cashback websites.

Coupon codes

We’ve compiled a list of coupon or promo codes for you to enjoy further savings on your purchases with your TransferWise Platinum debit Mastercard®.

Beauty Expert: 22% off sitewide with MCBE22. From now till 30-04-2021.
BNKR: 20% off full priced items with REWARD20. From now till 30-04-2021.
Farfetch: 10% off selected full priced items with MASTERCARD10 with a minimum spend. From now till 31-12-2020.
Myprotein: 40% off purchases with MCMP40. From now till 2021-04-30.
Vinomofo: 30 AUD off orders above 250 AUD with VINO30. From now till 31-03-2021.

Get more deals here.

Cashback sites

A cashback website gives you rebates based on a percentage of your transaction amount each time you purchase with its partner merchants through its website. You can then cash out on your rebates after the merchant validates that your transactions are completed and your rebates will be credited to your chosen bank account.

Online merchants offer commissions to partners, such as cashback websites who send customers to their online store. These merchants then pay the cashback websites a percentage of total sale made from the customers. In return, the cashback websites then pass on a portion of these commissions to customers like you.

It’s a smart way for you to save even more on your purchases, especially if you were going to make the purchase with a specific merchant anyway.

Check out cashback websites such as Shopback, Cash Rewards and Cashback Club to start enjoying these rebates.

5. Shop securely and receive up-to-date notifications

You can approve online payments in the TransferWise app, by text or call with our 3D Secure authentication feature. This way, you can shop with a peace of mind and we can make sure that it’s you making the payment.

Receive instant push and email notifications from us for every payment you make with your TransferWise card. If something doesn’t seem right, you can freeze your card immediately in the app and tell us about it.

Searching for the best credit card or debit card for online shopping? Look out for all the fees mentioned above and make a smart choice.

Don’t have a TransferWise card? Sign up now to shop online with zero foreign transaction fees, pay using the real exchange rate with low conversion fees.

TransferWise is the smart, new way to send money abroad.

Find out more

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