Foreign Exchange Rates


Just to be absolutely clear and for the avoidance of all doubt etc.(Sorry if this is a dopey enquiry).

There’s a lot of chat here about using the card abroad much of which, rightly, is around accessing ATMs and avoiding fees and contactless v chip&pin.

On the FX front:

  1. Does a Mastercard debit card attract the same FX rates as a Mastercard credit card?
  2. If so does that extend to online purchases (I’m thinking of foreign hotel bookings particularly).

I know both features work with Revolut. Love this to be the case with my Starling card.

Understanding Purchase Exchange Rate - Rate changes after purchase

1 - Exchange rate is the same with Mastercard credit and debit cards. Actual rate can be found at
2 - Online purchases would get this rate as Starling doesn’t add any fees to the MasterCard Exchange rate.


Much obliged for this @walderston.


Related to this, it would be great if Starling could have a page or area in the app that shows the current foreign exchange rates. It shouldn’t be necessary for people to go to the MasterCard website to find this out.


I think Revolut set thier own exchange rates based on the spot price(but not at weekends), rather than using the Mastercard ones


Yes, with Revolut, you get to lock in funds at the current rate. Beware weekends where a markup is applied to cover any fx variance.

Revolut get a lot of bad press, but so long as you don’t need customer support, the service is simple and works.


I have been in Portugal this week, where I used a ATM to withdraw 50 in €uros.

The Portuguese bank offered to make the transaction in GB£ sterling with a foreign exchange rate of €1.02 per £1.00 !!!

By selecting to make the transaction in €uros, Starling Bank made the transaction at the MasterCard rate of €1.10/£1.00 = £45.26 - a saving of £4 for just this 1 transaction!


They use mastercard rate exchange.


Interesting article from Revolut. Covered, I know, in a number of threads but this packages it rather well.


I actually had to buy something from another Amazon site and the transaction was in euro, I declined to let Amazon convert into sterling using there exchange range and I got an extra 10c per pound spent by using the Starling rate. That’s a big difference. First time I’m used it for a foreign transaction and I’m happy with how that worked.


Nice. I’m due to make a hotel booking in euros. This’ll be the first time I’ll have paid a euro bill online with euros.

I wonder how much I’ve unnecessarily spent in the past paying in sterling and having it converted. :triumph:


Just got back from holiday. Same day paid with Nationwide credit card for car rental. And for other things with starling card. Starling initially tracked at 1.13 only later to be fixed at 1.11. Was told be customer service (brilliant chat device by the way) that Mastercard only 3 days later settle transaction. Now on Nationwide card which is Visa you can not see pending transactions. Which is a shame. But when appeared on the statement exchange rate was 1.12. A bit disappointed as Mastercard rate is supposed ro be better.


Actually Nationwide Visa rate was 1.259 against Mastercards 1.11. That is in Euros


I’d really like to be able to view my balance in the currency of the country I’m in. It would be nice to be able to add this to the home screen.


Beware of Starling Bank misleading information!

Just transfered to the company EUR and lost £800 due to the awful exchange rate GBP/EUR 1.16 comparing to official and advertised mastercard rate of 1.13.

Starling promotes no fees, but actually the fees are huge!

So dissapointed! Customer service is awful!


I believe the only reference there are to no fees are in relation to actually using the card. If doing a bank transfer abroad, then of course the mastercard rate doesn’t apply as you’re not using the card.

Am I right?



I am just trying to work out the best way to take money abroad as me and my fiance are travelling to Australia for 3 weeks in October. obviously we dont want to take and carry 3 weeks money with us. Starling seems the best option as there are

  1. no ATM fees
  2. no Non sterling transaction fees

also the MasterCard exchange is better then travel x which is were i would normally get my currency from.

i am new to all of this and was just hoping for some guidance/advice. am i understanding it properly

thanks in advance for any help

kind regards


unfortunately relying on a debit card abroad is risky as many places (e.g. hotels) won’t accept them, but for withdrawing cash starling’s is brilliant


while Starling may not charge any ATM fees some ATM operators may still charge fees


with some bankcards:
cash $150
atm operator fee $1.50
your bank’s fee $1.50
you pay $153

with Starling
cash $150
atm operator fee $1.50
Starling fees NONE $0.00
you pay $151.50 not $150

These are imaginary figures to explain the point, but in some parts of the world particularly outside Europe there may be charges to use an ATM.

In some regions they charge all foreign cards but not cards that are part of a local network (e.g. their equivalent of LINK), in other places even locals are charged when using an ATM from another bank not their own.

One thing always to remember is to withdraw in the local currency and pay in the local currency. If an ATM lets you withdraw the local currency but offers to bill you in Pounds decline that offer.

The rates of exchange Starling use are more favourable than those normally offered by ATM as so called Dynamic Currency Conversion is normally a rip off as they add a profit margin to the exchange rate.

Dynamic Currency Conversion may also be offered at POS in shop terminals as well as at ATM. Again, decline this to use the standard Mastercard exchange rate rather than any mark up offered by the terminal operator.


our hotels are already sorted. we will just need to withdraw cash/pay for meals as apposed to having cash on us. the exchange rate is favorable as well. Starling it is.