Fx rate of a transaction


I was going round in circles with support on this, you don’t realise how bad the support is until you use it! They told me it’s my responsibility to monitor transactions! (Which is completely irrelevant)

Is the fx rate used the one of the pending transaction or the confirm one?

I’m seeing my balance change day to day without any new transactions happening, I’m assuming it’s the fx rates changing. Any know for sure?


It’s a bit of a pain because I round my account to 0 each day into goals. But this ends up giving me a negative balance the next day.


My understanding is that the rate isn’t truly settled for around 5 days.

Monzo has a similar problem with their Coin Jar (automatic rounding up to the nearest pound).

It rounds up there and then, but when the foreign transaction finally settles 5 days later, the exchange rate could be different, leaving a negative (or sometimes positive) balance in the main account.


When you spend abroad the exchange rate is only set when the transacation is actually settled by the merchant. The initial rate you see while the transacation is pending is purely an indication of the value.


I guess this is were Revolut wins because I can lock in the exchange rate and not carry the fx risk.


Yeah, it would be cool if Starling gave you the choice to lock in on the day of transaction or the day of settlement.


Hi Mark, thanks for reaching out. The fx rate used is the one when the payment is settled not when it is first processed. The fx rate fluctuates in-app which is why it’s changing day to day in your balance.


I had the exact same predicament recently.

Revolut will win if you can lock in a good exchange rate, and don’t mind keeping the currency in your account for a while (it’s not going to fluctuate massively over a week or two… in general).

If it’s a case of… “I’m going away for a week… do I lock in the currency with Revolut first, or “wing” it with Starling”, I’d say wing it!

The ease of use, better support (in general), and the fact it’s your current account, rather than a pre paid account which might be used sparingly, is what made me choose Starling for my holiday.

Plus, if you haven’t already locked in the currency with Revolut before you travel, there is always a chance that by the time the foreign transactions are processed, the exchange rate might actually be better.

Although, realistically, it won’t be much better or much worse than the week before.


Some would see this as a negative, but it also works the other way around. Sometimes the rate that settles is better.


I think this is an irrelevant argument though as it’s out of Starling’s hands here?

Negative or positive, there’s nothing they can do about this - Showing the current FX rate at least gives you an idea of what it’ll be (and it’s not going to fluctuate too much).

The only negative is for “rounding up” your account to a whole number (which would be combatted by doing the rounding up once you are back in the UK, and all transactions were processed).

Given the cheap rates, and the ease of use - This is a non issue for me.


I wouldn’t say it’s out of their hands… They could decide to provide a lock in for the rate on the day of the transacation for customers. Obviously this means Starling would carry a financial risk day-to-day as the exchange rates fluctuate, sometimes they’d win sometimes they’d lose…


I mean… Yeah, they could.

But I wouldn’t expect them to carry that risk at all - It just seems unnecessary.

If they release FX accounts, all of these “issues” will go away anyway!


I didn’t realise this was the case but I’ve just checked a €349 transaction on my account. At the time Starling indicated the value was £308.41 and I now see it’s been updated to £310.22 which is not an insignificant shift. Slightly more annoying the purchase was for a friend who paid me based on the value Starling advised at the time

Do all banks operate this way? To the best of my knowledge this never happened with my Lloyds Bank credit card


Yep, I’ve always had this experience with legacy banks - it’s not as obvious as quite often the transacation doesn’t show up until it’s actually been finalised anyway…


You probably didn’t see the pending transaction only the finalised transaction with the final exchange rate


I agree about giving the option to lock in. I had the same experience when travelling to Cyprus a few weeks back - the transaction shows up and then the rates fluctuates for a few days before confirming.

A lock-in option at any point when the transaction is pending would be awesome. The customer could choose whether to take the risk of the lock-in, or the risk of the unknown rate at the unknown point of confirmation.

Even better would be on the lock-in option screen, the app presenting you with a little FX rate graph, showing the prices over the last week or so (maybe even showing what the range of values of your purchase would have been in GBP), so you can make a more informed decision.


I love the idea of an FX graph - But I feel this might complicate it for a lot of users.

If you want to “lock it in”, Revolut is the way to go.


Does Revolut not require you to pre-purchase currency though? I don’t want to have to buy a load of currency I might not use.


Yeah, but that’s the only way you are going to “lock it in”.

I assume (perhaps wrongly), that if you simply paid for things using your Revolut card… it would lock the FX at the time of transaction?

I guess you’d need money in either your FX or GBP account.

@MIROW will know more about that one.

Richard - If you had say… £100 in your Revolut GBP account, and bought something for €50 in Spain - Would it take money from your GBP account to cover the transaction, and whatever the FX rate at the time (weekend aside), would be the FX rate you’d get?


Hi. I personally can not advise on Revolut as I do not use it. This was a conscious decision on my part as I do not like fixed rates. I find from experience that variable or floating rates are best. To ensure companies do not lose out when fixing rates they normally weight their exchange rate slightly. With Revolut this is exaggerated at weekends so the product is only really usable 5 days out of 7.

In my opinion it is better to have some transactions drop slightly in value and other go up slightly in value than have a fixed rate.

If you want to fix a rate rather than do it on a per transaction basis like Revolut you can buy currency in advance of your holiday on WeSwap and fix it all at one rate (whereas the Revolut fixed rate will vary per transaction) and the more advance notice you give for the purchase the better the rate you can get. You pick a timescale for the exchange to be finalised and depending which duration you chose you get offered different discounts.