Paying for something online in foreign currency


Hi there,

I was wondering if there was any benefit of using my Starling debut card for an online card transaction billed in USD compared to my legacy bank (Santander)?

Or is it the payment processor (I think it’s Stripe in this case) that determines the GBP amount and thus there’s no difference?


I’m guessing it depends on the rates. My current legacy bank charges me a fee in addition to the exchange rate for using my card for online transactions for USD so that and with Starling being in real time makes it the obvious choice.

Someone else might be to advise who determines the fee for online?


If your card is charged in the local currency e.g. USD or EUR then Starling will convert to GBP using MasterCard exchange rates.

If the transaction processor converts the sum from USD or EUR etc into GBP and charges the card in GBP instead of local currency the conversion will be done by them at a worse rate and be outside the control of Starling.

In theory either in the online ordering system prior to entering card payment details or when entering card payment details it should advise you of any currency convertion and if fully compliant with MasterCard Merchant agreements they should give you the choice to accept or decline any currency conversion.

Normally it is best to decline currency conversion offers and let transaction go thru in the non-GBP currency.

If they fail to notify you of the currency conversion then this is technically grounds for a potential claim back under the card scheme rules.


I’ve used my Starling card a few times in different currencies, mainly with Amazon, I select to use my cards rate rather than Amazon’s exchange rate, and I’ve saved money every single time doing it that way.