Rail Europe transaction fees

Print this page
Create an account to receive an e-mail when someone replies to this thread
Posts: 20
paddington
paddington
239 posts
active member
May 1, 2019 - 9:31 AM

I thought I should warn people who are intending to buy from RailEurope that although they have a local website (.au), an Australian email contact address and have all prices on the website in AUD they charge you in a foreign currency. Their terms and conditions say "price is indicated in local currency" which I thought to mean AUD. I am not sure which currency it was as they don't even tell the bank. My bank states it is "a multi currency international transaction" where they usually say the currency.

I am usually pretty savvy about these things as I have a fee free credit card for international transactions and always use it if I know it is a foreign transaction.

I know it is my fault but I just thought it may help someone else if they know that they have to use an international fee free card for transactions with RailEurope.

Arno
Arno
13204 posts
expert &
moderator
May 1, 2019 - 1:37 PM

Hi Paddington,

That sounds like an unexpected issue indeed. Just to make sure I understand: you paid the expected amount in AUD and that was the charged amount as well, but still your Australian bank processed it as an international transaction, and therefore added a fee?

paddington
paddington
239 posts
active member
May 1, 2019 - 8:08 PM in reply to Arno

The raileurope site said it was AUD (no indication of any other currency) and I paid with a normal bank credit card (charges a fee for international transactions). When it came up on my statement the bank showed it as an international transaction.

I contacted raileurope (on an Australian email address) and they said the terms and conditions state the they will charge the “local currency” which I took to mean local to me but is obviously local to wherever they actually have their banking facilities.

I still don’t know what currency they use as raileurope didn’t answer that question. The bank said it was a “multi currency” transaction which I’ve never seen before. So I’m suggesting everyone should use an international fee free transaction credit card with every raileurope transaction.

Last modified on May 1, 2019 - 8:13 PM by paddington
Maria
Maria
818 posts
top member
May 2, 2019 - 1:04 PM

Hi Paddington thanks for the input to warn other travellers!

I think this may be a wording issue - generally when sites in Europe ask if you want to pay in local currency or mention the transaction will be made in local currency, it means the currency local to the establishment or hotel, so their warning would have been right in this instance.

However I can see how it would be very confusing if all along the site is showing you the amount in AUD, plus there is an office as well in Australia.

Thank you for your feedback.

Maria.

Isobel
Isobel
43 posts
active member
May 2, 2019 - 1:26 PM in reply to paddington

Hi Paddington, Thank you for alerting me, although it is too late for me too. I ordered Swiss Travel Pass Flex 15 day on 17 April from raileurope.com.au. who state they are Melbourne based. The transaction appeared on our credit card statement on 23 April, and only just now after seeing your post, and checking credit card statement, I realise that on top of the A$1514.00 paid, there is also an International transaction fee of A45.42. I was not expecting that. So yes, everyone needs to be warned. I did not even know it was possible to get international transaction fee free credit cards. We've paid hundreds of dollars I'm sure in recent years in these fees. What an eye opener this forum is!! I shall definitely look into a fee free credit card for international transactions promptly. A huge thank you to you. Regards Isobel.

Arno
Arno
13204 posts
expert &
moderator
May 2, 2019 - 3:15 PM

Thanks everyone for your input. I will pass this on to Rail Europe. I recommend to carefully check what happens with "fee free" credit cards too. Banks need to make money, and they may then apply an exchange rate that is clearly in their favor in case of a payment in any foreign currency. Just something to keep an eye on, as these costs are even more hidden.

Last modified on May 2, 2019 - 3:16 PM by Arno
rockoyster
rockoyster
6222 posts
expert
May 2, 2019 - 9:04 PM in reply to Isobel

Hi Isobel,

You may be interested in this www.choice.com.au/trav el/money/travel-money/articles/travel-money-cards.

At the end of the day, no matter what happens, you can be assured that the banks win.

paddington
paddington
239 posts
active member
May 3, 2019 - 1:52 AM in reply to Isobel

Hi Isobel,

So sorry my warning was too late. Yes, I got caught thinking they were Melbourne based.

We have a 28degree credit card which is a mastercard and you can use it in Australia or anywhere overseas with no transaction fees. They do, of course, have an exchange rate which must include their fee but it is really low. I have compared it to NAB and CBA and the exchange rate is far and away better - it is equivalent to the XE currency conversion rates on the day of the transaction. The 28*card has no annual fee and has 55 days before you have to pay to avoid interest charges. If you use a standard credit card overseas they charge an exchange rate AND a 3.5% fee plus an annual fee.

You used to be able to put cash in and use it as a fee free ATM card but they changed that and now we have a citibank plus everyday account which is also a fee free account. You put AUD in and you can get it out at ATMs overseas in the local currency of that ATM. The exchange rate is exceptionally good and it is applied on the day you withdraw the cash. There are no charges to put money in or take it out and there is only one currency (AUD) in the account (unlike the travel cards). When you come back to Australia you can withdraw all your money down to $1 and just have it sit until you next go overseas. There is a list of all the ATMs in every country (and they are very widespread) where it can be used for free (no ATM fees) but you can use it at any ATM if you are desperate.

We usually travel with 8 others and they all had different methods of getting money (from cash before the trip to other cards) and both these cards are so good that they have just about all been converted. One guy stubbornly wants to only use one bank account for everything and is prepared to pay. As you know it can cost $400-$800 or more in fees on a four week holiday overseas.

You can apply for both of these cards online and via phone very speedily. Worth looking into.

Last modified on May 3, 2019 - 1:58 AM by paddington
rockoyster
rockoyster
6222 posts
expert
May 3, 2019 - 2:47 AM in reply to paddington

You've won me. 🤓

The CBA Travel Card we used last time looked good on paper. No ATM of overseas transaction fees but the exchange rates were rubbish.

paddington
paddington
239 posts
active member
May 3, 2019 - 9:16 AM

Just want to make sure the details I referred to above are clear.

There are usually two charges for ATMs. The bank that owns the card and the bank that owns the ATM.

For Citibank plus card doesn't charge ATM fees for withdrawals from Cirrus, maestro or mastercard ATMs. And Citibank doesn't charge ATM fees from their own ATMs internationally. (It is free in Australia from any ATM).

BUT if you withdraw money from an overseas ATM which is not a citibank ATM that bank may charge an ATM fee (I don't know how to look this up but once I find a bank in a country that doesn't charge I keep going to those ATMs). While some countries have lots of citibank ATMs there are none in Switzerland! I don't know what the banks in Switzerland will charge to withdraw from their ATMs.

One other feature of this account is you can send or receive money anywhere in the world without transfer fees. I had a USD cheque for $100 and the CBA was going to charge me $35 plus a shocking exchange rate to deposit it. I deposited it in the Citibank account for free at a good exchange rate.

I am not affiliated with Citibank and I am eager to hear if there is a better international alternative.

Isobel
Isobel
43 posts
active member
May 3, 2019 - 12:30 PM in reply to paddington

Hi again Paddington, thanks for all the info. One of our sons who travels overseas a lot also was telling me last night about 28 degrees and Citibank. I will go online at the first opportunity re both these. Best wishes, Isobel

Isobel
Isobel
43 posts
active member
May 3, 2019 - 12:40 PM in reply to rockoyster

Hi Paddington, thanks for the Choice link - have read it too. It's the 28 degrees credit card and Citibank debit accountI I will look at over the weekend. Our son also recommended Bankwest Zero Platinum credit card as fee free so will check that out online too. Best wishes for your Swiss travels. Isobel

Arno
Arno
13204 posts
expert &
moderator
May 15, 2019 - 9:13 AM

Hi Paddington,

I found out that Rail Europe purchases are considered domestic in Canada and the US, and international in other countries. It then depends on the bank of the client if and how much costs are involved.

If you are willing to share your order number I might be able to find out more details for your specific case.

paddington
paddington
239 posts
active member
May 16, 2019 - 6:26 AM in reply to Arno

Hi Arno,

Our order no is: 132117704

See their explanation for the charges in the email above.

It was not clear to me that their reference to "local currency" in their terms and conditions was not referring to AUD since the website was Australian and their email address was Australian. I should have taken the time to ask via email but I was worried that their "special" would run out and I was quite certain in my own mind that it must be AUD. I am going to talk to Dept of fair trading about the lack of transparency on their site.

Isobel
Isobel
43 posts
active member
May 16, 2019 - 9:32 AM in reply to paddington

Good on you Paddington! I may do the same - refer them to Fair Trading. Regards, Isobel

paddington
paddington
239 posts
active member
May 16, 2019 - 10:47 AM

I think the relevant department will be the ACCC.

Arno
Arno
13204 posts
expert &
moderator
May 28, 2019 - 9:41 AM

Hi Paddington,

I asked Rail Europe to look into this. They did but could not find your order number. They said it should start with a 4. If you don't have such a number they can check what happened based on your e-mail address, but only if you allow me to pass that on to my contact at Rail Europe (assuming that your e-mail used at MySwissAlps is the one you filled out at Rail Europe too). I hope to clear up how this works at their end.

paddington
paddington
239 posts
active member
May 29, 2019 - 10:28 PM

Hi Arno,

Yes please. It is the same email. Tomorrow I will see if there are any other numbers on the form but I don’t thinks so. It was through the Australian site.

Last modified on May 29, 2019 - 10:28 PM by paddington
paddington
paddington
239 posts
active member
May 30, 2019 - 1:18 AM

OT 4180 2602 3400

Hi Arno

i also found this number on our pass confirmation.

Thank you.

Arno
Arno
13204 posts
expert &
moderator
May 30, 2019 - 6:19 AM in reply to paddington

Thank you Paddington, I'll pass the number on to them.

More about Swiss trains and rail passes

More on MySwissAlps.com

Get a free account to plan your trip

Planning your trip is much easier with a free MySwissAlps account. Learn all about Switzerland and get in touch with us quickly if you have questions.

Learn more

Get a customized itinerary for your trip

Let Swiss travel consultants create a customized itinerary. They will book your entire trip.

More
© MySwissAlps.com 2002-2019