Amazon Currency Converter – Good or Bad?

All the products on Amazon UK are priced in Sterling but Amazon will use their currency converter to convert the order total to Euros if they see that your payment card is a Euro one.
You can turn off the Amazon Currency Converter – more about how to do that later.

Thousands of people in Ireland regularly shop on the Amazon UK website. A 2018 survey by PCW found that 25% of all Irish consumers shopped at Amazon at least weekly. That figure rose to 38% for 25 to 34-year-olds.
Brexit might result in fewer people in Ireland using Amazon UK – Read more here about Amazon UK and Brexit.

Most people probably just accept the Euro figure calculated by the Amazon Currency converter – but they probably don’t realise it will always end up costing them more than paying in Sterling.

If you choose to pay in Euro – you will see at the Amazon checkout a figure called the “Amazon exchange rate guarantee fee.” This will give you an idea of how much extra it could be costing you.

An example of Amazon Conversion Rates compared to Visa Rates.

Amazon UK Order Priced in Sterling – Debit Card is Euro:-

Order total on Amazon UK = £512.49 GBP
Amazon converted the total to €598.63 Euro

If you opted to pay in Sterling – with an Irish Visa Debit card you would have ended up paying €577.45. This is a saving of €21.18.

(These are the actual rates from Visa and Amazon UK on 14th June 2019)

If you used a debit card that does not charge foreign transaction fees – then €577.45 would be all you would have paid instead of €598.63 with Amazon’s rates. That’s €21.18 extra !

However – all the “main” Irish banks charge a foreign currency fee averaging 2% when you pay by card. But even after adding on a 2% fee in the above example – the total would come to €589. This would still be €9.63 cheaper than letting Amazon do the conversion.

The Debit Card from N26 is fee-free so is the Bunq Travel Card and Revolut card
(There are limits on fee free-spending with Revolut)

Someone from Ireland spending £2000 a year on Amazon UK – and opting to pay in Euros would end up overpaying by about €71. (Compared to paying in Sterling and using a fee-free card)

Our main message is :

  1. Do not let Amazon UK convert the price to Euros, always opt to pay in Sterling.
  2. Try to Pay with a card that does not charge foreign transaction fees (see below)

Cards With No Fees

N26 is an online bank that provides a debit card with no foreign currency spending fees.

A prepaid debit card is also available in Ireland from Revolut that also doesn’t charge fees when spending in non Euro currencies. (The free account does have a monthly fee free limit on spending)

If you often buy from other online shops in the UK or USA you could easily be paying out hundreds of euro a year in debit and credit card fees .

We estimate that Irish consumers paid currency conversion fees on debit and credit cards totalling around €62 Million in 2019.

See our Comparison of Revolut and N26

Tip: If you shop at Amazon fairly regularly – it could be well worth signing up to Amazon Prime which includes FREE priority delivery to Ireland.
You can get a FREE 30 day trial of Amazon here
Irish Students can get a 6 month free Prime trial here.

Another possible option to avoid any worries about currency conversion is to shop at Amazon Germany (available in English)
But they don’t do free delivery to Ireland.

See more here about Amazon Germany Delivery Charges to Ireland

More details about debit and credit card charges when shopping online outside the Eurozone.

How to Turn off the Amazon Currency Converter

  • Go to your Amazon Account – on the top menu hover over “Account and Lists” and then click on “My Account
  • On the Account Page – down at the bottom left under “Ordering and Shopping Preferences” – Click on “Amazon Currrency Converter
  • On the next page, you will see the option to turn OFF the Amazon Currency Converter. You will need to choose the option that says “ I want to see future payment totals and pay in the website’s currency”