How does currency conversion rate work?

Im currently abroad, and today I payed 3 times in 3 different shops in a range of 1h. The result was 3 different rates (EUR to BGN) which varied from quite good rate to not good to avarage. So how exactly this conversion rate works? If there is such rapid variance where I can see the current rate to decide if it is ok to use Curve ot not?

@Curve_Marie ?


I believe they use the rate MasterCard gives at that time.
It can be found here.


But if they can implement that into the app itself, that would be golden.

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Strange that MC rates can be such variable in such short time of 1h

They use the interbank rate as opposed to the mastercard exchange rate.

I’m not aware of where this can be checked, but I agree it would be helpful to see these in app

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Curve uses interbank rate, which is the same you see on Google, for example. can also give you history with accuracy of 10 minutes.
Trying to figure out if the rate is going up or down is near impossible, and in the long run slight losses and wins would likely even out.
So unless you have a huge purchase that can wait, and a strong hunch about upcoming rate change (eg GBP will likely weaken against EUR in case of no-deal brexit, so you might want to wait with purchasing that Bentley), you should just take what is offered at the moment.

Yes, would be really helpful!
Revolut shows it for each currency they support.

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Can you share the rates you got? EUR to BGN should be pretty stable so I am curious what you call bad rate.

Actually, after a closer look, I was not right :slight_smile: every time I got better rates from my underlying card :slight_smile:

I got almost all the time (POS and ATM) ~1.954-1.957 and if I use my underlying card it will be fixed 1.96 :slight_smile:

Depends on the underlying card many charge fees for oversees transactions such as gbp card used in Eurozone areas or Eurozone card used in gbp areas so using curve actually benefits me for starters I’m UK resident with accounts at permanent tsb in Ireland cards are euro currency and give 10c (€0.10) back per debit card transaction (can include atm withdrawals if used through curve) but charge min of 46c (€0.46) per transaction in another currency that’s not the Euro so benefits me using my accounts with curve as I can use them more in the UK as wouldn’t use underlying card in UK as it will cost a lot for the amount of use I do but monzo don’t charge for using your card in any country unless you go over the free £200 overseas atm limit though Virgin Money give you free overseas debit card transactions but charge you if you use a overseas atm machine.

Curve will charge different to revolut or transferwise when doing currency conversion using their own cards and all will be different to the MasterCard and visa rates aswell as they all have their own policy on how they are charged and when they are updated and not all will match live rates exactly. Revolut change rate at weekend to benefit them and transferwise always have their rate that includes a fee like you change money from gbp to euro in app is same rate doing same purchasing in euros using gbp balance using your card and your underlying card issuer might add a tiny fee to the rate so you get charged more

Between 1.954 and 1.957 seems like a fair rate similar to what tells you (and also makes sense since BGN was tied to the DM which is 1.95583 to the EUR).

If your bank gives you 1.96 BGN to the EUR without any fees that is great but seems to be unusual.

Also note that we are talking about a difference of around 0.2% here so hardly a lot of difference.

And to confirm, your card is in EUR and you made a transaction in BGN?

Because if it is the opposite way 1.957 is better than 1.96

No, my card is in BGN and I made a transaction in EUR.
-Curve give me 1,95
-If I use my bare underlying card in the shop my bank will exchange it for fixed 1,96 every time

So I’m happy :slight_smile:

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It seems to be not quite as simple as the interchange rate. I recently made a (weekday) transaction in South African Rand and wasn’t impressed with the Curve exchange rate. I raised a support ticket and was told:

We use a wholesale rate called Currency Layer that is sourced from a very broad base of commercial sources and banks around the world, and is refreshed every hour. It’s much cheaper than high street banks - you’ll save around 3-5% on each transaction using Curve. It’s refreshed every hour so it will change when compared to a rate that is only updated once a day (like the MasterCard rate). We will be more expensive for some transactions and much cheaper on others.

In my example it was about 1.8% worse than the interchange rate. ZAR 5,070.44 was charged as £276.98. This was an exchange rate of ZAR:GBP of 18.31. However the mid-market rates quoted by and Revolut both give rates of 18.66 - over £5 cheaper.

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For comparison, I checked the current rates with XE and Revolut, who also claim to offer live mid-market rates.

Currently, for 5070.44 ZAR:

  • gives 272.771
  • Revolut gives 272.79

So about 2p difference, which is less than the minute-to-minute fluctuation. I can’t do a live comparison with Curve without actually making a purchase, but your example certainly suggests their exchange rate is weaker.

Honestly, the best solution would be if Curve settled on Mastercard rates. The rate’s good, predictable and no weekend problems.


5,93 EUR
Google: 5,2785 GBP
Curve: 5,29 GBP.

Lost 0,0115 GBP.
Not very interbankie.