DCC – What is it & what’s in it for merchants and consumers?

12 / 10 / 2022

Much has been made of whether Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC) is implemented for the benefit of customers or whether it is merely a way for merchants to exact additional charges and revenues from an unwary traveller through less than transparent fees, poor exchange rate conversion or similar.


In this Q&A Marc Docherty – Head of UK Acquiring at Worldline, addresses the most common concerns, tackles misconceptions and hopefully offers reassurances to those actively travelling for either business or pleasure. He believes DCC is indeed a 'power for good', being both a valuable addition to  customers’ purchasing options while also offering merchants a simple segue to an additional revenue stream at a time when international travel is returning with favourable conditions for those visiting the UK.

What exactly is DCC and how does it work?

Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC) enables customers to pay for their overseas purchase transactions in their native currency. This facility enables merchants to offer their international customers an attractive and transparent service in a way that suits the buyer, while simultaneously supplementing their own margin through additional commissions without additional costs.

The merchant's payment terminal (either POS or eCom) automatically recognises foreign cards and immediately gives those card holders the option of paying in their home currency. The exchange rate and the converted amount are always displayed and the best rates are guaranteed. Being able to see the price he is paying for his purchase in his own currency gives the customer both convenience and peace of mind.

What are the key benefits of DCC from a merchant's perspective?

  • The first key benefit is  greater customer satisfaction. As customers immediately know how much they are paying in their own  currency, they have total peace of mind with their purchase experience. By default, this invariably leads to fewer complaints. Likewise, in the case of guarantee claims, the acquirer takes over the communication between the parties involved to reach a satisfactory solution.

Customers can make an informed decision when selecting their preferred payment currency. As the terminal automatically updates the currency conversion rates daily,  merchants and customers offer and receive the fairest and most attractive exchange rate.

Lower transaction fees – as the terminal, rather than the bank, does the currency conversion; merchants profit from lower transaction fees.

What are the key benefits for consumers?

Generally, the foremost priority in a mind is the ultimate purchase cost. However, with the Worldline ‘best rate guarantee’ they can rest assured that they are getting the optimal rate available on the day of their purchase.

Corporate travellers will also benefit from seeing the information relating to the cost/expense available immediately as the amount in the card’s local currency is seen on the terminal from the outset.

Last, but certainly not least,  no additional costs are imposed upon the customer. The total cost and the prevailing exchange rate are both included on the terminal for the customer to see.

More specifically, how can DCC help merchants boost their customer service, revenue, and price transparency?

DCC enables merchants to provide their overseas customers great service by offering choice and complete transparency. The customer knows exactly what the price is at point of purchase and there are no hidden charges. DCC also offers a valuable additional revenue stream to the merchant as each transaction effectively equates to merchant payback. This is ultimately represented as a percentage figure, which, over the course of any timeframe, will invariably mount up and eventually represent a significant amount of welcome additional revenue, while concurrently delivering an improved customer experience.

What role does DCC play in helping merchants reduce chargebacks and disputes?

DCC generates fewer chargebacks and disputes as there are no hidden charges! As such the merchant knows exactly how much they’ll pay at the point of purchase and makes a conscious decision to accept DCC on the pin entry device (PED).

When should merchants consider offering DCC to customers? For example, do they need to know where a customer comes from in advance, or is there a threshold of overseas customer revenue that needs to be reached before warranting investment in DCC?

DCC-enabled PEDs will automatically recognise any customers paying with an overseas registered card type and offer the customer a DCC payment option, so no prior knowledge of a customer’s point of origin (or his card) is necessary. However, it has been clearly established that the take-up rate for the DCC service option significantly increases when  the acquirer provides proper training to merchants’ customer facing staff.

In other words, a sales representative who knows to offer DCC and can explain its advantages clearly to  customers is much more likely to persuade them to avail themselves of the service – thereby generating valuable additional revenue for the merchant with minimal effort, while enhancing customers’ sales experience and satisfaction.

There has been some criticism of DCC for offering uncompetitive exchange rates and being there purely for the benefit of merchants – why should consumers consider DCC if it invariably costs them more?

While DCC is not always necessarily the cheapest option for customers, conversely it does not invariably cost them more, depending on exchange rate fluctuations. As alluded to above, DCC offers customers what they increasingly want from the sales experience. This includes complete transparency, no hidden charges, reduced transaction fees, regular updated conversion rates and the Worldline ‘best rate guarantee’.

Customers retain the option to pay in the local currency and potentially see exchange rates moving against them without the comfort of knowing exactly what each purchase is costing them at that precise moment in time.

Customers come first and the Worldline payment solution ultimately provides for whatever the customer prefers.

Download our DCC information sheet


Marc Docherty

Marc Docherty

Head of UK Acquiring / Large - Strategic Business, at Worldline
Marc Docherty is Head of UK Acquiring / Large - Strategic Business, at Worldline. With more than 20 years’ experience working for blue chip organisations within the banking and payments sector, including Bank of Scotland, RBS, Barclaycard, AMEX and Visa, Marc’s expertise lies in business banking, factoring and invoice discounting, and cross border payments. He also has extensive experience in acquiring, having focused on the large corporate sector across the UK and Europe for several years. Marc is passionate about driving solutions that deliver real value to customers whilst helping organisations reduce complexity and enhance the customer experience by providing a complete end-to-end payment solution.