Ask A Broadsheet Reader

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Alan O’Regan writes:

“This may be a dumb question but An Post doesn’t seem to want to answer me. What is the reason credit cards can’t be used to buy foreign currency in post offices? I can’t seem to find a good reason online.”

Anyone?

46 thoughts on “Ask A Broadsheet Reader

  1. Benz

    fraud. If the credit card bounces the post office won’t find out for a week or two. by which time you’ll likely have left the premises…

    1. The Old Boy

      Correct. The UK Post Office is the same. No foreign exchange or postal orders other than by cash payment. Unlike An Post, that will take a debit card, in the UK they won’t take plastic at all.

      1. G

        This is wrong actually, I live in the UK and was able to use my debit card in the Post Office for foreign exchange providing I had photo ID with me.

  2. Cian

    Two issues.

    1: There’s a % charge to the retailer on credit cards and a fixed fee on debit cards.

    2: It is, effectively, a cash advance so your credit card supplier would be within their rights to insist on charging a cash advance fee and interest immediately, depending on your card contract.

  3. Matthew

    Seems pretty simple to me – if you could buy cash directly with a stolen credit card, you’d have the perfect money laundering scheme. No surprise to me that An Post wouldn’t allow it.

    1. scottser

      more to the point, buying foreign currency – as in, i’m going to sod off to another country as soon as you hand over the wedge.

  4. Mikeyfex

    Not being smart, do they have to tell you why they don’t provide a particular service like this?

        1. andydufresne2011

          So whenever we ask a question we should be happy with the answer ‘because’?

          Judging by people’s answers it seems to be both a % charge and card fraud thing. Both perfectly logical answers.

          1. Martin Heavy-guy

            A lot of the time the communication department are told not to publicly make statements in case they say it slightly wrong. We all know social media is a harsh judge – to protect themselves an Post are presumably just using a stock answer.

          2. Andy

            Given this guy was a big enough whinge to go to broadsheet, had they said fraud he’d probably be on claiming An Post called him a fraudster.

    1. scottser

      sure, the job-bridge scheme is the saving of an post – them lads simply can’t afford to drink on the job.

  5. Anne

    Life is full of unanswered questions…

    Like when my mobile broadband provider decided to stop offering unlimited data on my dongle thingy.. The only honest answer I got from someone in customer care was, coz they want to make more money from you. That’s usually the answer to most questions..

    1. Clampers Outside!

      I prefer straight up answers like that, and they should be used all the time.

      it’s better than when stock exchange listed companies use phrases like “we care” and “customer first”…. phrases which will be banned from use by corporations in Clampers country !! ….someday…

      1. Disasta

        Ah living the dream.

        Where a company couldn’t create another little sub-company under another name to take the fall for it.

        Ah living the dream.

      2. Anne

        Yeah, U.S. companies are the worst for using the inane business slogans.

        I suppose you have to go along with it.. ‘we care’ and all that malarky. They can’t exactly say, we could barely give a fupp like.

  6. Slightly Bemused

    I had a similar problem on time trying to buy a TV license with my credit card (VISA in this case). Similar response: they only can accept VISA Debit.

    Not sure if it is policy, technical or (as mentioned above) fraud related, but to my mind, not a real issue.

  7. Starina

    An Post only accepts cash or cash-like, presumably to keep their books straight. It’s the same reason you can’t buy the Lotto with a credit card.

  8. maccers

    SPAR on Camden st won’t let you buy cigarettes on credit card (the lady thought my debit card was a credit card) but the staff didn’t know why, although I could buy other stuff apparently. Are credit cards being squeezed out by retailers, is it a secret revolution. All these arbitrary rules stress me out!

    1. Birneybau2

      The profit margin on cigarettes is pretty low.

      Credit card usage incurs a charge for retailer.

      ?????????

      No profit.

  9. Frenchfarmer

    You might need to check this; but most of us in France just use a cash machine to get money from Britain and get commercial rates.
    I don’t see why you would want to buy sterling before travelling and also travelling with lots of cash means that, if you get robbed, it’s gone.

  10. Ben

    They did answer you – you can only purchase foreign currency with a DEBIT card – your Mastercard is a CREDIT card.

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