How to avoid Paypal’s foreign currency fees by changing your billing currency – earn more points or save money

This tip isn’t strictly about earning more points, but does relate to managing the payments from your points-earning credit cards more effectively. I’ve run it before, but the process has changed a little and it’s also definitely worth reminding you of too.

When buying items on eBay, you’re usually going to be using Paypal as a payment method. If buying from overseas sellers, Paypal defaults to converting the foreign currency price of the goods to AUD when using a Visa or MasterCard – but the exchange rate is pretty unappealing.

A number of Visa / MasterCard options offer bonus points on overseas transactions, or no foreign exchange fees – and you’ll probably want to have Paypal set to the foreign currency, not AUD.

If you have a card like those in the list below, setting your card not to be billed in AUD should trigger bonus points, or minimise the foreign exchange fees.

Paypal make this hard to change, and it’s not an option in the checkout process – but here’s how.

The screenshots below are from my Paypal account which is enabled for Paypal Business. The exact positioning of these links varies in personal accounts – I’ve described them, thanks to commenters, below.


The easy way

Initially, try following this link to your paypal account. For those who would prefer to copy / paste it directly, it’s:

https://www.paypal.com/us/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_profile-merchant-pull-funding

You can then skip to steps 5 and 6 below.

Otherwise, follow the full set of steps below.

Step by step guide to switching your billing currency preferences for credit cards in your Paypal account

Firstly, you’ll need to use the Paypal website in a desktop browser – I don’t believe these steps can be completed on mobile. And unfortunately Paypal has a few different ways it shows profile info when logged in, it’s not the same for everyone – so while these steps are valid for me, they might be a bit different for your account.

1. Log into your Paypal account and select ‘Profile’ next to log out

1 Paypal Select Profile

Personal accounts won’t have the ‘Business Profile’ label as pictured. There may also be a reference to “Wallet”, in which case you then need to find “Classic Site” in the bottom left. (Thanks to a commenter for this).

2. Click ‘Payment Settings’ (personal accounts) or ‘My Money’ (business accounts) in the left hand navigation menu

2 Paypal My Money

3. Scroll down to ‘My pre approved payments’ and click update

3 Paypal PreApproved Payments

4. On the next page click on ‘Set Available Funding Sources’

4 Paypal Available Funding Sources

5. On the ‘Manage Funding Sources’ page, click ‘conversion options’ next to each card

5 Paypal Manage Funding Sources

6. For each card you can then select ‘Bill me in the currency listed on the seller’s invoice’

6 Paypal Conversion Options

This will then charge your credit card in USD for a US eBay seller, for example, allowing your card issuer to convert the transaction to AUD at their preferred rate.

This setting is not available for American Express cards because Paypal and Amex are set up to always charge in the overseas currency, and Paypal won’t convert the charge for you.

However for MasterCard and Visa options, this is a handy way to circumvent this setting in Paypal.