From the "Teach an old dog new tricks" Department, Gracias!

by jakewills @, Tuesday, September 20, 2022, 07:44 (379 days ago) @ Padrino

If you were quoted a specific exchange rate at the ATM, I think that was the ATM bank, not Schwab. It is essentially a scam some banks try... for the "favor" of registering the withdrawal in USD instead of the pesos you are getting, they offer to exchange it themselves. I guess some people think that is better somehow, but my guess is it still shows up as a foreign transaction so don't know what the point would be. And the rate is always horrible. My policy is if an ATM tries that, I avoid that bank in the future if I can. It's shady and predatory, imo. I find about half the banks do it.

The trick is to decline that conversion when offered. You can still proceed with the withdrawal at the ATM, and they will register the transaction to Visa (or Mastercard, whichever) in pesos. Visa uses the wholesale exchange rate and marks it up about 1% to convert. Schwab doesn't take anything itself, which is what is unusual and great about them (as well as the ATM fee refunds). That is about the best rate you can get anywhere... close to the Wise rate but without the fees. I did a lot of questionable math late one night and decided the Schwab/Visa route was overall a better deal than Wise to a local account, but the difference was pretty negligible.

Glad to hear Wise is working out for you! I found that after I did a few transfers, it got faster. Some even arrive in seconds now.

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