By March 2016, Euronet Worldwide, a US-based electronic payments provider, operated 24,761 ATMs worldwide. One year later they had another 10,000. In the centers of European cities like Prague, Berlin and Budapest the sight of Euronet ATMs has become ubiquitous. On some streets, there is one in every third building. Shops and restaurants pocket handsome rewards in exchange for hosting machines. Increasingly Euronet is opening its own ‘branches,’ nests of ATMs but nothing else.
What drives this growth?
One way ATMs today make money is by offering Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC). DCC is the service by which ATM operators offer customers to convert the withdrawal amount into their home currency when taking out money abroad.
DCC is the reason why ATMs abroad often ‘offer conversion to your home currency’ or ask whether you want want your money ‘with or without conversion.’ Of course, if the money on your account is in one currency and the cash that comes out of the machine is in another the money is converted regardless. Really the ATM operator is asking for permission to handle the conversion.
- ‘With conversion’ means the bank or company that operates the ATMs does the conversion.
- ‘Without conversion’ means your home bank or credit card company does the conversion.
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