Update, 2020-01: Paypal has removed the option to disable currency conversion by default. For a while, a direct link to the option still worked, even though the path to it had been removed. Now, even the direct link does not work anymore. There does not seem to be an alternative way of turning it off. Dick move, Paypal.
To be clear, you can always disable currency conversion in each transaction you make with paypal, you just have to remember to do it every time.
PayPal is great if you’re shopping at a place you don’t entirely trust and/or if you want to keep your credit card number private. Well, between you and Paypal at least. Their fees, however, can be horrendous. This hits merchants harder than consumers, but even as a buyer they have ways to get you. One example is their currency conversion fee, which amounts to 3% of the transaction value and is applied automatically if you buy from a(n international) seller whose currency differs from your card’s.
3% is a lot, and your bank can probably do better (mine does conversions at 1%). Thankfully, there is a way to disable PayPal’s automatic currency conversion, though they haven’t made it easy to find. Go figure.
How To Permanently Disable PayPal’s Currency Conversion in 6 Steps
Log into PayPal and click on the options icon.
Go to the Payments screen, then to “Manage automatic payments”.
Once again, click “manage automatic payments” to get to the classic view.
Above your automatic payments list, got to “Set Available Funding Sources”.
Next, hit “Conversion Options” behind your credit card (or other funding source).
Finally, choose to be billed in the currency listed on the seller’s invoice. Don’t forget to hit submit.
If applicable, repeat from step 5 for any additional cards on your account.
There, all done. Now your bank will handle the conversions at probably much more favorable rates. Wasn’t that process straightforward and intuitive? /s