BUG: currency conversion surcharge issue (not working)

VikVik Posts: 3Expensify Customer
edited May 5 in Day to Day

I am a Canadian (Default currency is CAD) and travel to US for work a lot. Since my card (MBNA Canada) is not supported for automatic feed. I prefer to not manually import card data and just use the receipt with smart scan feature to expense report. Because most of my travel is expensed on my credit card. There is a 2.5% bank fee for foreign transactions.

Now when I scan a USD receipt. I expect the smart scan to capture all the receipt information and most of the time I have to manually update the currency from CAD to USD. Once I do this and add the expense to a report (Default currecry CAD), I expect a the total to add a surcharge of 2.5% on top of the automatic conversion rate for that day. 


April 25th, I spend $100 USD. 

-The report should be 100*1.3495 *1.025 = 138.3238 CAD (Correct)

- But instead the result is 100*1.3495=134.95 CAD (incorrect)

My surcharge is setup correctly in the settings area. I am sure this is a product bug. Any idea on when this will be fixed?

This leaves no option for properly capturing the spend in my report. The only way left to fix this is for me to go into each expense and change the currency to CAD and update the exact spend as it shows on my credit card. This is very labor intensive(defeats the purpose of Expensify) and does not provide accurate currency information to client. All the expenses show up in CAD instead of USD with proper exchange rates.

Please suggest if I am doing anything wrong here in the process. Or a way to get this fixed.


  • Nicole TrepanierNicole Trepanier Posts: 578Expensify Success Coach - Admin Expensify Success Coach

    @Vik I took a look at your account and it does appear to be set up correctly but not applying to your USD expenses. Have you reached out to [email protected] to report this issue? We generally recommend going through that support channel so that we can create an issue and have engineering take a look at it.

  • Ted PeetersTed Peeters Posts: 294Expensify Customer, Expensify Success Coach Expensify Success Coach

    Hi @Vik, I'm just coming back to this quickly as I've been working with the team internally on how we'll be approaching "Currency Surcharges" in our product moving forward.

    Earlier this year, we made some significant improvements to our SmartScan feature on the back-end which sped up and increased accuracy for our users. However, in doing so, we realised this got in the way of any Currency Surcharge being added to SmartScanned receipts. Since then, we've been thinking about why this feature even exists at all.

    Currently, the only use case to add a surcharge to your expenses is because this makes reporting foreign expenses incurred on a credit card difficult - there's just no way to be sure that the correct amount is reported or that the correct amount is reimbursed because Expensify set's the conversion based on the rates provided by Open Exchange Rates.

    The problem is, not every bank uses Open Exchange Rates and not every bank uses the same rates and crucially, every bank charges different amounts for incurring expenses abroad (although many are now moving down to 0%).

    So we've built our merging feature to accommodate for this. Any connected card or uploaded CSV will automatically merge with the SmartScanned receipt and crucially, update the amount to match the correct amount from the bank statement. And we're even developing the ability for a Domain Admin to import CSV's of bank statements so we can support every bank without forcing individuals to upload their own statements, along with beefing up our support for banks via the Approved! Banks initiative.

    So for the time being, the Surcharge currently only works with non-smartscanned expenses, and ideally we'll move away from even using this feature (that, candidly, fewer than 0.1% of Expensify accounts even use).

  • VikVik Posts: 3Expensify Customer

    By removing the surcharge feature from the product expensify has left no easy way for users to update the exchange rates.

    I don't want to upload my card data for many reason. I have multiple cards, they have tons of personal transactions which will case noise in my expensify account and none of the cards are supported by Expensify product for integration. 

    The only way left for me to update the expense report is that i have to change each transaction from USD to CAD and put in actual amount. This is not clean as receipts are in USD and i am not able to clearly identify USD transactions with proper exchange rate.

    I hope expensify provides a solution to this. Either fix surcharge option or provide ability to update FX rate.

  • Ted PeetersTed Peeters Posts: 294Expensify Customer, Expensify Success Coach Expensify Success Coach

    Hi @Vik - would you mind elaborating on how often you're incurring CAD charges but reporting them on a USD policy? It's certainly not expected that this would be the norm, especially across multiple cards which include many different personal transactions.

    Remember that when importing your transactions, if you make these reimbursable, they will never be automatically added to a report (just imported as Unreported transactions). When the imported Unreported transaction finds a matching receipt which you've SmartScanned, it will then be reported meaning you just need to SmartScan the receipts you're submitting throughout the month, then at the end of the month when you submit your report - upload your bank CSV and these should merge with the correct SmartScanned receipts to update to the correct value.

    Finally, I'm intrigued by how you would solve the FX rate option, given the multiple cards you're using. Would you specify this on the individual expenses? If so, do you feel like this would somehow be quicker than updating the amount?

    Or would you like to specify the FX rate in your Individual policy, but somehow change it each time you SmartScan a receipt from a different card? To me, this seems like a lot of work too.

    Let us know what you see as the optimum solution to always make sure the correct amount is claimed for, as we're definitely not looking to fix or reimplement a solution which adds an arbitrary percentage again.

  • VikVik Posts: 3Expensify Customer

    Thanks for the response Ted.

    My policy is CAD and my travel is to USD. I am based out of Canada and almost most of my travel is USD. Every 2 weeks I have usd spend that needs to be reported to my Canada based client.

    I run a small consulting business and use my personal card for all business travel. I prefer this approach as I get better rebate from my personal cards and better benefits while traveling. On top my personal cards are shared with my family so they can enjoy the same card benefits and we get better rebate on money spent on our cards. This is the reason I don’t want to import the card data. There is just too much non relevant stuff.

    all my cards are 2% foreign transaction cost. So the surcharge feature actually work for my scenario. For most people if they spend on 1 card then they can use that feature successfully and it’s not arbitrary anymore.

    Even if the surcharge feature was to be taken away. I think having a fx overwrite feature by transaction or simply the ability to overwrite the converted rate(CAD) while retaining the original currency amount(USD) will be great.

    The issue is not that I have to update this manually. I am ok with manually updating each transaction. The issue is that I am unable to report both cad and use amount with the correct conversion rate. If I manning change a transaction to cad and update the amount, I loose the USD amount and ability to report fx on the report. So I am manually having to create another spreadsheet to report this.

    i am sure there are others in the same scenario tracing internationally and dealing with multiple currencies. I am sure this will help all others in similar situation.


  • Ted PeetersTed Peeters Posts: 294Expensify Customer, Expensify Success Coach Expensify Success Coach

    No worries @Vik. This is all really great to know.

    I'm still coming back to your query that: "There is just too much non relevant stuff". This non-relevant stuff will always stay Unreported. You'll only ever report transactions which match with a SmartScanned transaction.

    It seems like we support your use-case, but your hesitation is because you'd prefer not to use it this way. There is certainly nothing stopping you from filtering out the transactions you're uploading before you do so - I'm intrigued as to why your bank is unable to provide a spreadsheet without your family's transactions on as well?

    If we had a card connection which directly imported your card transactions, would the hesitation still be there because it would auto-import too much non relevant stuff?

    Secondly, you've said "all my cards are 2% foreign transaction cost. So the surcharge feature actually work for my scenario" but this also isn't the case. As I've explained above, this 2% would always be added above the Open Exchange Rates rate. We have no clue what the exchange rate used by your bank is - in fact, it just adds 2% to our exchange rate which will still, likely never match with what your bank imports.

    This then would require us to build the ability for you to set your own exchange rate, which you would need to check and update each day to match your bank and set an extra surcharge. This is two extra configurations you'd have to set-up when you can again, just as easily import your transactions and have these account for the accurate charge.

    We can't just add an integration to pull your banks exchange rate, because this is actually more complex than building an auto-import feature!

    Finally, I'd love to hear more about why you're required to report both the USD and CAD and FX amount. Could you elaborate on what this is for?

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