Banking, Credit Cards, Cash and Travelers Checks
|Title:||Banking, Credit Cards, Cash and Travelers Checks|
|Author:||Daniele Pintaudi||Updated:||Jan 30, 2019||Views:||9,462|
|Tags:||banking credit cards cash travelers checks money|
One of the most common questions we are asked is about how to deal with money-related issues in Italy. Here are some answers, along with possible problems you will encounter and planning you can do to avoid them:
Exchanging for Euros in Banks
Please avoid this necessity at all costs. You may find yourself spending hours inside of a bank to make a simple transaction. If you get your Euros at home, you are likely to get a favorable rate and avoid quite a bit of grief.
Exchanging for Euros at Exchange Service Centers
It is likely that you will never see one of these while you are with us, so don't rely on them. In the touristy sections of bigger cities, and in the airport, you will find currency exchange centers here and there. If you are in a pinch, these will work. But they will give you the worst possible exchange rate, so you should try to avoid them. Also keep in mind that we spend a great deal of time away from the tourist areas on our vacations, so you may not see many of these if any.
Most stores in Italy accept credit cards, but some restaurants and cafes do not. If you plan to use your credit card(s) in Italy, it is extremely important that you call your card issuer before your trip and let them know you will be traveling internationally. Many credit cards will block international transactions as an anti-fraud security measure, so it is a requirement that you make sure they unblock international transactions on your card.
We have found that often, even when you do notify your credit card issuer, they don't process the information, so many of our guests have to call them while abroad to force the issue. Because of this, make sure you have the phone number of the credit card company handy when you travel.
ATM machines are easy to find in Italy, and most of them allow you to switch to English for your transactions. You will get higher than normal fees when you use the ATM (International currency conversion and transaction fees), but this is impossible to avoid, except with a few banks. Keep in mind that there may be periods of up to a day or two during which the international network may go down and your ATM card will not work. So always make sure you have a few days of reserve cash.
We have found Capital One, Barclays Bank, and PayPal Debit/Credit Cards to have the most favorable International transaction rates.
We always suggest that you bring at least a few hundred Euros in cash with you.
Travelers Checks have pretty much gone the way of the horse and buggy. They are simply not used anymore and will be much more hassle than they are worth.