ATM use in Italy

Sep 17th, 2005, 11:13 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 29
ATM use in Italy

Greetings everyone ... I will be leaving for Italy in October and want to confirm HOW to use the ATM's in Italy and from which account money is withdrawn. I seem to remember that a previous post stated that $ was only withdrawn from checking accounts and I don't want to have my $ in an account I can't access. One less hassle that I have to deal with.

Thanking you all for your timely responses.


TravelerLee03 is offline  
Sep 18th, 2005, 06:49 AM
Join Date: Jan 2005
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Using the ATMs in Italy is pretty much the same as anywhere else and they usually have an English option for you to select when drawing your $$. I did not see an option to choose from checking or savings but did notice that the money was deducted from my savings account and not checking. I assume this could just be the way I have it set up with my bank.

One piece of advice -- don't assume the ATMS will always be operational for you or have readily available cash. In at least two cities (Rome and Siena) I had to seak out multiple ATMs before finding one with cash. And when visiting the Cinque Terre, all the available bankomats seemed to be down for at least 24 hours while we were there. We checked with many other U.S. travelers trying to access money around this time and they experienced the same problems. One woman told me that this happens pretty frequently there...
seadreamer is offline  
Sep 18th, 2005, 06:53 AM
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Yes, it should be a checking account. There have been a couple of posters on Fodors who say they were able to access a savings acct -- but no ATM I've ever used in Europe let me select savings.

The machines work just like at home -- be sure if your PIN is letters you know what the numerical version is because most ATMs don't have any letters on the number pad.

And most but not all will have an option for English instructions (just like most have Spanish in the States). Sometimes that is indicated by a british flag symbol.
janis is offline  
Sep 18th, 2005, 07:07 AM
Join Date: May 2004
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I'm with Janis, I've never seen an option for savings account withdrawal. A word of warning - most ATMs we experienced in Italy only allowed withdrawal of 250 euros at a time (we had to pay some of our hotels in cash), if you put more (even though our daily max from our bank is 500) you will get an error message.
audreyleigh99 is offline  
Sep 18th, 2005, 08:54 AM
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Pretty much same as at home... Yes, have the money in your checking account & a 4 digit numerical pin. You might want to take your daily limit when you do a withdrawl if your bank charges a fee per transactions. Some people get a second/replacement card in case something goes wrong with the first (machine keeps it, demagnatized, whatever).
suze is offline  
Sep 18th, 2005, 09:30 AM
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The domestic ATMs I have used have an option to select between checking and savings, but I have never seen that option on a European ATM. I know some banks will arrange to move money from savings to a checking account when your checking balance falls below a parameter you set, which could make it appear that the European ATM is drawing from savings, but every knowledgeable person I have talked to says to make certain your card is associated with your checking account.

I must be lucky, as I have never been unable to get money from a European ATM; one time one was not working, but the one right next to it was.

The 250 euro limitation on withdrawals from a European ATM is not uncommon. That is for the individual transaction, and you could just stick your card in again and make a second withdrawal, but in the case of a $500 daily limit, your second 250 euro withdrawal would exceed the daily limit and the transaction would be refused; you could make a second withdrawal of a lesser sum to stay within your $500 limit. Some banks will raise the daily limit if you request so in writing; some won't.
clevelandbrown is offline  
Sep 18th, 2005, 11:46 AM
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Thank you everyone ... one more mystery solved ... now final plans for the trip are in the works. Yahoo. I'm going to Italy in October

TravelerLee03 is offline  
Sep 19th, 2005, 12:31 AM
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We took 3 AtM cards cards to Italy for 3 different bank accounts. We were sure glad we did. The machines would allow a maximum withdrawal of 250 euros PER DAY...sticking the card back in a second time didn't do any good, it was a daily limit.

Also, even though we had plenty of money in all 3 accounts and had notified our banks before leaving, we had access problems. One AtM card worked throughout the trip but stopped working 1 day too soon, leaving us without cash on the last day. the second AtM card worked for only a few days and then stopped working. The 3rd AtM card wouldn't work at all!!! (We needed enough cash for a family of 5)

Our AtM cards were just debit cards...we don't like the AtM cards which double as check cards, ours are stictly debit cards.

Also we also found that our cards would only work in certain macines, they woulnd't work in just any old machine. Also in busy places like San Marco square in Venice, the machines often run out of cash!

good luck.
Melissa5 is offline  
Sep 19th, 2005, 12:50 AM
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Hi Lee, my experience has been pretty much what other here have said.

Take more then one ATM card. I prefer to have ATM cards for more then one checking account.

Pin should just be 4 digits.

My friends in Italy prefer to only use ATM's at the banks WHEN the bank is open so if they have any problem they can walk into the bank to get help versus using the ATM when the bank is closed.

And yes, no matter what limit you have for withdrawals at your bank in the US the ATM in Italy will limit the amount of money you can withdraw, about 250 euro in my experience.

I too have had a problem withdrawing money from an ATM, especially in small towns. Machine out of cash evidently.
So don't wait until you are down to your last euro to get more.

Also I have been told by a friend that works at a credit union that if you try to access your money when the banks here in the US are doing there computer "stuff" around 3:00am and are consequently down you will have a problem getting money from an ATM in Europe. I believe that because that happened here to me about a month ago in my hometown at my local bank. So if you have a problem wait a couple of hours and then try again.

Personally I feel better taking some euro with me so I have it when I arrive in Italy. I know it cost a bit but after the long flight from the west coast it is, IMHO, nice to not have to deal immediately with an ATM when tired and jetlagged.

Have a wonderful time in Italy. You are going at a beautiful time. Best wishes.
LoveItaly is offline  
Sep 19th, 2005, 04:30 AM
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Curious. In the UK, each bank account has a different account number. E.g. your current (checking) account might be account number 12345678 and your savings account might be account number 87654321. Any ATM and/or cheque guarantee card is specific to one account only. It seems that's not the way it works in the US ?

I have withdrawn more than €250 per day at ATMs in Italy - in fact I've withdrawn more than €250 in one withdrawal. The limit is the lower of a) the maximum the particular Italian bank allows per transaction & per day, and b) the maximum which your bank allows per transaction & per day for withdrawals abroad.
caroline_edinburgh is offline  
Sep 19th, 2005, 04:58 PM
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Posts: 411
And learn the Italian term for ATM:


tdyls is offline  
Sep 19th, 2005, 07:34 PM
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no, in the US ATM cards are not specific to one account, they are specific to you and all of your accounts at that bank. If you have a variety of accounts at a bank, you can select which one you want an ATM card to withdraw from at the machine. I have three different accounts at my bank, but the ATM card is linked to me as a person. I always want it taken from my main checking account, but as I recall, typical options on American ATM machines are something like "primary checking account", "secondary checking account", "savings account", and maybe even something else -- I don't recall as I never use those options. A bank should have all of your accounts linked together with you identified as the owner, so it seems a lot simpler (and safer) than them issuing separate ATM cards for each of your accounts.
Christina is offline  
Sep 19th, 2005, 11:14 PM
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Thanks for that explanation, Christina - that is different. How does it work with joint accounts ? E.g. if a husband and wife each have their own current account & savings account, plus they have a joint account, presumably each person's ATM card wouldn't allow access to all their partner's accounts ?
caroline_edinburgh is offline  

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