ATMs in Italy

Aug 6th, 2003, 09:50 AM
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ATMs in Italy

I've been reading suggestions to skip Travellers' Cheques and use ATMs to avoid money hassles. I presume our US bank would charge a fee for each transaction through another bank?

Given we tend to avoid carrying a lot of cash, I could see those fees really adding up.

Has anyone found a way around that? set up an American Express account? or something like? (we're in San Francisco, so Wells Fargo and Bank of America are the biggies locally)

Or just hold my nose and pay at least $3.50 each time we use an ATM over there?
Koshka is offline  
Aug 6th, 2003, 09:58 AM
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Check with your bank to ask what the charges will be for international withdrawals. I got around this by buying a CD at my bank, and they now waive all ATM fees imposed by them or other banks, including international ATM fees. My bank is Chase.
Cicerone is offline  
Aug 6th, 2003, 09:59 AM
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We brought a credit union card for ATM use (Visa check card), and we only paid 75 cents per withdrawal. I admit that it was a small fee for peace of mind in not carrying all that cash. I think that most regular banks charge more for ATM use.

We didn't find that ATM machines themselves charged for use in Italy.
Statia is offline  
Aug 6th, 2003, 10:02 AM
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Check out Union Bank and credit unions that don't charge excessive fees for other ATM use. I used my WF ATM in Italy, and the average withdrawal fee was over $5 because they tack on a "foreign translation fee" of $1-2. By the way, ATM's are referred to as bancomats in Italy.

Also, I've noticed that AMEX charges a higher exchange rate than MC and VISA for purchases...don't know about cash transactions though.
bluefan is offline  
Aug 6th, 2003, 10:04 AM
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We hate Wells Fargo frequently.

Thanks for the suggestions!
Koshka is offline  
Aug 6th, 2003, 10:16 AM
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My bank charged me a $1.50 transaction fee....whiched seemed reasonable.

The Bancomats( ATMs) are easy to use. Almost every one allows you to pick your language for transaction instructions.
Dick is offline  
Aug 6th, 2003, 11:41 AM
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Make sure you have a four digit pin.
Statia is offline  
Aug 6th, 2003, 11:47 AM
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Check with your bank about what it would take for them to waive their fees for foreign ATM transactions. If you don't like the answer, check with some other banks. Banks are competitive and they want your business.

We're in the Bay Area also, and use WestAmerica (Marin). We have "preferred customer" status so never get charged at all. By the way, all the banks will tell you that the foreign bank may tack on a fee, but they never do. I think it's illegal or something. (Seems strange, but that's what I've read.) Good luck -- ATM's are DEFINITELY the way to go!
Marilyn is offline  
Aug 6th, 2003, 12:43 PM
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I second the recommendation to talk to your bank about waiving the fees for foreign transaction. We have an account at the local Bank of America and they agreed to waive all fees for our three week trip in Sept./Oct.

Good luck
Jennie is offline  
Aug 6th, 2003, 12:59 PM
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My BoA account charges $2US per international ATM transaction and the normal limit I have at home of $350 per day withdrawl.

Travelers Checks are still fine, if you're more comfortable with them, but plan to cash them at a normal bank during business hours, not at a shop or restaurant.
suze is online now  
Aug 6th, 2003, 01:48 PM
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I have never been charged a fee by my bank (which is a small, local savings bank) for any ATM withdrawal overseas. If you have plenty of time before your trip, you may want to open an account with a bank that does not charge such a fee.
Nikki is offline  
Aug 6th, 2003, 02:59 PM
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We bank with a credit union and they have so few of their own ATMs that they rebate the ATM fees to my account each month.

Before I used them, I minimized ATM fees by making fairly sizable withdrawals. Withdraw 200 Euros once instead of 50 Euros four times, and you've cut your fees 75%.
Linda0515 is offline  
Aug 6th, 2003, 03:28 PM
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Exactly, suze..I also have BofA...but I pay no tranaction fees and have unlimited access to funds, I can take out 2 or 3 thousand dollars a day..GOD I WISH I HAD THAT MUCH TO TAKE OUT!!!... It all depends on each person's individual relationship to their bank and the only way to find out is to call the bank.
jody is offline  
Aug 6th, 2003, 04:49 PM
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Banks are a bit like airlines, they have global networks. For instance, I bank with an Australian bank called Westpac. Their global network includes BNP, Barclays, Deutsche Bank and Bank of America. I can withdraw fee-free from any of those banks ATMs. If you're with Bank of America, you can almost certainly use those banks ATMs without paying transaction fees. If you're with another bank just ask them if they have global partners.

Cheers, Pumblechook.
Pumblechook is offline  
Aug 6th, 2003, 05:10 PM
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OK, just returned from a little over 10 weeks in Europe. We did 13 ATM withdrawals in that time -- in the UK, Germany, Switzerland, and France. Our accounts are with Bank of America and we sought out the banks in their group which don't have fees -- as mentioned above, Barclay's, BNP, etc. But a couple times we went elsewhere when we didn't see them, still our bank didn't charge us a fee at some of these others. Actually for the 13 withdrawals we had a total of three fees all for $ 1.50 -- I just checked all the statements. I don't think the total of $ 4.50 will exactly break us on this total of around $ 4000 of ATM withdrawals. I still maintain that it is the best way to get local cash. Incidentally, we never had a single machine fail to deliver!
Patrick is offline  
Aug 7th, 2003, 05:08 AM
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I have a Citibank account and it lets me withdraw up to US$1600 a day, although I can only take US$400 out on each visit to an ATM. So if I want US$1600 I have to visit four ATMs. I have never been charged in the 40+ countries I have visited with this card, except in the United States where I get charged a dollar or two if I use a Chase or ATM of another competitor. But I understand that charging for using competitors ATMs is fairly standard in the US - it certainly seemed that way when I lived there. Whenb the banks tried to impose these charges in the UK there was such an outcry they had to give up, thankfully. I imagine that these sentimants are fairly standard across Europe - most Europeans would be disgusted by a bank attempting to charge you for using an ATM.
UKUKUK is offline  
Aug 7th, 2003, 05:34 AM
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Was which ATM network (Star, Plus, or Honor) you card was valid for ever an issue in using your card in Italy?
sheepdog is offline  
Aug 7th, 2003, 08:08 AM
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You do need to use an ATM that has at least one symbol in common with your card. I am not familiar with Honor, but I can tell you that you will not have a problem with Star, Cirrus, or Plus in Italy. Look for Bancomat signs.
Marilyn is offline  
Aug 7th, 2003, 03:54 PM
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I called BofA and they told me that they had no banks in Italy and that the banks owning the ATM's were the ones who made the charge.
Therefore was nothing that could be done !?!?!?
ed is offline  
Aug 7th, 2003, 04:18 PM
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Ed, I am about 99% sure that the Italian bank does not charge for a US ATM withdrawal. Whoever told you that at BA is either misinformed (no great surprise there) or you have misunderstood.

My bank is a small regional bank, with no affiliations overseas, and yet I have never been charged for an ATM withdrawal from a foreign bank.
Marilyn is offline  

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