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Best Option for making payments in Italy

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Sep 7th, 2014, 07:38 PM
  #1
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Best Option for making payments in Italy

I have a BoA savings account and Amex/ Visa cc (that charge foreign transaction fee). Does anyone know whats the better alternative to make payments when in Italy?

I know that BoA has an affiliation with Banco d'italia but apparently the 3% fee waiver doesnt apply anymore.
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Sep 7th, 2014, 08:14 PM
  #2
 
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Andrews Federal credit Union. Totally fee free ATM card and VISA cards too. The card is also chip and PIN. No fees for either.
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Sep 7th, 2014, 08:20 PM
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Some AmEx cards have quit charging the foreign transaction fee. With Visa, it depends on where you got your card. My credit union Visa didn't charge a fee for years, but now charges the 1%.

Do you have time to get an ATM card at a bank that doesn't charge? For Italy, you will need it tied to your checking account as you don't get an option to choose either checking or savings.
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Sep 7th, 2014, 08:25 PM
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Call BoA and ask if they are offering their travel card...we opened a new Visa account with them just before our trip in February of this year with no foreign transaction fees, and with 0% interest for a year. Pretty hard to pass up for when you want to use a credit card.

But you won't want to use a credit card to get cash at an ATM -- debit cards -- you are probably always going to have to pay a foreign transaction fee, it is usually only the bank's own fee that does or doesn't apply. You might check local credit unions, if there is one you can join. Sometimes they have minimal fees in comparison to BoA or Chase, and you usually get a chip and pin card, which works better overseas.
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Sep 7th, 2014, 08:32 PM
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You have neither a good option for obtaining cash nor making a credit purchase. Also an expensive fall back cash option.

To get cash, using ATM in Italy, you need a debit or an ATM card linked to a checking account. There are reported cases where a card linked to a savings accout worked, but in my experience, the account has to be a checkings account. The 3% figure you mentioned applies to a debit/ATM card from B of A. Most credit union only charges 1% fee and others charge none over official exchange rate. If one has to be from BofA, at least open a checkings account, link your card only to checkings account for the duration of the trip. Use online or programmed transfer from your BofA savings account to BofA checking account as you travel. You do no want auto insufficient fund protection. It punches a hole into firewalling stolen debit/atm card from eating into your savings account.

Even if you have one debit/ATM card from BofA, you need a fall back way to obtain cash. Getting cash using current AMEX/visa is an expensive way to get cash advance. You need yet another debit/ATM card from a different bank for best fall back.

As for CC, if the BofA in your state offers a travel rewards card, it comes with 0% foreign transaction. At minimum get that card and use it for your primary use. Your current Visa serves as your fall back card. AMEX is not well accepted, so that is only usable at high end stores/hotels.
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Sep 7th, 2014, 09:11 PM
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I have a Capitol One credit card and a Charles Schwab debit card to use for travel as their rates are much better than my B of A credit and debit cards. I had to open a Charles Schwab brokerage account to get their checking account but did not have to fund the brokerage account. If you have time, you can look into opening these types of accounts. If you have a credit union, they may have good rates, too.
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