Cash, ATM in Italy and Greece

Old Jul 3rd, 2018, 07:09 PM
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Cash, ATM in Italy and Greece

I plan not to exchange any Euro in advance, and will get Euro at ATM at ROME airport; though I feel a bit of risky.
What do you suggest? Can I get Euro off ATM at US airports like HOU or IAH?
I understand traveler checks are no longer used. What's to bring as second option to cash or ATM?
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Old Jul 3rd, 2018, 07:30 PM
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Why do you consider it risky? I consider the use of ATMs at airports to be the most reasonable strategy to get currency upon arrival in a new country. Granted, I prefer to use ATMs attached to banks and to use them when the bank is open -- just in case something goes wrong -- but things rarely go wrong! And, just in case, I always carry a second ATM card as a backup.

I admit that I don't know HOU or IAH, but the ATM cards that I have that are connected to an international chain have internet sites that allow me to explore locations. And IME, most machines will take -- and honor -- cards that aren't part of their network; they just charge you more.

An alternative? A credit card, which you can use to gain access to cash -- if at a much higher cost than a debit card.

Are "money matters" not covered in the guidebook you are using? If not, you might want to get a better guidebook.

Good luck!
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Old Jul 3rd, 2018, 08:56 PM
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The second option for getting cash is a second ATM card. ATMs ( bancomats) are everywhere in Italy.
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Old Jul 3rd, 2018, 11:20 PM
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There is nothing risky about using ATMs in Italy or Greece unless your bank blocks the transaction as unusual activity. Let your bank know you will be travelling before you depart. I like to have a little local currency in my pocket when arriving in a foreign country, but that's normally what I have left over from the last trip. Even if you pay over the odds to buy some euros in the US it would be worth having maybe €50 or €100 to start out with, just in case you can't immediately access an ATM.

Use credit cards whenever you can, and cash for smaller transactions. My credit card has no foreign transaction charges and gives me 1.5 % cash back, so it's a no brainer to use it as much as possible. ATMs operated by banks are free in Europe, but your bank at home may charge. Mine doesn't, but passes on the 1% Visa foreign transaction fee. Use your debit card for cash withdrawals, not your credit card.

One thing to watch out for is Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC) where the ATM or vendor will offer to settle the transaction in $ instead of €. It sounds like a good idea because you know exactly what you are paying in $, but that allows the bank or merchant to set their own exchange rate, which is higher than the bank rate. Refuse and settle the amount in euros. Do a Google search on DCC if you want to know more about it.

Last edited by Heimdall; Jul 3rd, 2018 at 11:23 PM.
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Old Jul 4th, 2018, 12:04 AM
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Ive been getting cash from ATMs all over europe for years.. I dont consider it risky.. I consider using a credit card for small purchases more risky.

I have used it in Greece and in Italy..

I try to use ATM machines that are attached to banks.. as opposed to those free standing ones.

As Heimdall mentioned.. when asked .. always request charges on your CC go on in the local currency.. in this case, Euros. It seems some people like to have them put through in their currency , but they are making a big mistake doing that.. for just the reasons Heimdall explained.

I have not used travellers checks in 20 years.

I use cash most of the time except for hotel bills and an occaisonal splurge dinner.. day to day small purchases and admissions i pay in cash.

Do not carry all your cash in your wallet.. only one days worth.. the rest you wear in a money belt under your clothes.. ( that you do not access in public.. ever) or leave in hotel safe.. this is what i do .. that way if pickpocketed you wont lose much.
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Old Jul 4th, 2018, 02:30 AM
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If you have an iPhone you can use Apple Pay in some countries, including Italy but not Greece. I use it all the time where I live in the UK, and have it linked to both US and UK credit cards. It's safer than credit cards, and you don't even have to take the card out of your wallet.
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Old Jul 4th, 2018, 09:09 AM
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Do you consider it risky meaning that what if you can't find an ATM or somehow your ATM card doesn't work? Or that the ATM is broken? I guess those things can happen but in a big airport like Rome, I wouldn't worry.

But the fact is, why do you think you need something other than an ATM card and cash? I used to bring TCs also (and in fact, still have a few, I probably should just cash them at my bank), but the fact is that any bureau de change at an airport will exchange cash currency (and often at a better rate than TCS, if they do TCs). So what is wrong with taking a few hundred US dollars cash with you, just in case?

okay, worst comes to worst, you can get cash from an ATM with your credit card if somehow it's your card's problem. I have never had to do that, but I do bother to get PINs with every credit card I have just in case such an event happened. To mitigate costs, you should pay that bill off ASAP, meaning before the monthly bill comes, if you can.

I don't know what else you could do. I always carry several credit cards and two ATM cards, actually. So if you only have one ATm card, open a small account at some bank that has no foreign transaction fee so you have a backup.

Yes, major airports in the US have exchange bureaux and will sell you euro, but at a very high rate of exchange. It doesn't make any sense to do that instead of taking cash and exchange it at the airport in Europe, you will probalby get a better rate in Europe even doing that. But if you must, you can pay maybe 10-15 pct fee and get it at your US airport, yes. At least a major one.
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Old Jul 4th, 2018, 12:04 PM
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Tell your cc and STM card issuing bank you will be charging things from the specific countries you will be visiting or they may block foreign charges as a security measure.
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