Current status:Italy & money

Apr 24th, 2007, 05:23 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 288
Current status:Italy & money

Hi! I know many similar questions have been asked before but I need some specific answers..

1)What is the exchange rate that we get at an ATM in Italy (compared to
2)Should we take some Euros from here or are we being too paranoid about ATMs failing to work in FCO (we need money for our cab and our hotel)?
3)If we take Euros from here is there a less painful exchange rate with a certain source (i.e AAA or credit unions or banks)

suetibu is offline  
Apr 24th, 2007, 05:39 PM
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Never take Euros - take good ole American dollars and if in the remote chance your ATM card won't work at the airport's ATMs simply chance your greenbacks at the airport foreign exchange, which will always be open when flights from abroad land unless some really weird hour. You'll be dollars and euros ahead. Cab may well take credit cards and hotel as well.
PalenQ is offline  
Apr 25th, 2007, 08:45 AM
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FCO has lots of ATM's.
Don't worry,but do contact your bank that you will be using your card in Italy.
jabez is offline  
Apr 25th, 2007, 08:51 AM
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There is no "sure" less painful exchange source in the US. NOne of those you mention are that good, but you can always compare your bank to AAA if you must. I don't think credit unions usually do that.
Christina is online now  
Apr 25th, 2007, 09:45 AM
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I ordered Euros from my bank before we left, and we got a significantly better exchange rate. We did use the ATM once, and the fees were not high at all. But you should check with your bank, because some have multiple fees - fee for using an ATM that isn't theirs, fee for exchanging, etc.
LilliK is offline  
Apr 25th, 2007, 09:55 AM
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If you must have some euros with you just change cash at the bureau de change in your departure airport. the rate will be bad - but it's no better anywhere else in the US.

The exchange rate you get at an ATM will be the interbank rate at the time the transaction GOES THROUGH THE BANK- not the tie you take the money. So you can't compare to the newpaper, since you don;t know when it will go through - esp after banking hours or on weekends. PLUS whatever fee your bank charges you for the change service (usually 1 to 3%). PLUS the out of network ATM fee (if your bank charges one - most shouldn't).

Also - if you use a commercial ATM the owner of the machine will charge a fee (just as in the US if you use a free standing ATM versus one at your bank).

So - to save money don;t make lots of small transactions - take enough cash for several days at once. And naturally use your CC whenever possible - to avoid ATM fees from either the owner of the ATM - or your bank, if they're greedy and charge for this. (I use Citibank - and they're not giving anything away - and they do not charge for out of network ATM withdrawals either in the US or anyplace abroad I have been.)
nytraveler is offline  
Apr 25th, 2007, 01:13 PM
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Hi L,

>I ordered Euros from my bank before we left, and we got a significantly better exchange rate. <

Better than where?

ira is offline  
Apr 25th, 2007, 01:16 PM
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Hi Sue,

1. Almost exactly the same.
However, your bank might add all sorts of fees.

2. Many people buy about $100 of Euros at the departure airport. It will cost about $4 more than doing it in Rome.

3. N/A

ira is offline  
Apr 25th, 2007, 01:56 PM
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I know that my bank ( Bank of America) charges a % of the withdrawal from the foreign ATMS and the foreign ATMS (Venice being the latest - in April)also charge a percentage. It looked as if my withdrawals of 250 EU all generated the same total charges of about $8.00. That wasn't bad considering that when I tried to change 3 $100 dollar bills at the Banco Populare they wanted to charge me $20.00! My question is what the exchange percentage might be for changing $100 bills in the change machines that one sees in all the cities - I don't remember if those machines are actually part of the ATMS - don't think so but.....
Another $$$ issue is the amount one is able to withdraw from the ATM in Europe. It seems that your bank and the bank attached to the ATM will most likely not be in agreement! I could only take out a certain amount regardless of the higher limit my bank allows me.
giannetta is offline  
Apr 25th, 2007, 03:08 PM
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Hi Sue,

While it may not have been that intelligent of a thing to do I brought ALL my money with me in cash (euro) and didn't exchange any in europe. I'm a student on a budget and I got a good rate and bought a whole bunch of euro. I enjoyed knowing that I had money with me when I needed it, however it was stressful knowing that it could get lost easily.
If it makes you feel better to purchase some euro at home then go ahead and do whatever makes you most comfortable and enjoy your trip!!

aucho53 is offline  
Apr 25th, 2007, 03:15 PM
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When I was at the bank last week I asked what it would cost to purchase Euro. If I remember correctly the interbank rate was $1.37 per Euro. The bank would have charged $1.44 per Euro.
kp is offline  
Apr 25th, 2007, 03:18 PM
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Definitely take Euor's with you. You will need them right away for taxi, train, bus, coffee. We always take some of the local currencty with us where ever we go. YOu will use it so whynot bring it and have it available.
Shar is offline  
Apr 27th, 2007, 08:04 PM
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I am also a CitiBank customer. Last Feb. when I was in CR, they charged me 3% foreign fees for using their credit card or debit card. The conversion rate sounds like about 99% of the published official exchange rate.

I also use CapitalOne credit. I used it to book an airline ticket and found though it did not charge foreign fees, the convertion rate it uses is 96% of the published rate. I.e., it has a hidden fee.

My question is 3% an acceptable cut-off? Has anyone able to get a lower fee from your banks (please kindly name them)?

I heard that if I could get money directly from CitiBank's ATM machines or service centers (in my destination countries), the 3% foreign fees are waived. Can someone confirm?
hx88 is offline  
Apr 27th, 2007, 09:45 PM
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Just got back from Europe and had I known then what I know now I would have used my VISA. My visa charges a 1% conversion fee. My credit union told me they did not charge a conversion fee (or any fee) for my ATM card. When I got back home I looked at my account and there was a 1% fee charged. I called talked with them and asked why they said they didn't when they DO! They said they don't but they pass on a 1% fee THEY (and all banks, credit unions etc.) are charged. They did deduct it after I mentioned that they need to give correct info when asked.

So next time I will use the credit card I have which is much more convenient, as you do not have to go looking for ATMs; also when you find one it might not be operating, (in fact all ATMs in Austria told us the 2 ATM cards we used were invalid, even tho 1 hr. later we used them in Germany and got money on both) also using ATMs you have to carry cash around, which is another concern; whereas a credit card you do not have these concerns. I will get a few euros to have, but use my credit card for most everything.
Traveler2 is offline  
Apr 28th, 2007, 08:54 AM
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Hi, Traveler2! May I ask you what Visa credit card do you use? I called my visa card companies and all of them told me the foreign fee is 3%. Thank you.
hx88 is offline  
Apr 28th, 2007, 09:53 AM
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Just found out that Etrade debit/visa card charges 1% foreign fee.
hx88 is offline  
Apr 28th, 2007, 10:01 AM
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There is no way any bankk will change currencies for you without charging some sort of fee. They would be losing oney if they did.

If they re not charging a % fee - then they're not giving you the Interbank rate to start with.

Some banks do have lower fees - perhaps 2% and some people have even said 1%. Search posts here.

But - before you rush out and change banks do get first hand info your self - since some posters don;t seem to understand that no fee and a bad exchange rate (like the 8 to 10% off the Interbak rate you get for Trav Checks or US $) is a worse deal that the Interbank rate and a low fee.
nytraveler is offline  
Apr 28th, 2007, 11:33 PM
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This seems to be a very confusing and conflicting topic. We are leaving in 10 days for our trip with 3 other couples. One couple is getting euro travelers cks from AAA (they charge no fees to AAA members) then will cash them in the Travelex Booth at FCO (again no fee for AAA members). My friend was concerned about all the hidden fees for the ATMS and credit cards. I don't want to have all my cash on me like this. I'd heard that Capital One did not charge the standard 3% fee for their credit card, but previous poster says they make it up in the exchange rate. I applied for a Capital One card a couple of days ago thinking it would be a good choice to save 3% but maybe not so. My husband's bank (Chase) charges a %$3.00 fee for ATM transactions plus a 3.5% fee whereas the Chase credit card only charges a 3% fee.

It really sounds like using the FCO ATM on arrival to get some Euros on arrival may be the best option and use the credit card whenever possible. Does this sound right?

Someone told my friend that she made a 40 Euro charge that showed up on her credit card bill as almost 70 US. I can see how that would happen if the 40 euro was before taxes. Isn't the tax in Italy almost 20%? Then you add the converstion rate from euro to US and the 3% credit card fee and you are at about $67 for your 40 euto purchase. I think my friend that's taking all euros is trying to avoid this unpleasant surprise of not realizing how much something is really costing her when she makes a purchcase in Italy.
PaigeS is offline  
Apr 29th, 2007, 04:28 AM
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Hi PS,

>It really sounds like using the FCO ATM on arrival to get some Euros on arrival may be the best option and use the credit card whenever possible. Does this sound right?<


Some folks like to exchange about $100 at the departure airport, so as not to have to look for ATMs. This will cost about $4 more than in Europe.

>Someone told my friend that she made a 40 Euro charge that showed up on her credit card bill as almost 70 US. <

That is very, very strange.

Taxes, etc have nothing to do with it.
In Europe, they do not add sales tax. The marked price includes taxes.

If the CC statement says "charged 40E = $70" your friend's friend should be complaining to the CC company.

If, OTOH, your friend thought that she was buying something for 40E and the CC was charged 50E, then there was something wrong at the merchant's end.

ira is offline  

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