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Finally got an ATM Card! Quick tutorial on using it in Italy.

Finally got an ATM Card! Quick tutorial on using it in Italy.

Old Jun 11th, 2006, 05:47 AM
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Finally got an ATM Card! Quick tutorial on using it in Italy.

After reading all the different postings on this topic, I decided to take join the 21st Century and get an ATM/debit card. The card has arrived, I have gotten the pin number, I have used it at home, and have notified my bank of my trip so that they are aware I will be using it in Italy. My question--when I use my card at an ATM in Italy, how straight forward is it? Are the instructions in Italian? I would assume that the money I will be requesting is Euros and not dollars--thus I will have to make sure that the Euros I request are less than my $300 limit or the transaction will not process--right? Can I use any ATM machine or does it have to be a part of the same network as my card?
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Old Jun 11th, 2006, 05:58 AM
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Please don't get this the wrong way - are you implying that you have not used an ATM machine, ever ?

If my presumption is correct, then I suggest you do some "practice" transactions with your local ATM machine before you leave for Italy just so you familiarize yourself with the machine.
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Old Jun 11th, 2006, 06:07 AM
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Using an ATM in Europe is essentially the same as in the US. You can also select the languuage!

As long as your ATM/debit card has Cirrus or Plus on the back, or MC/Visa logo on the front it'll work at any bank ATM.

Most US banks charge a fee for using a non-network bank. Some banks and most credit unions will not charge a fee. BofA does not charge to use partner banks such as Barclays or DeutscheBank & others (not sure about which partner bank is most common in Italy). European banks do not charge an ATM usage fee - just your home bank.

Also, don't expect a receipt.
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Old Jun 11th, 2006, 06:11 AM
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There will be an English option on the machines. The money will be in Euros (unless some machines have an option for a different kind of currency, but I doubt it). The biggest difference I've found is that you can take your cash our of my checking account, but not out of my savings account. I'm not positive whether that is related to the procedure of my home bank or of the foreign ATMs, but I just make sure I am prepared by stuffing my checking account right before a trip just in case I need a lot of money for some dire emergency. I think the machines are usually called Bancomat. In most places that I've visited in Italy, there have been loads of these machines--much more than in the US. But in Sicily outside of major cities (plenty of Bancomats in Palermo) and in Basilicata I saw very few, if any.
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Old Jun 11th, 2006, 06:11 AM
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I know it sounds crazy bill boy, but I have never had a need for an ATM card. I can cash checks at my local supermarket when I go grocery shopping, so I have never had a need to get an ATM card and use my credit cards for anything else--never really need to carry much cash anyway. I have already practiced (more than once)and am more than comfortable using it at home--but I can also read english so it really is not that difficult to figure out--thus my questions about the process in Italy. I am a quick study--so any insights would be greatly appreciated!
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Old Jun 11th, 2006, 06:12 AM
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For your own protection, please wait for and obtain a receipt.

All ATM transactions that I've done in Europe, from some small un-heard of bank in a remote village in France to the large Deutsche Banks, BNP, UBS etc. in major cities, have spit out a receipt after a transaction.
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Old Jun 11th, 2006, 06:18 AM
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Thanks--glad to hear that instructions can be requested in english. I will also make sure I wait for the receipt! Thanks all. Italy, here I come!
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Old Jun 11th, 2006, 06:32 AM
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Hi luli,

If you still have time, I suggest that you ask for a second card for your account or open another account and split your money between the two.

This allows you to:
a. Double your daily limit
b. Have a backup incase something goes wrong with your ATM card.

Also, find out from your bank what they charge for an 'out of network transaction'.

I also suggest that you not use your ATM card as a debit card. It is too easy for thieves to copy your card number and PIN.

Things to be aware of:

1. Your transaction won't go through.

This could be because your bank's computers are off line for maintenance, there is difficulty in the phone lines, the ATM is out of money or just because it's Italy.

Just go to another ATM.

2. The ATM machine eats your card.

You should always use machines that are attached to a bank so that you can get your card back.

3. Italian banks don't charge for use of ATMs, however, there are 'free standing' machines that don't belong to banks that do charge fees. Avoid them.

4. When using an ATM don't let anyone get close behind you. If they do, cancel the transaction and walk away.

They are trying to either get your card number and PIN or to steal your money.

5. Depending on your bank, there might be an 'exchange fee' of up to 3% for converting USD to Euros.

Have a nice visit.

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Old Jun 11th, 2006, 06:33 AM
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It is true getting a receipt is usually an option, but it doesn't always occur. Sometimes the machines just won't print them for various reasons, so you'll have to write down the information to keep track of it, if you care. There is usually a notice on the machine if it can't print a receipt, and they warn you of this before the transaction, so that if that isn't okay with you, you can leave.

I've never had any problems with limits, because mine is higher than I would ever want to take out at one time, I guess. I don't like to carry around wads of cash, so I don't think I've ever taken out more than 200 euro at one time. Just be aware of what your limit is in euro, you should be able to take out up to 225 euro easily.
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Old Jun 11th, 2006, 06:36 AM
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I second both the advice on using the atm card with your checking account; and also using the atm machine attached to a bank during banking hours, where possible.
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Old Jun 11th, 2006, 06:41 AM
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what is the deal with daily limit? I never even knew about that.

is it a limit on how much I can take out of the ATM each day, INCLUDING debit card transactions (using it as a credit card? Or just a limit on the ATM part?

Never had a problem during my trips to europe, but then maybe I never went near the daily limit..
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Old Jun 11th, 2006, 06:49 AM
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Put the card in.
Choose your language.
Enter your PIN.
Recieve your euros.
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Old Jun 11th, 2006, 06:57 AM
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Thanks for the info. Ira--my bank actually sent 2 Debit cards (with different numbers) one for me and one for my husband. I clarified with the bank and they informed me that each card has a $300 limit even though they are attached to the same account--so I think I am covered in case one card gets "eaten". Anyway, thanks for the advice regarding using a machine attached to a bank and the other safety issues you mentioned. You have all been a huge help!
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Old Jun 11th, 2006, 07:13 AM
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>>>>>
4. When using an ATM don't let anyone get close behind you. If they do, cancel the transaction and walk away.

They are trying to either get your card number and PIN or to steal your money.
>>>>>>

having people get close behind you is a fact of life in most places around the world and it does not mean that someone is trying to steal your information or money.

the anglo-american way is to give someone the comfort of a few paces in order to complete their transaction with privacy. this is not the case in most other countries. italy is especially bad for respecting a queue or giving distance at a cash machine. likewise, if you give someone "reasonable" space while you wait, someone will usually jump in the space between you and the person using the machine and you will be in awkward position.

the best way to deal with this is to go to the machine with a partner so you are not as nervous with people so close.
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Old Jun 11th, 2006, 07:14 AM
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Hi MissZiegfeld
>what is the deal with daily limit? I never even knew about that.

All banks put a daily limit on ATM transactions in case of fraud.

>is it a limit on how much I can take out of the ATM each day, INCLUDING debit card transactions (using it as a credit card? Or just a limit on the ATM part?<

I can't help on that, since I never use my ATM card as a credit card. It's too easy for a thief to get both your card number and your PIN.



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Old Jun 11th, 2006, 07:16 AM
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Hi Lu,

Since there will be two of you, you might want to have one of you facing away from the ATM, while the other makes the transaction.

It discourages the casual thief.

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Old Jun 11th, 2006, 07:18 AM
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The daily limit is on cash withdrawals. The amount you charge during the day on a debit card does not affect the daily cash limit.
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Old Jun 11th, 2006, 08:09 AM
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To clarify a few things already mentioned the daily limit is the amount you can withdraw from your account with each card. That is determined by agreement between you and your home bank.

The bank usually has a default limit that they asign to every ATM account but you can ask them to change that if you need a larger daily withdrawal limit.

And as for receipts, in France the ATM's would ask if I wanted one, forgive me I can't remember the french word for it.

Also you should know that your pin must be only 4 digits and you should know the letters because European ATM's have only letters on the keypad not numbers.

Good luck
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Old Jun 11th, 2006, 08:41 AM
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Celtic,

I've never been, but I assume you meant to say that European atm's only have numbers, not letters.
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Old Jun 11th, 2006, 08:44 AM
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luli38,

I was in Italy two years ago and found ATM machines in even the smallest towns. They all gave English as an option for the dialogue.

Good lUck!

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