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

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Jun 11th, 2006, 08:57 AM
  #21
 
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The ATMs in Copenhagen and Stockholm had numbers on their pads. It's been several years since I was in Italy, so don't remember actually. Don't feel bad luli38, I never use an ATM at home either. So there ya go.
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Jun 11th, 2006, 09:56 AM
  #22
 
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luli38

Agree to practice with your card here in the US. And there is no need to use checks at your market - they will happily take your ATM and give you cash back. And it's much faster than writing a check and safer than carrying a checkbook - always dangerous if your purse is stolen.
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Jun 11th, 2006, 09:57 AM
  #23
 
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Can someone confirm that there are numbers, not letters, on the European keypads -- specifically Italy?

I read that your pin should be 4 digits and have no zeros.
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Jun 11th, 2006, 10:07 AM
  #24
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In Italy and France I saw keypads with only numbers, no letters.

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Jun 11th, 2006, 10:12 AM
  #25
 
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I've used ATMs in France, Switzerland, Prague and Italy and don't remember any pads with just letters. I didn't memorize the letters representing my PIN and I don't believe I can think fast enough to trasnpose the numbers into letters so I'm puzzled on that statement. Maybe I think faster than I know?

luli38, heed Ira's advice and have your husband stand behind you when you're using your card. I was on a trip with a friend who lost her card when the person behind her reached over her shoulder and grabbed it and ran ... apparently to a store because he'd managed to charge a lot to her account before she could notify her bank.
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Jun 11th, 2006, 10:37 AM
  #26
 
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In Ireland I think it is only numbers on the pads. With only 4 numbers to remember, it's not so bad. I do write mine down and have them with my passport.
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Jun 11th, 2006, 05:33 PM
  #27
 
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Why would anyone need a keypad with letters on it? I've never seen an ATM keypad anywhere that had letters on it, including any I used in the US. My US bank's ATM keypad doesn't have letters on it.
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Jun 11th, 2006, 05:49 PM
  #28
 
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Christina: Many USA ATMs have letters and numbers on the pads - like on a telephone. So some people use a word for their PIN instead of a series of numbers. I guess it is easier for them to remember.

If you use a PIN "word" just make sure you know what the number substitutes are. This happend to a friend who was traveling w/ me for a month in the UK. I told him and his wife several times they needed a 4 digit PIN but never thought to tell them they needed numbers.

Well their PIN was a word and they couldn't use the ATMs in London. I didn't know what was happening because we were in different flats and didn't see each other every day. PHones over there also don't have letters on them so that wasn't a help working out the PIN. they finally found an old phone box in Kew that had letters on it and finally could convert their PIN to numbers - and finally get money after 4 days in London . . . . .
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Jun 11th, 2006, 06:02 PM
  #29
 
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Thanks, Ira.
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Jun 11th, 2006, 06:14 PM
  #30
 
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Be aware that there are times....usually Sunday mornings in Europe....when the "system is down" ...it's just some communication thing between European and American banks that there's no connect until about 2 pm Sunday afternoon in Europe. So if you can't get money on a Sunday morning in Europe, don't panic. It's happened to me countless times.

And about the no zero in your pin number, I hope that's not true, because my PIN number begins with zero. Any further thoughts on this? My PIN # worked fine in Italy 6 years ago. Has anything changed?
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Jun 11th, 2006, 06:19 PM
  #31
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Author: luli38
Date: 06/11/2006, 08:47 am
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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Author: bill_boy
Date: 06/11/2006, 08:58 am
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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Author: J62
Date: 06/11/2006, 09:07 am
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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Author: cmt
Date: 06/11/2006, 09:11 am
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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Author: luli38
Date: 06/11/2006, 09:11 am
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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Author: bill_boy
Date: 06/11/2006, 09:12 am
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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Author: luli38
Date: 06/11/2006, 09:18 am
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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Author: ira
Date: 06/11/2006, 09:32 am
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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Author: Christina
Date: 06/11/2006, 09:33 am
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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Author: rosexmke
Date: 06/11/2006, 09:36 am
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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Author: MissZiegfeld
Date: 06/11/2006, 09:41 am
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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Author: starrsville
Date: 06/11/2006, 09:49 am
Put the card in.
Choose your language.
Enter your PIN.
Recieve your euros.



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Author: luli38
Date: 06/11/2006, 09:57 am
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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Author: walkinaround
Date: 06/11/2006, 10:13 am
>>>>>
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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Author: ira
Date: 06/11/2006, 10:14 am
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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Author: ira
Date: 06/11/2006, 10:16 am
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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Author: starrsville
Date: 06/11/2006, 10:18 am
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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Author: Celticharper
Date: 06/11/2006, 11:09 am
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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Author: rocklit ([email protected])
Date: 06/11/2006, 11:41 am
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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Author: teacher33
Date: 06/11/2006, 11:44 am
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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Author: crefloors
Date: 06/11/2006, 12:57 pm
The ATMs in Copenhagen and Stockholm had numbers on their pads. It's been several years since I was in Italy, so don't remember actually. Don't feel bad luli38, I never use an ATM at home either. So there ya go.



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Author: nytraveler
Date: 06/11/2006, 01:56 pm
luli38

Agree to practice with your card here in the US. And there is no need to use checks at your market - they will happily take your ATM and give you cash back. And it's much faster than writing a check and safer than carrying a checkbook - always dangerous if your purse is stolen.
StCirq--I hope you are correct about the "0". Both of our Pins have "0" in them!







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Jun 11th, 2006, 09:07 PM
  #32
 
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The usual myth about PIN is that they don't work in Europe if they start with a zero. I have used over 50 bankomats owned by at least a dozen banks in Italy and they all accepted my PIN that starts with a zero.
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Jun 11th, 2006, 09:57 PM
  #33
 
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luli38

As a member of the club that never finds the need to use a ATM card in my daily life I found your thread and replies very helpful. Thanks for posting.

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Jun 12th, 2006, 10:55 AM
  #34
 
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topping
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Jun 12th, 2006, 11:00 AM
  #35
 
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Don't panic if your card doesn't work at every ATM. I tried to use mine in Rome for the first time on a Monday morning. It took 5 ATMs before I finally got cash. I think the first 4 were just out of money from over the weekend. After those first four problems, I had no issues the rest of the trip.
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Jun 12th, 2006, 11:49 AM
  #36
 
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Often, the Italian ATM (bancomat) screen will give you several choices as to the amount you withdraw: e.g., 50, 100, 200 Euros. The largest amount on the screen may be the machine's per transaction limit, which is unrelated to your bank's daily limit. If you need 500, and the machine's limit is 250, just repeat the transaction or go to another machine.

Also for your first withdrawal, it is a good idea to take out an amount that is not a multiple of 50 because some Italians seem not to like to make change for large bills. If you take 240, you'll get 10s and/or 20s as well as the 50s.
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Jun 12th, 2006, 11:54 AM
  #37
 
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"Also for your first withdrawal, it is a good idea to take out an amount that is not a multiple of 50 because some Italians seem not to like to make change for large bills. If you take 240, you'll get 10s and/or 20s as well as the 50s."

I hate to admit it, but my 13 year old daughter was actually the one who told me to do this!
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Jun 12th, 2006, 04:09 PM
  #38
 
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I think it depends upon the machine which denominations you receive. At the airport and some machines, I got 50 Euro bills. At other machines, I got a combination of bills.
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Jun 12th, 2006, 04:19 PM
  #39
 
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If you ask for a multiple of €50, the machine might give you just 50's. But if you ask for €240 or €235, it can't give out just €50 notes. You would automatically get some smaller denominations.
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Jun 13th, 2006, 04:36 AM
  #40
 
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I just returned from Italy and had no problems with the ATM's. This is the route that I will go from now on. One thing that I suggest is that you find out what the times are that are considered a "day" for your bank. Mine was 7pm in Illinois.

I also agree about asking for odd denominations. No one in small shops has change for 50's.

I was always given a receipt and had no problem finding ATM's even in Sicily.
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