How to Pay in Italy????

Old Apr 16th, 2007, 04:21 PM
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Something looks VERY weird w/ those numbers. I've never seen ATM rates to be 4%+ higher than the interbank rate. And never seen cash rates better than ATM rates.

Are you sure you got the buy/sell rates right way around??
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Old Apr 16th, 2007, 04:25 PM
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loveitaly, i agree; it seems that for most cases, travellers cheque are passe; however, in my case, i would be able to cash these tc at the pursers desk (on a cruise) at face value (no service fee, and also at american express office (in this case, rome). perhaps on a land vacation only, it may be more limiting, but travellers cheques still have their place in society. plus, they are safe and secure.
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Old Apr 16th, 2007, 04:51 PM
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janisj: hi, yes, i double checked with royal bank.
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Old Apr 16th, 2007, 05:05 PM
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Nothing is more convenient or more economical than the ATM route.

I don't know if there are NON-bank ATMS in Europe, such as we have, where fees are higher. But I've always used bank ATMS in Europe. In Italy you will find one in the central piazza of even small towns.

Though it may be a little cheaper to withdraw large amounts in terms of the number of fees, there is the security aspect that you don't actually have to carry lots of cash or invest in lots of travelers checks. Just like home.

Some people do advise having a credit card for cash advances if you should lose your bank card and have to report it, trapping you without access. Think about keeping them in separate pockets. Also, you might like to tell your bank you're going abroad so access to your account will be approved. Ditto credit card accounts.

Whatever the technical issues with cards, todays way beats the old one of carrying cash or TCs and searching for the exchange counter at the airport, finding mystery %s posted, etc.
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Old Apr 16th, 2007, 05:15 PM
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For any Canadians travelling to Italy and who have a Scotiabank ATM card, Deutschbank does not charge a fee for withdrawals just like BNP Paribas does not charge for the same services in France.
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Old Apr 16th, 2007, 05:44 PM
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Are you sure about that muskoka?

I don't know about Scotia Bank but it is a partner of Bank of America. While BofA does not charge for withdrawals in France from Paribas and does not charge from DeutschBank in GERMANY, it does charge when you withdraw from DeutschBank in ITALY. The "no fee" atm withdrawals are only good at partner banks in their "native" country. I would assume Scotia does the same thing, but I can't confirm that.

Royal Bank surely deserves the award for strangest pricing in the world. They charge more for ATM withdrawals than for credit cards or for selling TCs issued in euros? That's really the weirdest thing I've ever heard of.
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Old Apr 16th, 2007, 05:50 PM
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By the way, I should mention that BofA only changed their policy last year. In 2005 I could still withdraw at ATMs in Italy from DeutschBank for free. In 2006 they started charging to do so. I also found out last summer they charge for withdrawing from Paribas in Spain, but those withdrawals are free from Paribas in France.
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Old Apr 16th, 2007, 08:29 PM
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Hi NeoPatrick:
ScotiaBank volunteered the info that there is no charge for withdrawals taken at DeutschBank in Italy. I had called Scotia to note on my account that there would be activity on it for my upcoming trip there. So, we'll see
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Old Apr 17th, 2007, 02:27 AM
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Anyone know of a conversion free debit card or credit card in Australia?

We just bought a small about of Euros at our local postoffice commission free. The rate was a smidge higher but it worked out cheaper overall.
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Old Apr 17th, 2007, 03:14 AM
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I don't normally get involved in these "how to pay" threads but just have to say sometimes - I never understand why people think this is a big deal these days. Just do as most of us do at home - get cash out of ATMs when you want cash, and pay by credit or debit card when you want to pay by card. There's no difference between abroad and at home.
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Old Apr 17th, 2007, 05:01 AM
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Good luck, Muskoka, although a few fees shouldn't kill you if they do charge. Perhaps Scotia is "behind" BofA in figuring out more ways to charge us. I called after we returned last summer to complain about my charges for the Paribas withdrawals in Spain and the DeutschBank ones in Italy, only to find out those rules had changed. Who knows what new policies they will have thought of by this summer?
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Old Apr 17th, 2007, 05:08 AM
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Hmmm. Muskoka, it looks like you are right. I just looked at the Scotia website and it does show Deutsche Bank for free in several countries including Italy. But on the BofA site, it clearly only lists Deutche Bank in Germany.
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Old Apr 17th, 2007, 08:18 AM
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Well, you know how it is: wait 5 minutes and bank charges become even more creative.
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Old Apr 18th, 2007, 10:37 AM
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Sorry caroline_edinburgh but sometimes ATM cards don't work. We had one that would not work in 3 banks in Northern Ireland. I finally found a BOI that took our Cirrus card. It's a little scary when you don't have much cash and find out that not all ATM cards work. We will be taking about $400 US cash that will tide us over if we have ATM problems. We will pay for as much as we can with Capital One but most of our B&B's require cash. It's foolish to think that everything's going to work just like it does at home. It doesn't always and we need to be aware so we can plan. Kathie
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Old Apr 18th, 2007, 03:30 PM
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Gunny, I had a similar problem in Belguim. I went to at least 3 ATMs and my card didn't work. I reported it to my bank when I got home and they recommended the Visa debit card instead of a regular ATM card. I haven't had a problem since.
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Old Apr 18th, 2007, 06:23 PM
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PM, I learned that in all of Belgium, ATMs will not take ATM only cards without a Visa (debit) connection. After many attempts, I finally entered a bank and spoke with a bank official who informed me that was the case. Recently a few banks in Italy and perhaps elsewhere have started that as well. Two years ago I turned in my ATM only card for an ATM/debit card for that reason.
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Old Apr 19th, 2007, 01:18 AM
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Gunny, OK : I suppose all our cards are combined ATM & debit cards - we don't tend to have the concept of an ATM only card - and they are all linked to an international network. Maybe not all American ones are ?

It's at least 20 years since I considered making any special arrangement like buying TCs or ordering currency ahead, and I've never had a problem. Even the 3 x 1.5 mile island we visited on honeymoon had 2 ATMs linked to the usual international networks !
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Old Apr 19th, 2007, 03:10 AM
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There are many hotels,restaurants etc. that are using something called "Dynamic Currency Conversion ".
When you use your credit card you will receive the authorization slip in US Dollars------with the local business having added their own 3-5 %. This then will be on top of ordinary currency conversion and credit card company charges.
Ask upfront that your credit card bill be in local currency----which then should be actual charges---without any upcharges.

gplusg
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Old Apr 19th, 2007, 06:06 AM
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" don't know if there are NON-bank ATMS in Europe, such as we have, where fees are higher. "

They are all bank ATMīs, and some extra ATM fees are illegal in Europe.
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Old Apr 19th, 2007, 06:13 AM
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elina, I think you are mistaken. There are commercial ATMs in Europe just like there are in the US. You sometimes see them at stores or other public places, rather than attached to a bank or having a bank logo on them. Those ATMs do indeed charge a fee for dispensing money, whether it is coming from a local source or a foreign bank account.
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