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Italy: Cash, Credit, or Travelers Checks?

Italy: Cash, Credit, or Travelers Checks?

Sep 12th, 2005, 03:56 AM
  #1  
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Italy: Cash, Credit, or Travelers Checks?

i am leaving for italy in 2 weeks. yay!
i plan on taking a couple hundred euro over in my pocket but wanted to rely on ATM for the rest... that way i really only have a few hundred at a time on me.
I also have credit card but there is a service charge now on Visa & Mastercard for translating the euro... as i am sure will be the case for my ATM as well.
Basically everywhere i go there will be a charge.
I'd like to know what some others have done...recently speaking.
kimberlina01 is offline  
Sep 12th, 2005, 04:08 AM
  #2  
 
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Just got back. We relied on ATM's (Visa debit card),mostly without any problems. Only in Verona did we find it impossible to find a working ATM. Everything else went on credit card, Mastercard and occasionly American Express. My Atm charge was only $1.00 per transaction.
Ralstonlan is offline  
Sep 12th, 2005, 05:09 AM
  #3  
 
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I use my ATM card for cash and credit card for larger purchases. Having reviewed my statements for the past several trips, I am getting about the same rate from both methods. My bank does not charge for overseas ATM withdrawals, and my credit card does not add anything to the 1% VISA fee.
Nikki is offline  
Sep 12th, 2005, 05:50 AM
  #4  
 
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I would never want to put all the proverbial eggs in one basket. S*[email protected] happens. Have some cash (as you do) and some TCs for emergencies. Then do as others have advised. Check your own CC and ATM contracts for the fine print and use only those with the best rates. It's a jungle out there!
eliztrav is offline  
Sep 12th, 2005, 06:23 AM
  #5  
 
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My experience is that traveler's checks are more trouble than they should be. They are often, not accepted at businesses. They, then must be cashed at banks and don't command a very favorable rate.

Times have changed.

Barbara_in_CT is offline  
Sep 12th, 2005, 06:24 AM
  #6  
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good advice all-
i was planning on taking a little of everything. except maybe TravChex. They are a hassle... Although, I might be able to get some in euros.
Hmmm....
kimberlina01 is offline  
Sep 12th, 2005, 09:04 AM
  #7  
 
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If TravChex are just another version of TCs, do not bother. They will be a pain to cash, even if they come in euros.
Michael is offline  
Sep 12th, 2005, 09:20 AM
  #8  
 
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IF you do go with traditional Travelers Checks, get them in U.S. dollar (assuming you are American?). That way you can easily redeposit them when you return home. TC's in euro are no advantage.

That said, I would not bother with them if you have cash, ATM card(s), and credit card(s).
suze is online now  
Sep 12th, 2005, 09:33 AM
  #9  
 
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I never use Trav Checks in businesses or restaurants, etc. Just keep them for emergencies as I said & then cash in a lump sum if needed. Agree they are outdated as a primary mode of payment, but they still have certain valued qualities that make me keep a few around....for emergencies. Definitely would get them in dollars, not euro.

eliztrav is offline  
Sep 12th, 2005, 10:03 AM
  #10  
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I have used ATM's in Italy with no prblem but each one seems to be a little different so pay attention.[-K

I have been told tht some ATM's will "swallow" your card if it is not take out quickly. One of our fellow travelers says that he had that happen.
ed is offline  
Sep 12th, 2005, 10:13 AM
  #11  
 
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Bear in mind that the Italians are not that keen on credit cards - prefering good, old-fashioned cash.

I always use ATMs in Italy and have never had a problem - apart from once in Verona! (That seems not to be an isolated incident)
clarerabone is offline  
Sep 12th, 2005, 10:38 AM
  #12  
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so... no T.C. (but i can see see the 'emergency' point.) and ATMs are good. I will need alot of cash anyway since I am staying in alot more 'rented' places other then actual hotels.. and they all prefer cash.

Does anyone have a clue what the fee is on credit cards.. mine is MasterCard.
My brother works for my bank so he's taking care of the 'fee' thing for ATM.

And what about that new prepaid ATM-esque card from AmEx... it is supposed to be replacing the traditional T.C.
kimberlina01 is offline  
Sep 12th, 2005, 11:38 AM
  #13  
 
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YOu have to read the facts about things. Like the Amex card, read the terms. They are expensive. Why would you buy an AMEX product instead of using your own ATM card?

No one can tell you what your credit card company charges if they don't know what it is. You need to ask them. It isn't a Mastercard thing, it depends on the issuer.
Christina is offline  
Sep 12th, 2005, 12:16 PM
  #14  
 
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Those pre-loaded travel cards are a rip-off, have problems, and high fees. You might as well go with paper TC's instead.

Why not use your own ATM card?

Your questions about credit cards are individual, there's no way we can guess what your particulars are. Ask your bank.
suze is online now  
Sep 12th, 2005, 12:17 PM
  #15  
 
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Have the daily limit on your ATM raised and/or open a second ATM account if you are worried about getting enough cash to pay rents.
suze is online now  
Sep 12th, 2005, 04:10 PM
  #16  
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ok, ok,
you all have good points. i am just not a cash-person but guess i will be w/ this trip. i prefere to charge things... but if i have a once per use ATM fee and get out a few hundred each time i will probably be saving a few bucks. i can save the C.C. for big ticket items if i have any.
i am new to this !!
kimberlina01 is offline  
Sep 12th, 2005, 05:05 PM
  #17  
 
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Nothing wrong with using credit cards. We thought you needed lots-o-cash for your rentals... was the point of the question, non?
suze is online now  
Sep 13th, 2005, 03:28 AM
  #18  
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yes suze- i do.
i dont mind taking out a large sum for the rentals... its the spending cash that concerns me.
who knows how much 'unplanned' cash i will blow thru in one day. My brother works for Bank of America (my bank). he says they charge $2 for using other banks + there will be the standard atm fee from the italian banks. He is going to try to do SOMETHING since he is an employee. But $3 per withdrawal is alot i think.
I just say a thread about B.O.A. ATM cards so i am going to go read that.
kimberlina01 is offline  
Sep 13th, 2005, 06:35 AM
  #19  
 
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The Italian banks will not charge a fee to use their ATMs. The only fee comes from your own bank. Many U.S. banks charge no fee.
Nikki is offline  
Sep 13th, 2005, 07:54 AM
  #20  
 
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You may face a challenge in getting enough cash from an ATM for payment of lodgings.

First, your bank has a limit on how much you can withdraw per day. Some banks will increase this limit if you ask; some won't.

Each ATM has a limit on how much it will issue per transaction. However, my experience is that you can circumvent this by just doing another transaction.

I'm married, so my way around my bank's daily limit is to have my wife carry a card also. The limit is per card, so we can get twice as much by having two cards. If I didn't have a wife to carry a second card, I would just open a second checking account at my bank; they are almost always free now, and my bank, for one, allows me to transfer funds between accounts via the internet.

Another complication is that you don't know how much of your bank's daily limit you have used, since you don't know the exchange rate and fees applied. Let's say that your bank sets a $500 daily limit. You withdraw 250 euro from an ATM (the transaction limit set by that ATM). You have probably used about $325 of your $500 daily limit, but the $175 left will only get you about 130 euro. You just have to estimate the figures, and don't be shocked if your second transaction is rejected as excessive, just try it again with a lower amount.

I'm curious what the emergencies are that would warrant the cost and inconvenience of lugging around travelers checks? I think having multiple ATM cards and credit cards could handle just about anything that would come up, assuming you keep them safe and separated.
clevelandbrown is offline  

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