Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page > Posting from Siena-ATM emergency! Help needed!

Posting from Siena-ATM emergency! Help needed!

Reply

Jul 26th, 2014, 12:00 AM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 905
Posting from Siena-ATM emergency! Help needed!

Hello fellow travelers,

We're in the second half of our trip to Barcelona and Italy, and we have had many issues getting money out of the ATMs in both Spain and Italy with our Capital One 360 card. However, until we got to Bellagio, we were able to get by with 500€ at a time ( which we were doing to get enough to pay cash/ get 10% discount on our hotel bill).

In Bellagio, when we tried to get more than 500€ in a day, the machine refused the transaction, and so we tried smaller amounts, at which point, it suddenly stopped recognizing the card! I called Cap1, and was assured that the problem is not on their end, but that perhaps we'd gone over our limit by forgetting to take the dollar/euro exchange as well as fees for the host bank into account.

So, the next day we tried my husband's card, linked to the same account, and he got 500€, then tried to get 250€ more to pay the hotel: at which point, his card stopped working!

We went into a bank in Bellagio, but they would not give us an advance on the card. Then, we tried our cards in San Gimignano yesterday, thinking it would be okay since it was a new 24 hour period. Neither card was recognized, so we went into a bank there, but she told us that their branch was not authorized to give cash. She suggested Poggibonsi or Florence branches, possibly Siena.

This morning, my husband walked into a bank in Siena, but no one spoke English. So in desperation, he tried our ATM Card with Bank of America, even knowing of the hefty fees, and that card wasn't recognized either!

We will be in Florence in two days, and we can try the BNL Italia branch, which has helped us before. Hopefully, they will help, but I have my doubts...

Do any of you seasoned travelers have any suggestions for us? Our cash is getting low. We have been charging everything, but we still have over a week to go, and this is getting scary!
cybertraveler is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 26th, 2014, 12:40 AM
  #2
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 1,457
There are two issues here - card recognition and withdrawal limits.

The ATM machine will say what card circuits are recognized - Visa, Mastercard, Cirrus, Maestro etc. If you card is not covered by one of these circuits it won't work. Unfortunately some banks advertize that they are on these circuits but may still refuse foreign cards. I recently experienced the reverse situation in America. Generally you should not have problems of card recognition at the bigger banks with an international profile - BNL. Intesa and Unicredit for example.

Regarding withdrawal limits I have noticed that, even though you may have certain daily/nonthly limits, the standard daily limit in Italy is Euro 250 and there is also a monthly limit which is often a maximum of Euro 1,500. It may be that you have hit this limit even though your bank permits a higher limit. With this issue you should contact your bank back home.

If you have an Amex card you may be able to get a cash advance at the Amex office in Florence which is near Piazza della Signoria.

If desperate you could always get someone to send you cash from home using Western Union. Expensive but if you are deperate.
nochblad is online now  
Reply With Quote
Jul 26th, 2014, 12:49 AM
  #3
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 6,432
I would first try the Bank of America card in another ATM machine; I don't see how your problems with the first card could have anything to do with the second card, in the name of a different person, being refused. It may have been a one-time problem with that particular machine.

Second, avoid all large cash transactions in Italy. The finance police are monitoring banks for evidence of large cash transactions, which are almost always made in order to avoid paying taxes. This may make the banks nervous about cards being used very frequently for cash withdrawals. I haven't heard of cards being blocked because of excessive withdrawals; I just did a search on Italian sites and didn't see any news of such action, but it wouldn't surprise me at all. At the moment cash transactions over €1000 are illegal, and there has been talk of lowering the limit further.

Most Italians are sick of the big tax cheats in this country and are not very pleased to see rich foreigners enabling the vice. It sounds as though you're staying in rather expensive hotels, if you need to withdraw more than €500 a day. Rather than try to save 10% on a large hotel bill, and expect the long-suffering Italian taxpayer to subsidize your vacation, you could save even more by staying in hotels that cost 15% less.
bvlenci is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 26th, 2014, 01:08 AM
  #4
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 1,457
Agree with comment about second card. But reason could be that your bank has not cleared use of card outside of America. Did you advise your bank of your travels and need to use card outside of US?

Cash transactions over Euro 1,000 are illegal for Italians and Italian residents. Foreigners can actually pay in cash above this amount but there are certain reporting requirements which require proof of identity etc. Only a few places are fully conversant with these regulations.
nochblad is online now  
Reply With Quote
Jul 26th, 2014, 01:20 AM
  #5
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 7,559
Interesting to learn about the possible monthly limit. I hope if you go back to charging most of your hotel bills and purchases that you will be OK as you shouldn't need much cash after that. I am sorry you are having such a challenge.
KTtravel is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 26th, 2014, 01:23 AM
  #6
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,846
I don't know the specifics of your card but we have had similar problems trying to get cash overseas. We've had the same panicky feeling of what are we going to do if we can't get any cash.

Try using different ATMs, at different times, with different banks. This has worked for us, no idea why. We also had trouble with the daily limit, even though we thought we were within the next 24 hour period, the large island we were on was 'behind' the normal times - that doesn't make sense but that's what we were told by the bank.

Also try using different keys at the ATM - maybe hit savings instead of credit, etc. This has worked for us as well, even though it made no sense. We have been desperate a few times and thought what have we got to lose.

Hope it all works out for you. I can sympathise, having been in similar situations.

Kay
KayF is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 26th, 2014, 04:17 AM
  #7
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 6,432
Only certain types of business can accept cash payments larger than €1000 from foreigners, and hotels are not one of them. The main categories are retail outlets and travel agencies. The foreigner has to have a foreign passport and proof that they are not resident in Italy, which would mean proof of residence in some other place. (Having a passport doesn't prove that you live in a country.)
bvlenci is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 26th, 2014, 04:32 AM
  #8
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 2,892
I'm not a bank authority. I just know what I know, which is limited to my own experience.

Many ATMs in Italy will not dispense more than 250 Euro per transaction. And each ATM may have its own daily limit, which can vary from bank to bank.

My Capital One debit card has a $600 (dollar) cap on daily withdrawals. That translates to 446 Euros. If you try to get more than 446 Euros in a 24-hr period, the ATM should refuse you. If somehow the transaction went through, it will send a red flag to the fraud department. Your issue is with the bank's fraud department. Most local bank personnel don't know anything about that.

Capital One recently stopped increasing daily withdrawal limits because of an increase in fraud. So that convenience option is no longer available to customers.

To get the 10% discount on hotels, you need to come to Italy with more Euros. I've been doing this for years. With frequent trips, you can build up your own personal cash reserve. It just means traveling with more money. A lot of worry-warts and insecure people freak out at this prospect, but I'm not the kind of person who lives in fear of being robbed. To look at me, you would never know that I might carry a lot of cash. Plus, I'm trained in self-defense. Woe be the thief who tries to lay an unwelcome hand on me.

I don't recommend my process to others. A 10% discount is not worth your safety and well-being. If you carry cash on the street (anywhere), you need to be able to afford to lose it. Because anything can happen at any time. That's the way life is.
NYCFoodSnob is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 26th, 2014, 10:06 AM
  #9
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 73
My husband and I were in Italy for just over a month last September.. We were able to get 300 euro at a time from BNL ATMs. We each used a separate card linked to different accounts so we could have fewer ATM trips. I know we got more than 1500 euros each in the month so I don't understand the reference to a monthly limit unless this is a change from last year. Does anyone know of potential monthly limits in Switzerland(going there soon)?
elizacat is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 26th, 2014, 11:08 AM
  #10
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 33,155
I have a Cap One account, not 360, and have never had a single problem using it in any ATM in Europe or Mexico. I do have limits on it, though, so I don't go over them. I don't know your account limits, but I know I could not get 750 euro out on my Cap One account as that is currently over $1000!

You don't seem to even know your own limits on your account. I would bet there are some. Your problem seems to be that you want to take out routinely more than 500 euro every day. What on earth are you doing with all that money. Ever heard of credit cards to pay for things.
Christina is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 26th, 2014, 11:30 AM
  #11
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 9,171
250 a day is the limit on all out cards but did have a problem getting cash in France. Thankful we brought enough euros with us to pay for apartment. We tried many things and to this day our bank can not tell us why but we crossed the channel and the UK atms spit out the money for us. I carry cards from two different banks now.
flpab is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 26th, 2014, 11:54 AM
  #12
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 15,820
I struggle to imagine needing E500 cash for a whole holiday, sorry with your problems, but what are you doing with all this cash?
bilboburgler is online now  
Reply With Quote
Jul 26th, 2014, 06:15 PM
  #13
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 57,877
I hate to say it but you are making very large withdrawls on a very frequent basis and it is perfectly possible that:

You have gone over your own bank's limit
You have gone over the monthly limit for Italy
All of this activity has been referred to the fraud department at your bank and your account frozen

First - start paying for everything with credit cards. Carrying that much cash and paying so much out every day is foolhardy - as noted above.

Second - call your bank during US business hours and find out what it going on

Third - call your second bank and find out if that card is approved for withdrawals in europe

Fourth - if necessary go the AmEx office and make a cash withdrawal - but don't think they will give you some huge amount to tide you over - this should just be for walking around money
nytraveler is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 26th, 2014, 07:14 PM
  #14
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 6,145
Makes you long for the days of Traveler's Cheques.

In the eternal battle here whether to bring some foreign currency from home or not, the above is why I always bring the equivalency of a couple hundred bucks, just in case.
IMDonehere is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 27th, 2014, 01:53 AM
  #15
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 6,432
All that cash is being used to pay hotels in cash, in order to get a 10% discount, probably offered so the hotel doesn't have to report the income. Some hotels say that it's to avoid credit card charges, but any Italian would scoff at that.

The next time a hotel offers you that deal, tell them that you'd be happy to pay in cash, but that you need a fiscal receipt, because it's a business trip. Watch the hotelier ponder that one.
bvlenci is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 27th, 2014, 03:44 AM
  #16
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 10,169
All this mess to save 10% on a hotel bill?

Did you really walk around Barcelona with €500 in your pocket?
Ackislander is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 27th, 2014, 03:50 AM
  #17
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 31,832
>>>In the eternal battle here whether to bring some foreign currency from home or not, the above is why I always bring the equivalency of a couple hundred bucks, just in case.<<<

Wouldn't make a difference with the OP who seems to need 500€ a day. I'm curious why they need so much cash too.

I had my ATM card not work a few years ago. Since I had used this card on many trips before and had notified them of this trip, I knew it was some other problem. It turned out the bank had gotten new software and that was the problem.
kybourbon is online now  
Reply With Quote
Jul 27th, 2014, 04:15 AM
  #18
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 2,892
"The next time a hotel offers you that deal, tell them that you'd be happy to pay in cash, but that you need a fiscal receipt, because it's a business trip. Watch the hotelier ponder that one."

Posso avere una ricevuta per favore?

I travel mostly for business. I just happen to be in a very fun business. I am often offered the discount, and I always accept it. I have never had a hotel owner in Italy question my request for a receipt.

I am meticulous about my accounting for taxes. I keep and log every receipt for every penny spent on the business (actually, a member of my staff does the work). Been doing it for 30+ years. It would never occur to me to forgo a business receipt under any circumstance.
NYCFoodSnob is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 27th, 2014, 04:19 AM
  #19
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 6,145
KY

To state the obvious, if you start with some money, you will need less during your trip. If you need less, than there is lesser chance of running into limit problems and an ATM eating your card or all the other problems associated with needing more cash as noted above.
IMDonehere is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 27th, 2014, 05:16 AM
  #20
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 57,877
Well unless you routinely withdraw $600 or $700 $ every day at home - starting to do so while on vacation would be a red flag to almost every fraud department - assuming someone stole your card and pin and was maxing daily withdrawals. If you knew you were going to do this (which I just really don't get) you should have warned your bank in advance and found out how much you could take out without freezing the account.
nytraveler is offline  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 06:28 AM.