VISA gift cards in Italy?

Sep 19th, 2009, 10:05 AM
Join Date: Sep 2005
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KimBowers: You asked for information and got honest answers from experienced people trying to help you. No need to take it as an attack on your integrity or parenting skills.
Luhimari is offline  
Sep 19th, 2009, 10:16 AM
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kybourbon: "janis - How do you think they can get cash unless they use the card to get it? Where will the cash come from?"

Did I say something that was confusing? Probably

First off I posted that w/o a PIN she cannot get cash. Even underlined it. Then after the OP reamed us a collective new one, I explained to her why we all assumed she meant using the card to get cash - by quoting her own words.

In case there is any misunderstanding -- you cannot get cash w/ a visa gift card w/o a PIN, and a visa gift card may or may not work for purchases.

Now I think the OP needs to rely on the school for advice since she thinks 1) we don't know anything, 2) aren't being helpful, and 3) are mean sons-a-guns . . . .
janisj is online now  
Sep 19th, 2009, 12:22 PM
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The gift card are USELESS! Your daughter is going to get to Europe with no cash, but that's OK. We don't know anything on here. She will have a bunch of nice cards that she can't use to buy anything because GIFT CARDS don't work in Europe. There's a reason the other students had trouble with them in other countries!!!!!

If it were me I would ask the school if THEY plan to make the students whole when the CASH is taken? Honestly, If they are only allowing cash then they should be willing to accept that risk!

However, I have a feeling that considering your response to folks on here.... you may not be communicating well with the school either.

Since you already KNOW everything, why are you asking. Your screaming hissy fit above makes you look like an IDIOT! SORRY!

I would not let my child take a lot of cash. I would not give him/her a "Gift card" that's useless. I would give him/her a debit card and tell the school that unless they are willing to reimburse the child for any lost/stolten cash to suck it up.

I took a group with a tour company and the company had no such rules, something tells me this is the school not the tour company.
CarolA is offline  
Sep 20th, 2009, 09:42 PM
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Hells Bells.
This is a typical Fodors exchange, Kim.
You ask a question.
Someone gives a reply to that question, after re-interpreting the question.
You clarify your question.
Someone else answers a different question.
You clarify again.
Someone else answers something else, and throws in a few free insults as well.

Peter_S_Aus is offline  
Sep 20th, 2009, 09:56 PM
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Oh, and for what it's worth, we used Visa Debit cards, loaded in Australia with Euro. Costs $11 to buy the card, there is NO FEE on the initial value load, and then for subsequent loads there is a 1.1% (yep, that's one point one percent) fee on the loaded value. ATM's in Italy charged a 2 Euro fee per withdrawal, and when we paid merchants by Visa card, there were no additional fees. The exchange rate when loading the card is the same as the XE.Com mid market rate, less 2.5% approximately.
Peter_S_Aus is offline  
Sep 20th, 2009, 10:01 PM
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Peter: She asked a question(s) - but exactly what isn't clear.

Does she want to use the gift card for cash -- well it can't be done w/o a PIN.

But she says there can't be a PIN. Okaaaay. Then she says she wants the card just for purchases. But then she says the schools insists on cash only.

We tell her the gift cards are not accepted everywhere for purchases, and she says we are not being helpful (?)

So - you tell us which questions the OP asked that weren't answered . . . . .
janisj is online now  
Sep 20th, 2009, 10:05 PM
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It's comments like this:
Your child's school really doesn't know what they are talking about. I would get my child the ATM card. The school won't know whether she is swiping a VISA money card or an ATM card when she gets cash since both will require PINs. How silly of them.

that I find a bit strange.
Peter_S_Aus is offline  
Sep 20th, 2009, 10:11 PM
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"that I find a bit strange."

Why? If the OP's posts are accurate, the school obviously doesn't know what they are talking about. (or just maybe, there was misunderstanding between the OP and the school)
janisj is online now  
Sep 21st, 2009, 04:39 AM
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janisj- For some reason Australians use the VISA money cards (see my post where the person couldn't get hers to work). I don't know if they don't have access to ATM cards or if VISA doesn't charge them as much to use/exchange. I know any American Fodorite's that have posted on this board about buying/using them had a purchase fee, a load fee, a markup of 7-10% exchange rate, a fee at the ATM to use the card. I'm not sure why an American product would give a better rate to be in Australia unless they have some laws/caps on such things.

>>>ATM's in Italy charged a 2 Euro fee per withdrawal<<<

Peter - ATM's aren't charging you that fee, VISA money card is.
kybourbon is offline  
Sep 21st, 2009, 06:24 AM
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For those with good intentions and tried to answer my questions I thank you very much for taking the time to help me.

You are quite welcome. My suggestion is to open a joint checking account with your daughter at your bank. Start her off with the amount you think she needs. She can contact you if she really needs more and you can make a deposit for here in the US. She can use her new ATM card at any machine in Europe and only carry around as much cash as she/you are comfortable with (40 Euros?).

This is the simplest, easiest, and safest solution. I see no negatives or downsides to this approach (other than the hour or so for you and DD to go to bank to open the account).

This is exactly what I did for my son his junior year of HS on his class trip to Spain.
bardo1 is offline  
Sep 21st, 2009, 06:38 AM
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kybourbon: From her other threads, I think the OP lives in Canada. Does anyone know if there are different rules/costs for visa gift cards purchased north of the border?
janisj is online now  
Sep 21st, 2009, 06:38 AM
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Peter, I wouldn't say the OP "clarified" anything. She got more confusing as she continued to post, and her original post wasn't clear to begin with, with regard to whether she wanted to get cash with the card or use it for purchases. And no matter what she posted, it's a bad idea. You don't seem to understand yourself who's charging you what with that card. For example, no ATM in Italy ever charged you for a withdrawal.

It has been misstated by CarolA that no Visa Gift Card is usable abroad - you CAN buy one for use internationally. But that doesn't make it a good idea. Read the "Foreign Transactions" paragraph in the link below. It essentially says they can charge you whatever exchange rate catches their fancy. Add that to the fact that they charge you for the card, charge you for withdrawals, and don't give you back anything you might have left on the card at the end of your travels, and we're still talking RIP-OFF. Plus, small merchants in Italy won't take them, so you see where we're coming from? We're talking about a KID going to Italy and probably wanting to buy souvenirs and food and such for a few euros here and there - the VISA card's just not going to work in this situation.
StCirq is online now  
Sep 21st, 2009, 07:02 AM
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Such passion! I only see people trying to help, while somewhat diplomatically pointing out some flaws in a plan. All good if our goal is to maximize the pleasure she will have on the trip, no?

Agree that travelers cheques are not the way to go. Somewhat confused by the "no PIN" rule

The OP has stated that they had issues using the VISA card the year before. Posters here have confirmed that yes, it will be the same for Italy, and offered alternatives.

Financially, it is not a good product. For merchant acceptance, it is not a good product.

The easiest, IMHO, is to give her some euros before she gooes, say 100. This "gets her going". Whenever she sees an ATM machine, she gets a few hundred more. It would seem reasonable that every couple of days, she will be near a machine where she could stop (and not be part of a crowd) to get some more.

This is the simplest and lowest risk (which I think the OP is looking for). Yes, maybe you could get a VISA card, but if it does not work out, what are her options? Call home, borrow money? Having an ATM card (or two) will not be risky. It works, people here do it everyday.

Interesting that the Australian version seems...reasonable. But, as stated above, it may not match what the traveller may be using it for.
Michel_Paris is offline  
Sep 21st, 2009, 07:10 AM
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It also says in t T&Cs that StCirq linked to that it cannot be used for cash. So all in all a bad idea for a school trip.

How much money are the likely to need? Do they have to pay for meals for instance or is it just pocket money to buy the odd drink and souvenir?
hetismij is offline  
Sep 21st, 2009, 07:12 AM
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Posts: 410
I think the OP is long gone.....
ipod_robbie is offline  

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