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Cash and ATMs in Italy: Fees, limits, currency exchange, cards info for your travel

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cash and atms in italy with pizza bought from fee savings atm fee saver

Italy, a country synonymous with art, history, and cuisine, offers a journey through time from the ancient ruins of Rome to the Renaissance masterpieces of Florence, and from the romantic canals of Venice to the picturesque Amalfi Coast. Italy’s rich cultural tapestry, vibrant cities, and stunning landscapes make it a must-visit destination. Understanding the local currency and cash, ATMs in Italy and payment options is essential for a seamless experience. This guide will provide you with the financial insights needed to explore Italy’s wealth of attractions with ease and confidence, allowing you to savor the beauty and flavors of this enchanting country.

Cash or card?

While tapping a card is getting more common, there’s still a good chance you’ll be using cash for about 50-60% of your transactions.

Cash for:

Local trains (in some areas, ticket machines might not accept cards)
Small purchases
Street shopping
Street food vendors
Many hostels and budget hotels
Local markets and bazaars
Tuk-tuks and local taxis (though some cities may have app-based services that accept cards)
Many tour operators, especially local or small-scale ones
Entry fees for some museums, churches, and historical sites
Tips and gratuities in many places
Public buses
Food from local restaurants, especially in less touristy areas

Card for:

Shopping in malls and branded stores in major cities
Car rentals
Entry fees for major tourist attractions and cultural sites in major cities
Upmarket hotels
Good looking coffee shops in major cities
Online bookings for hotels, flights, and tours
Professional pre-paid taxi booking services (such as in larger cities)
Tailoring services in major cities
Spas in major cities
Expensive tour operators
Fancy sit-down restaurants in major cities

So where to get cash in Italy?

ATMs, or
Currency exchange
Money Transfer & local pick-up

Find ATMs in Italy at?

Italy boasts a robust ATM network with over 47,000 machines across the country, available in both cities and small towns. In remote areas, however, ATMs will be harder to find. They are commonly found at major airports, markets, tourist streets, malls, and banks.

These are the places where it will be difficult to find ATMs:

Small airports
Islands
Regional bus stops
Interior of the villages
In small towns, off the main streets
Religious places
Remote resorts and retreats

Popular banks with ATMs

The most popular ATMs in Italy are:

BCC Roma
BNL
Banco BPM
BPER Banca
Intesa Sanpaolo
Unicredit
Credit Agricole
Popolare di Bari
La Poste

There are other banks with ATMs that also accept international debit and credit cards.

Global ATM alliance: Global ATM Alliance is a partnership among many banks in the world to allow its customers to withdraw cash from all partner banks abroad without any ATM fee. Many banks in the US, UK, Europe, Australia, and Latin America are part of the Global ATM Alliance, including Bank of America, Barclays, Deutsche Bank, and others. There is BNL in Italy part of this group.

Where to find currency exchanges?

In Italy, consider these places for currency exchange:

Authorised currency exchange centres: Found in tourist areas and railway stations, with brands like Ria Money Transfer and Exchange, and Eurochange. However, many local shops are just as reliable.
Banks: Convert your currency to Euro at bank branches, especially for common currencies like US dollars, Pounds, Japanese Yen, Thai Baht, and Singapore dollars. Expect a commission fee of 0.5% to 2% per transaction.
Hotels and airports: Both offer currency exchange services, but rates are often less favorable. Some larger hotels may offer rates similar to banks.
Tips:

Avoid exchanging cash in Italy at airports for better rates.
Steer clear of the black market to avoid scams.
Bring new notes for better rates or lower fees.
For US dollars, larger bills generally yield higher rates.

Accepted currencies:
Italy mainly accepts its local currency Euros (EUR or €). Note denominations are € 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, and 500. Other currencies are not usually accepted.
US Dollar: Not accepted
Pound: Not accepted

Know the ATMs in Italy

Foreign debit and credit cards usage:

Certainly, in Italy, ATMs are known for being foreign card-friendly.

Types of cards at ATMs

ATMs in Italy will mainly accept Visa, Mastercard, Cirrus, Plus, JCB and UnionPay. A handful of ATMs accept only Visa or only Mastercard, so try and get at least one of each type. Don’t expect a lot of them to accept Amex or Diners cards.

Types of cards to swipe

For card swiping, Visa and Mastercard are ubiquitously accepted, while you may find limited use for your Amex and other types of cards.

Opening hours

ATMs generally remain open around the clock, every day. While you can approach standalone ATMs at any time, those inside banks typically operate from 9 am to 3 pm.

Workings and functionalities of the ATMs

Italy offers modern ATMs that you’d expect to see in the US or Europe, with a similar operation. Be aware that some may keep your card during the transaction, so don’t forget to take it with you.

ATM names

Words ATM or Bancomat are widely used

PIN type

ATMs in Italy primarily accept 4-digit PINs. Longer PINs are generally not accepted.

Also, many merchants used old machines which require a magnetic stripe on the card and not just a chip-and-pin card.

Language options

Italian ATMs provide Italian and English, with French, German, and Spanish sometimes available. If you need translation assistance, remember that Google Translate can help live, though it’s best to proceed with caution.

Know the foreign exchanges in Italy

Foreign debit and credit cards usage:

Currency exchanges prefer hard cash for exchange. Visa is accepted at many places, mastercard next. Please be mindful of the fees you will pay if you use your card at a currency exchange.

Opening hours:

The preferred method at currency exchanges is cash. Visa is a widely accepted card, with Mastercard also accepted. Be mindful of the fees when using your card.

Languages to interact in:

Staff at currency exchanges in Italy can usually interact in Italian and English and sometimes other European languages such as French, German and Spanish

Exchange names:

Currency exchange locations can be called by several names: ‘Currency Exchange’, ‘Forex’, ‘Exchange’, or ‘Cambio’.

ATM withdrawal limit and ATM Fees

Withdrawal limit: ATMs typically restrict the withdrawal per transaction from €250 to €1000 per transaction. Handful of ATMs do not put any limit and you can withdraw as much as your bank limit allows you to.

ATM fees: Here’s the good news! In Italy, the range of ATM fees goes from €0 to €5, depending on the country from where your card is. Which means there are some ATM brands in Italy that charge absolutely no fees to foreign card holders!

Ways to avoid high fees

Use fee-free ATMs in the country.
Use the ATM Fee Saver app to find fee-free or low-fee ATMs.
Opt for “Decline Conversion” or “Without Conversion” during ATM transactions.
Consider getting fee-free cards from your home country.
For more in-depth insights and alternative methods, check out our detailed article, Withdrawing cash abroad? 9 best ways to save foreign ATM fees.
Avoid no-fee exchange offices at all costs to get cash in Italy – If they say no fee, which means they account for their fee in the exchange rate. Nothing is ever free in currency exchanges
Avoid using credit and debit cards for direct transactions

Ways to find fee-free ATMs in Italy

With the ATM Fee Saver app, you can access fee-free ATMs, currency exchanges, and money transfer services in Italy. It lists the fees for using foreign cards at Italyese ATMs and their withdrawal limits. The app includes a calculator to determine the exact fees for your withdrawals. Furthermore, it provides navigation to your chosen ATM and covers information for 50 countries, including Italy.

Cash in Italy and safety

Carrying cash in Italy

Incidents of mugging, threats, or robberies are rare in Italy, except in top tourist spots where pickpocketing and theft can occur. Plan accordingly and follow these precautions:

Avoid withdrawing large sums in crowded areas.
Limit the cash you carry during long journeys or walks through isolated areas.
Withdraw cash close to when you need it from a nearby ATM with low or no fees.

Additionally, keep these safety tips in mind:

Distribute your cash across different wallets or pockets.
Use secure money belts or pouches for storing cash.
Be discreet about the amount of cash you have.
When dining alone, keep your wallet or bag with you at all times.
Consider placing your wallet in your front pocket.
In busy or tourist areas, wear your backpack in front and keep your belongings close, using security locks if possible.

Safety at ATMs & currency exchanges

ATMs in Italy generally have security measures like cameras and guards, and ATM-related crime rates are low, though pickpocketing is more common.

For safer transactions:

Use Bank Branch ATMs: Prefer ATMs inside bank branches for better security.
Monitor Transactions: Regularly check your card transactions and report any unauthorized activity.
Avoid Public Wi-Fi: Use a VPN for secure online banking and credit card transactions.
Keep Your Card in Sight: Ensure your credit card is always visible during transactions.
Carry a Backup Card: Have an additional credit card as a backup while traveling.
For currency exchanges, use only authorized and registered places.

Always follow safety precautions when using ATMs abroad, including in Italy. For more tips, check out our articles:

Top 8 Things to Avoid While Travelling Abroad: ATM Series
Top 8 Things Not to Do When Travelling Abroad: ATM Series

FAQs

Fee-free ATMs in Italy and possible to withdraw cash free of cost?

Yes, there are many that do not charge any fees to foreign card holders. They are popular and have many ATMs across the country. Use ATM Fee Saver to find those free ATMs. Of course, there might be fees from your bank and also from the ATM if you “accept conversion” offered by that ATM. So hit “Decline Conversion” or “Without Conversion” when the ATM offers you that option, and you will have no extra fees, from the ATM’s side.

Foreign cards from US, UK, India, China, Europe accepted?

Absolutely yes! You can usually use cards from the US, UK, Europe, Australia, and other countries at ATMs in Italy

Bitcoin ATMs?

Yes, there are about 20 Bitcoin ATMs in Italy.

Foreign banks’s presence in Italy

Bank of America: Nope
Citbank: No
Barclays: Yes, there are a few Barclays Bank ATMs in Italy.
HSBC: None at all
Standard Chartered: Nope

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