Thursday, June 16, 2011

Italy: Banks & Money (

Italy: Banks & Money ( Italy, as in most of Western Europe, the official currency is the Euro (€). For visitors from the US, it is easy to make a conversion: 1 Euro is, right now, about US$1.32. To make things a bit simpler, consider that 3 Euro equal approx. US$ 4.
Changing money into Euro: you can change money almost everywhere in Italy. You can go to any bank -- public hours are usually from about 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday (times may change slightly from bank to bank, but all are closed all day on Saturdays, Sundays and national holidays Travelers' checks are almost impossible to exchange at hotels and shops, but can still be cashed at banks and foreign exchange offices .

Credit Cards / Debit Cards / ATMs
Major establishments accept credit cards whose logos are posted in their front windows, just as they do in the USA and Canada. You should check with your credit card company to see if they charge you an international transaction fee or foreign transaction fee. Visa and MasterCard charge a processing fee on international transactions, and most card-issuing banks add their own fees on top of that. They equal to generally a percentage of your overall purchase price, sometimes as high as 3% extra.
ATMs (Automatic Teller Machines) in Italy are known as Bancomat, and can be found anywhere in large cities as well as in small towns. The machine operates just as ATMs do anywhere else; at the beginning of the transaction, it prompts the user for the preferred language. Simply withdraw money as you would at home. Of course, in Italy the money will be dispensed in Euro, but when you return home, your bank will have converted the amount of your withdrawal into dollars using the most beneficial exchange rate possible. Pay attention: your bank account may have daily withdrawal limits, e.g. US$300, therefore, you have to account for the currency conversion when withdrawing euro in Italy.

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