What's the Best Way to Get Money in Italy?

How to Get Cash on Your Italian Vacation

bancomat photo
••• Bancomat in Italy. by Martha Bakerjian

Although you can use a credit card many places, there are times when you will need to get cash or euro. Small family-run restaurants, bars, shops, or B&Bs often do not accept credit cards and you cannot always use your debit card for purchases as you can in your home country. Here's information about how to get cash when you travel in Italy.

Answer: Here's How to Get Money in Italy

The best way to get money in Italy is to use an ATM or debit card at a Bancomat, an Italian ATM machine, or Postomat, a cash machine found at most post offices.

Traveler's checks can be difficult and time-consuming to cash and you often lose money in the transaction. There are very few places to cash traveler's checks these days.

Before you go, check with your bank to find out what they charge for foreign transactions on your ATM card. Some banks charge a percentage, others charge a flat fee, and some banks charge both. These fees can change so you'll need to check for yourself. If you plan to use a lot of cash, it might be a good idea to get an ATM card with a bank that has a low foreign transaction fee. For example, I have an online account with Capital One that offers an ATM card with no foreign transaction fee and an online account with Everbank that charges only 1%.

Tips for Getting Money in Italy with Your Atm or Debit Card:

  • You will need a 4-digit PIN code and your ATM card must be linked to your checking account (not savings)
  • Find out your current daily limit for cash withdrawals, you may need to raise it
  • Call your bank before you leave to let them know you will be using your ATM card in Italy
  • Most Italian banks have Bancomats where you can get cash and they usually have an option for the English language
  • There is often a 250 euro limit for withdrawals imposed by Italian banks
  • Have a backup card and carry it separately from your primary card. If you're traveling with someone else, carry a different card than your travel companion.
  • If you decide to use a pre-paid debit card, remember that if you lose the card you've lost the money so consider several cards with smaller amounts on each
  • Getting cash with an ATM card is almost always better than getting it with a credit card or traveler's checks

More Important Information About Getting Money in Italy: