The best way to get money in Italy is to use an ATM or debit card at a Bancomat, an Italian ATM machine. Travelers checks can be difficult and time-consuming to cash and you often lose money in the transaction. There are very few places to cash travelers 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 per cent, 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 card:
- You will need a 4-digit PIN code
- 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 English language
- There is often a 250 euro limit for withdrawals imposed by Italian banks
- Have a back-up card and carry it separately from your primary card
- 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 usually better than getting it with a credit card or traveler's checks