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Using Money in Italy | Print |  E-mail
The Euro (Symbol = €) is now the official Italian currency and in the 12 nations that comprise the European Union. These 12 nations are: Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, and Spain. Notably, the United Kingdom has not adopted the Euro. They are still using the Pound.

The Euro has replaced the Lira (Symbol = £) since January 1, 2002, after an implementation period which began in 1999. To aid in the transition, sometimes you will still see prices quoted in the Lira equivalent (1 Euro = 1936.27 Lira), along with the Euro price. However, it is more of a convenience, or for information purposes to assist people with the transition. The European Union also accepted the old currency up through February 28, 2002 to further assist in the transition.

The new currency consists of 7 bank notes: 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 Euro (dollars).

The eight coins are 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 Euro cents plus a 1 Euro (dollar) and 2 Euro (dollars). The "heads" side of the coin will display a common European Community symbol. However, the "tails" side of the coin will have a design unique to each country in the union.

100 Euro Cents = 1 Euro Dollar

Note that commas and periods are reversed when differentiating between dollars and cents and the thousands.

For example € 3.100,50 would be expressed in the US as $ 3,100.50
intending to mean three thousand one hundred dollars and fifty cents.

ATM Machines in Italy/ Bancomat

banco-mat-250Many ATM machines (Bancomat) are available for retrieving funds in Euros. Most of them will have an English menu selection. Check with your bank to determine whether there are any fees involved. Most will charge a fee per transaction. Usually the exchange rate will be more favorable than using an exchange (Cambio) in a train station or airport. The more common ATM networks that we use in the United States, such as Cirrus and Plus, are also widely accepted in Italy.

Note - many ATM's in Europe only accept a 4-digit PIN number. If your PIN is more than 4-digits, check with your bank to see if you can change it to 4-digits prior to your trip.

Also important is to let you bank know (prior to your trip) that you will be making foreign withdrawls. Otherwise, they may block the card for suspicious activity that is not in your normal course of transactions.

Credit Cards

Credit cards are gaining acceptance in all parts of Italy. Most of your hotels, restaurants, upscale shops, etc. in the tourist areas will usually accept MasterCard and Visa, with American Express not too far behind. Discover and Diner's Club are not as readily accepted.

Keep in mind that cash is king for some merchants. Some gas stations, for example, will only accept cash. And some hotels will even add a surcharge (usually 3 - 4%) if you are using a credit card.



0 #5 forex trader 2015-02-05 05:45
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0 #4 Addicted2Italy 2011-10-16 17:24
Hi Sabrina,

Thanks for the post, that is a good think to keep in mind. Things often can go wrong when you are on vacation, so don't wait until you are down to your last Euro before you go to the ATM. The one you pick could be out of money!

0 #3 Sabrina 2011-10-16 16:36
Be prepared too that nearby ATM's can be out of order and cannot be used for days. I came across this recently in Rome. Some ATM's are safer to use than others...try one of the larger bank chains. Ask your bank. Be sure to keep all your ATM transaction receipts just in case! This really helped me. You can get money off of your credit card at currency exchange locations (for a fee) but not off your debit card. As well...keep an eye for the currency exchange rates, there are places on the same block or even next door to each other with different rates!
0 #2 Linda Valentino 2011-10-05 01:16
hey that is great advice to know. not many know this if they are planning to go to italy thanks larry for the head up, we need all the help we can get now ahdays :-*
0 #1 Addicted2Italy 2011-08-19 23:14
Another thing to keep in mind is if your used to transferring monies between your checking and savings account, you may not be able to have that option using a foreign ATM. Many of them will only show the checking account. Therefore, you must ensure your checking account has enough funds prior to your trip.

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