Wednesday, February 1, 2023

What Is The Best Credit Card To Use In Italy

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How Do You Find A Credit Card To Use Abroad

Which Credit Card Is Best for Miscellaneous Travel Expenses?
  • Network acceptance: Choose a credit card thats widely accepted that usually means a Visa or Mastercard, if possible. But research the card acceptance rates wherever youll be traveling. Discover, for example, has fairly broad acceptance in China, Japan, and some other countries. If youre looking for your first credit card, choose one that will be good in the U.S. as well as abroad.
  • Foreign transaction fees: A card with no foreign transaction fees would be best, like most of the options on this page. Many credit cards charge a 3% fee on top of every purchase made in a foreign currency, but there are also plenty with no fees.
  • Travel protections: Lost your bags? Flights late? Some credit cards have benefits to reimburse expenses when your travel plans go awry, which could save you thousands of dollars and some big headaches.
  • Chip-and-PIN: To maximize compatibility abroad, pick a card with chip-and-PIN capability. Many cards in the U.S. only use chip-and-Signature, which is not accepted everywhere abroad .
  • Explore your options: If you dont have credit established already, you could ask someone you trust with good credit history, like a parent, to add you as an authorized user. Then youd get your own copy of a card for traveling.
  • Use credit cards responsibly: If youre new to credit cards and building credit, read our guide to building credit with credit cards and ask us any questions you have.

Should I Use My Credit Card To Get Cash

ATMS are everywhere in Italy just as they are in the United States only theyre called Bancomats. Dont let the Italian name fool you, by the way. At the beginning of your transaction, youll be able to select English as your language of choice and they operate just like American ATMs do.

If you decide to use an ATM to get cash, its a good idea to use your debit card. Credit cards will often charge you a cash advance fee when you withdraw money. Youll also immediately start accruing interest on your transaction until you pay back the amount withdrawn.

Whats a cash advance fee?

A cash advance fee is assessed when you withdraw cash from your credit card. Its usually the greater of a flat fee or a percentage of the transaction. For example, the cash advance fee for the Chase Sapphire Preferred is either $10 or 5% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater.

Dont forget that you might still pay an ATM fee when you use your debit card, but youll avoid paying interest. Choose a low-fee card like the Schwab Bank High Yield Investor Checking Account. It reimburses you for any fees you may incur at ATMs, doesnt charge foreign transaction fees and wont stick you with cash advance interest because its not a credit card.

Debit Cards And Atms In Italy

Speak with your bank before you travel in order to be able to use your debit card in Italy. As long as there is no block on your account, you can use foreign debit cards in Italian ATMs and in any shop that accepts credits cards . Your debit card must have a chip in it because debit cards will not work with only a magnetic strip to swipe.

Fees to use your debit card in Italy depend on your home bank, so check with them to be sure. However, using a debit card to take out cash from an official ATM is the best way to get euros. Exchanging dollars to euros at somewhere like a Western Union or airport exchange desk is a sure way to lose a lot of money in commission fees.

When I am taking money out using my American debit card in Italy, I always take out the maximum and I recommend you do the same. My bank charges a flat fee per withdrawal, plus a currency conversion fee, so I try to minimize the number of transactions of this kind that I need to make.

Having cash is always a good idea because while credit cards are widely accepted in Italy, you cannot use them everywhere. Mobile payments are also extremely rare, so bringing a debit card as a way to obtain cash is highly recommended.

Super quick side note, I swear: but have you ever noticed that Euros differ in size based on the amount on the bill? The bigger the value, the bigger the bill! Blew my mind when I figured that out! All our money in the US is one color and one size.

Ive got no problem with cash.

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Italy Travel Faq What Is The Best Way To Get Euros And Pay For Things In Italy

As the editor and publisher of a subscription travel newsletter on Italy, you can imagine that anyone and everyone asks me about travel to Italy. In the 10 years, I have been running Dream of Italy, I have certainly noticed that certain questions come up far more often than others and one of the more popular questions is. One of them is:

What is the best way to get money when Im traveling in Italy and should I use credit cards?

Sobased on my numerous trips to Italy, heres my advice for getting euros and spending money in Italy. Note that Im not covering all the options, just the ones I use most often. If you have tips you would like to share, please leave them in the comments below.

Getting Cash Before Arriving in Italy

My first trip to Europe was when I was 10 years old and my parents decided to take advantage of a new low-cost airline, People Express, and go to London. I remember my dad being sure that we had some British pounds to take with us, just in case there was a problem as soon as we arrived, or for some reason we werent able to change money when we first got there. His actions have stuck with me and I always try to have at least 100 euros on me when I arrive in Italy, just in case.

Travelers Checks

Euro Cards

Cash from Bancomats

Cash Is King

More Resources On Green And Sustainable Bank Cards And Processes

Italy Travel Tips: Find answers to these FAQs

Thales focuses on collaboration and eco-innovation, as illustrated here.

The company offers a broad set of tools that enables its clients to build a consistent environmentally sustainable strategy.

More precisely, we support banks at every aspect of a bank cards life, from green credit cards to recycling and carbon offsetting programmes.

Weve devised the ideal customer card journey for a bank driving its sustainability strategy.

Eco-friendly substitute to plastic cards The bio-sourced alternative. Carbon neutrality: How to offset the carbon footprints of your cards Revisiting eco-friendly credit cards Doconomy is reshaping the card industry

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Make Sure To Use One Of These Cards When Youre Renting A Vehicle

When we were choosing the best cards for car rentals, we put primary rental car insurance coverage as a top feature to have because it means you don’t have to tap your own car insurance first if you have it. All but one card on our list offer primary coverage, and the one that doesnt saves you an annual fee. We also looked at affordability, rewards, and other perks that may be of interest when renting a car. Here are our top picks.

How Bank Of America’s Rewards Program Works

Bank of America’s rewards points are earned at various levels based on the card product. They can be redeemed for cash back, statement credits, gift cards, or for travel through Bank of America’s travel center. As with many issuers’ rewards platforms, earned points generally have the greatest value when they’re redeemed for travel through the travel portal.

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Findomestic Cards New Eco

In February 2021, Findomestic started switching from PVC cards to PLA corn cards.

PLA is made of non-edible corn. It is an eco-friendly and biodegradable substitute for plastic credit cards.

It is disposed of through incineration and generates 84% less toxic gases than fossil PVC.

To top it off, its lifetime is equivalent to a PVC card.

Findomestics goal is clear: the PLA card project aims to reduce the use of PVC in credit and debit cards. This programme is also part of Findomestics commitment to offering a sustainable alternative for its products.

The Bank wants to help its customers to reduce their environmental impact and lead them towards more responsible and sustainable consumer behaviours.

It comes as no surprise in Italy as the company is known to be sensitive to social and environmental responsibility.

For example, the Findomestic Forest program involves planting trees in specific Italian areas to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, fight against deforestation, and promote local entrepreneurship. 3.050 trees were planted in Sicily and Basilicata, and Campania from 2019 to today.

This specific contribution to environmental sustainability has involved both employees and customers since 2019.

The Bank also undertakes concrete initiatives to reduce the impacts of its businesses, with a specific focus on buildings, waste and emissions into the atmosphere.

Foreign Currency Cash Withdrawal Fees


Your ATM card has several foreign currency withdrawal fees. Usually it is a combination of a Flat Rate and/or a percentage of the total sum taken out. Again, it really depends on your bank. Youve got to ask them so you will not be surprised.

Using a Wells Fargo debit card in Europe, will cost you $5 fee for each ATM cash withdrawals made outside the United States. If you use your Wells Fargo debit card to purchase things in Europe, you will pay an International Purchase Transaction fee which is 3% of the transaction amount for each purchase made with your debit card in a foreign currency that has been converted into a U.S. dollar amount by a network.

With a Wells Fargo debit card, for each $100 international withdrawal you pay $5 in fees, while for each $1000 international withdrawal you still pay $5 in fees.

Using a Bank of America debit card in Europe will cost you $5 fee for ATM cash withdrawals made outside the United States plus an International Transaction fee of 3% of the withdrawal amount. If you use your Bank of America debit card to purchase goods in Europe it will cost you 3% of the purchase amount.

With a Bank of America debit card, for each $100 international withdrawal you pay $8 in fees, while for each $1000 international withdrawal you pay $35 in fees.

With a Chase debit card, for each $100 international withdrawal you pay $6 in fees, while for each $1000 international withdrawal you pay $15 in fees.

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The Platinum Card From American Express

Our pick for: Luxury travel perks

The Platinum Card® from American Express comes with a hefty annual fee, but travelers who like to go in style can more than get their money’s worth. Enjoy extensive airport lounge access, hundreds of dollars a year in travel and shopping credits, hotel benefits and more. That’s not even getting into the high rewards rate on eligible travel purchases and the rich bonus offer for new cardholders. Read our review.

Understand Modern Credit And Debit Networks

Each major credit card network manages their own global cash network as well. VISAs network is called PLUS while MasterCard manages two networks: Maestro and Cirrus.

Take your debit card out of your wallet and take a look at it now. Look on the front side first.

All modern debit cards issued in the United States are working as credit cards as well. This means that you can see the VISA or Master Card symbol on the front of your Debit Card.

Now flip your card on the back side and take a look. In addition to the symbols on the front, your debit card may have a few more symbols on the back side. These days, most new ATM cards dont have any symbols on the back, but some older ones still have them.

The important thing is to know what symbols are on the front and back of your Debit and Credit Card that youre planning to take with you. You will need to know these symbols when you want to get cash in Europe. Not all ATM machines in Europe support all cash networks. You might see some debit cards bearing the PLUS sign but not the Cirrus and vice versa. It doesnt really matter.

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Beginners Guide To Debit And Credit Cards In Italy

Read in 5 minutes

Getting ready for a biggie trip to Europe can be a lot to think about, and sometimes getting your money stuff sorted can be the last thing on your mind. Using debit and credit cards in Italy and buying anything in a foreign currency does have some nuances though, and our intel could save you a euro or two . If youre already hip to this stuff, itll confirm youre on the right track.

Since our team lives and works both in and out of Italy, we have a unique perspective on traveling there with bank cards, credit cards and cash and are able to advise our clients on what will work for them .

Technology changes so quickly these days, so what you read on the interwebs or did on your trip five years ago might not be the thing you want to do right now.

We dont want you inadvertently padding your banks coffers when you dont have to that gives us a sad face

Read on so we can help you travel right, and keep that money tight.

Best For Bad Credit: Bank Of America Customized Cash Rewards Secured

Italy Travel F.A.Q.
Allows upgrade to unsecured card Yes
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 3% cash back in the eligible category of your choice, 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, and 1% cash back on all other purchases. Youll earn 3% and 2% cash back on the first $2,500 in combined categories each quarter, then 1%.
  • Why We Chose This Card:
  • Pros & Cons:

We chose the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards Secured credit card as the best Bank of America card for bad credit because of its competitive rewards rates. With no annual fee and the ability to upgrade to an unsecured card, this is a great option for those looking to build or repair their credit.

  • Competitive rewards rates for a secured card

  • May be upgraded to an unsecured card with responsible use

  • No annual fee

  • Security deposit does not earn interest

  • Balance transfer fee

Read the full Bank of America® Cash Rewards Secured credit card review

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Best Overall Best Insurance Coverage: Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $1,250 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

Rewards Earning Rate Enjoy new benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3X points on dining and 2X points on all other travel purchases, plus more.
Foreign transaction fee
  • Why We Chose This Card:
  • Pros & Cons:
  • Highlights:

The Chase Sapphire Preferred comes out ahead in this category, thanks to the fact that you get primary auto rental coverage good for up to the cash value of your vehicle. This coverage is also good within the U.S. and abroad, although some limits and car exclusions apply. You also earn 2 points per dollar spent on rental cars and other travel expenses, and those points are worth 25% more when you use them to rent cars or book other travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. On top of that, you can earn a top-notch new-cardholder bonus, all for a reasonable $95 annual fee.

  • Good bonus compared to other travel cards with similar annual fees

  • Option to transfer points to eligible airline and hotel programs, often at a 1-to-1 ratio

  • Points are pretty valuable when redeemed for travel

  • Some premium travel insurance benefits

  • No credits to cover incidental airline fees or other travel-related costs

  • Few everyday purchase categories earn extra points

Best For Businesses: Ink Business Preferred Credit Card

Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $1,000 cash back or $1,250 toward travel rewards when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

Rewards Earning Rate Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on shipping purchases, advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines, internet, cable and phone services, and travel each account anniversary year. Earn unlimited 1 Point Per $1 spent on all other purchases. Points do not expire as long as your account is open.
Cash Advance APR
Either $15 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • Why We Chose This Card:
  • Pros & Cons:
  • Highlights:

If you rent a car for business purposes often, it can make sense to sign up for a business credit card that offers auto rental coverage. The Ink Business Preferred leads the pack among business cards since it gives you primary rental car coverage. You can also earn a generous new-cardholder bonus and 3 points per dollar spent on rental cars, other travel, and some business spending , making this card a smart choice if you want rewards and rental car protection.

  • Outstanding bonus for new cardholders

  • Extra rewards points on many different types of business expenses

  • Many ways to redeem rewards

  • Option to transfer points to eligible airline loyalty programs, in some cases getting more value per point

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