July 10, 2013, 05:35 PM
Bankomat cash limits?
One more question (for now)
My hotel has already told me I can save 10% by paying in cash instead of a credit card. I've read that it's better to just wait till I get there to get Euros -- local banks in the US "sell" Euros and charge a service fee. So I have about 150 euros to get into the country, taxi, etc... and planned to get money from the ATM/bankomat to pay the hotel. Hopefully the Taxi from airport to the hotel won't cost much.
I wasn't thinking about the limits posed by the bankomat there - is there a daily limit for withdraws at a machine? Do hotels expect cash payment when I check in, or out? What is the best way to get about 1500 euros when I arrive, if I have to pay the hotel when I check in? I really don't want to carry that much cash with me from home.
Also, can I purchase the Firenze Card with a credit card? Those will be my largest charges when I first arrive.
I'm wearing myself out planning -- I'm about ready to throw my schedules away and just "wing it" when I get there.
July 11, 2013, 12:24 PM
yes, there are limits to ATM machines
Actually yes there are limits to daily withdrawal - but using debit card/ATM is the best way to get cash once you're here (avoid the money changers in the center of Florence, better rates at BANKS here - the money changers add commissions they don't tell you about until you're getting your money and notice it is less than it should be according to their advertised rates!)
Go to your BANK today (or give them a call) if you can and tell them you are traveling abroad in the next few weeks.
1. this alerts them you are traveling and using it, so that they won't block it thinking it is unusual activity! you definitely don't want that.
2. if your PIN is more than 4 numbers, you might need to change it! many ATMs here work with with shorter PINs.... ask your bank about the PIN because they'll know whether you can use it abroad depending on the circuit.
3. maximum daily limit can depend on the ATM you use as well as on your own account - ask your bank whether they'll set a higher daily limit during your vacation
4. ask them about "sister" banks in Italy you can use - you might be able to take out money without paying their own charges for having used a foreign ATMs.... they might recommend using a certain bank's ATMs over another's.
5. if you're not able to avoid the charges, then take go ahead and always take out the maximum amount you can to avoid too many stops at ATMs.
In general, as far as credit cards, VISA is safest bet.... but also find out what your international fees are % - because it might be cheaper for you to pay cash most of the time to avoid fees.
July 11, 2013, 04:48 PM
Re: Bankomat cash limits?
Thanks Lourdes! What about the Firenze Card -- can I use a MasterCard?
I know I could if purchased online, but I'm going to wait till I arrive to buy them.
My bank told me there'd be limits at the machine, and I don't see how I can get enough cash when I arrive. I'll just use the credit card. They talked me out of allowing them to raise the limit -- they said theirs is probably more than the machine's anyway. And there's less risk if someone manages to get my information.
I really do appreciate your help!
July 11, 2013, 05:12 PM
You can use any credit card you want, I am just saying that in terms of % fees, Visa tends to be better. But I myself use credit cards whenever possible, I wouldn't suggest to just use cash all the time either. But it's a reality that some shops or trattoria are really small and just appreciate payments for small meals in cash rather than credit so they don't have to pay commissions for really small sales... while if you splurge and spend 100 euros on a meal, a credit card would be perfectly acceptable. Anything less than 20 euro, you just usually pay cash.
It might be you have a higher limit than some machines... on some I can take out only 250 euro, on others up to 750 euro. I don't know precisely since I have a local account and cards now how things are different now with US cards.
Rest assured you'll be fine with what you initially come with, for taxi and first meals... there are ATMs most everywhere since there are lots of bank branches everywhere. The ease of credit makes it easier to use for larger purchases - the commission you pay for that might be perfectly fine considering you don't have to exchange money to just carry it around! ;-)