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Credit Cards - ATM cards ...

Saint Louis...
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Credit Cards - ATM cards ...

I know this has probably been posted and talked about - so I apologize for the repetition!

My husband and I will be traveling to Rome in the beginning of September and we are concerned about our credit cards and such.

When we got our passports, the guy told us that our cards would be "cut up" and declined because we both have written "See ID" on the back of our card rather than signing it ... We thought this was the most silly thing we have heard - but I wanted to double check.

Also - we bank with Bank of America - has anyone had trouble at the ATM's? We use our Discover more than anything - but were thinking of opening a Capital One card b/c their rates are better in Europe (so we've heard) ...

Any suggestions? Tips? Experiences?

We have no plans to use traveler's check (why bother?!) and we do plan to exchange our money before we fly over ... How much should we convert over? Is it better to stay focused on just using our credit cards rather than ATM's?

Thank you for all your help!

~Mara

Cleveland, Ohio
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1. Re: Credit Cards - ATM cards ...

ATM's (called bancomats) in Italy are everywhere and very convenient. I used them for getting cash, and then my credit card. You need the four digit pin number, and also you can only access one account, so no transfering of money from one account to another. You have to be sure your account has the money in it that you want to access.

However, most credit cards charge a 3% transaction fee on foreign transaction, so you should check with BoA to see if they charge this type of fee. I did hear that Capital One doesn't charge this fee.

Don't get traveler's checks - they are a pain, however, we did use the VISA card from the automobile club and that worked great. I wanted it as a second card just in case, plus someone at home can load the card with more money, etc. Also, thieves wouldn't have access to your checking account like they would if they stole your debit card or ATM card.

My VISA card states see ID and no one cut up the card - however, I did have to produce my passport, and at one store, almost everything with my name on it, like my driver's license, etc.!!

Los Angeles
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2. Re: Credit Cards - ATM cards ...

Hi Mara, yes there have been many many discussions on this topic. Take a look or search for all of them because probably all your questions have been covered and more.

I haven't read about any problems using Bank of America debit cards in ATMs for getting cash. I opened an account there for my trip, ordered my small amount of currency through them, and haven't had any problems. They're the biggest bank in the country or so, so I can't imagine having trouble - just make sure you call all your banks and credit card companies and tell them you're going away or your transactions may be denied.

Definitely open a CapitalOne credit card because it is the only one widely available that has NO fees - you get the interbank rate for everything you charge to it, that is simply unbeatable!!! Don't use it in the ATM or you get charged as a cash advance and start paying interest on it and all that icky stuff.

so moral of the story is, use your Bank of America ATM for cash, use your Capital One Visa to charge, and you and your husband should split up the cards so in case one of you falls victim to pickpocketing.

I personally only got 50 euros for my trip coming up. I just wanted enough to be able to get to my hotel in case the airport ATMs malfunction or are empty or what. I wouldn't talk about credit cards and ATMs as one or the other - use both. If and when you can charge things (hotels, restaurants, more expensive shops) do it, and if you can't, use cash that you get from an ATM.

Don't bother taking the Discover, leave it at home. No one will take it in Europe but if it's stolen it still contains personal info on it. Travel experts suggest taking everything out of your wallets (even silly things like movie rental cards, etc) because it all has personal info on it.

United States
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3. Re: Credit Cards - ATM cards ...

You might also have a problem with using Discover, Mastercard and Visa are more widely accepted. My credit union charges no fees for ATM use and only 1% for purchases. You might try checking with your local credit union.

I wouldn't exchange any money before you leave, the rates are usually not very good and bancomats are located in airports and train stations that you can use when you arrive. They give competitive exchange rates.

Check your daily limits and make sure the bank knows you are using the card outside the country.

There have been several discussions about this lately. Try searches on credit cards/ ATM / banks fees in the general Italy forum and you will get all the discussions for Italy not just Rome.

4. Re: Credit Cards - ATM cards ...

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Removed on: 04 September 2009, 15:16