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TRAVELLING IN ITALY >> Euro, Banks, Credit Cards, Italy

Euro, Banks, Credit Cards, Italy

The Italian unit of currency is the Euro which is issued in notes (5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500) and coins
(Centesimi 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50) 1 Euro, 2 Euro

Banks are usually open Monday to Friday, 8.30-13.30 and then 15.00-16.00. Some branches are open in city centres and shopping centres on Saturday mornings but almost all are closed on Saturday afternoons, Sundays and public holidays. The best exchange rate is found at the major national banks such the Banca Nazionale del Lavoro, Credito Italiano and Cassa di Risparmio, among others - as well as regional chains like the Banca di Roma, Banco di Napoli or Banco di Sicilia.

Money Changing Bureaux (Cambio) usually charge high commissions, railway stations and airports. Commissions can vary hugely so check before you change. Airports often have a high fee. Be prepared if you need to use a bank to stand in long queues as one requires a lot of patience with the Italian banking system as the bank teller may wish to have a little break for coffee....

Bankcards and Credit Cards
This use of ATM Automatic Teller Machines is widespread now in Italy. Make sure the ATM has the symbol of cirrus or maestro or one that is the same as your card otherwise it will not function. It is wise to take two credit cards and keep them in separate areas, in case your card gets eaten by a faulty machine or lost and it is wise to use the ATM of the major banks to ensure proper functioning and lower rates.

A lot of small businesses especially in country areas and the south still do not offer credit card facilities as their banking fees are high. Also ask at small restaurants and cheap accommodation/ Bed & Breakfasts etc, if they have credit card facilities before you eat or need to pay!!

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