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Italy ATM's

We've always said the European bank ATM's don't have usage fees, but I did get dinged for 3 EUR using the Unicredit machine in Madonna di Campiglio. It also tried conning me into dynamic currency exchange. A walk down the street found the Cassa Rurale Pinzolo (a "community" bank I'm guessing), had no fees and did not offer dynamic currency exchange.

Posted by
11153 posts

Thanks for the warning that we all have to be vigilant for the banks' latest tricks!

Did you know about the Unicredit machine's fee before you processed the transaction, or did you only find out when you got home and saw your statement?

Posted by
2513 posts

I stayed in the Sardinian city of Orosei and there was a branch of Intesa Sanpaolo Bank next to the hotel at which I was staying. I went through the withdrawal process and a screen popped up showing the $/€ conversion rate I would be charged. This bank adds a 3% fx charge for the privilege of using their ATM. My bank, Capital One, charges no fees. The exchange rate I got at another bank 100 meters away was $1.12. Intesa would have charged $1.16 for the same transaction. Maybe they're part of Wells Fargo.
Read the screens carefully before you approve the transaction. And some restaurants are still offering dynamic conversion on credit cards which also adversely affects your conversion rate.

Posted by
2711 posts

If an exchange rate is shown then it is a DCC transaction. Always cancel.

Posted by
553 posts

Just to add some balance, do you know what things are really like in your own country?

We were in California over Christmas and the New Year. Every ATM charged me a fee for withdrawing money; the banks charged more than machines in Subway or in a supermarket.

My wife bought some make-up at Macy's in Times Square, San Francisco. They accepted her chip & pin credit card, and she approved the transaction by entering her pin. However, they offered her the choice of paying in pounds or dollars.

Posted by
2525 posts

"Just to add some balance, do you know what things are really like in your own country?" And to add more to the balance... not all of us pay fees here, nor when we travel internationally, and with fees charged by issuing bank ATMs rebated.

Posted by
2513 posts

Tom, the ATM didn't show the exchange rate. I calculated the difference in the rates. After requesting the amount to withdraw, a separate screen popped up that stated a 3% fee will be charged for the transaction. It was not DCC. Just a sneaky add on that had me cancel the transaction.

Posted by
16771 posts

This (ATM-usage fees) is happening in Spain as well. There, an announcement appeared very early in the transaction. Thank heavens for the "English" option so you know what is going on!

Posted by
15574 posts

Did you know about the Unicredit machine's fee before you processed the transaction, or did you only find out when you got home and saw your statement?

Yes, the fee was clearly disclosed at the time. Was in a hurry, so just sucked it up, but made a note to look for a better deal elsewhere next time, and found it. I did decline the DCE.

Posted by
20600 posts

..... the ATM didn't show the exchange rate.....

I cannot remember any ATM showed the exchange rate since it is of no concern to the ATM. Remember the ATMs are there to serve the local population. I think it is safe to say that the ATM never shows the exchange rate since the exchange rate is determined by the credit card network and not the bank.

Posted by
15574 posts

The ATM only shows an exchange rate if it is offering DCE. Many US banks charge a 3% currency exchange fee. My credit union charges 1.1%, which is up from 0.9% two years ago. When I got home, I checked each of 5 transactions and all were within the interbank rates for the transaction date as shown on Yahoo Finance.

Posted by
3230 posts

Bob,

Thanks for that info.

Yes, US banks really like to charge fees. The fees hit us as well when we have to use a different bank's ATM to get cash when we can't find one of our own. Some of us are lucky enough to have accounts at banks who are generous enough to refund some or all of the fees. The rest of us just don't use cash and pay for everything with credit cards. :-)

Hope the choice was dollars as Pounds would have meant a DCC conversion rate. DCC is available around the world and is not just applicable to US based accounts. I believe it was the worst thing ever that the card networks implemented.

A tip for next time: if you use a debit card, you can get extra cash back when you make a purchase at many grocery stores in the US (and a few other types of merchants). Limited to around $50 per transaction. But no fees by the merchant giving you the cash.

Posted by
11613 posts

In Italy, I think the best place to withdraw money is the Poste Italiane (Italian Postal Service).