I've rented a 7 bedroom villa in Tuscany (through a reputable, international company) for our family and friends to help my wife and me celebrate our 5th Wedding Anniversary. We are required to provide a 1000euro cash deposit to the property owner/management when we arrive. My wife and I will be in Paris prior to flying to Bologna. I've read everything Rick recommends about transferring money from one currency to another....and the 8-15% fees that come with it. Given a choice, I'd like to take the money out of an ATM machine the afternoon of our arrival to the villa using a credit or debit card. But, I have no idea on the amounts of ATM daily limits in Italy. I would prefer not to take out large sums of cash each day and carry them around (if we're limited to just a couple hundred euros) leading up to our villa arrival....especially since we'll be spending cash while in Paris! And, we won't be arriving in Italy until 6pm on a Saturday. Any answers, or suggestions offering another solution would be greatly appreciated.
Definitely don't use a credit card to take out cash. I would assume you could take $500 out on due date minus one and $500 on the due date if there is any concern about the limit. Call your bank and find out who their Italian partner is (or French partner if you grab the cash in Paris) and then find out what their limit is. Sometimes it's not an amount of money but rather the number of bills that can be dispensed at any one time. I know that I have taken 500 euro out at a bank in Paris at one time but I don't know what your restrictions are. I am going to assume that 1000 may be over the limit by either number of bills or dollar amount. Another option is to go INSIDE the bank and withdraw from the teller. That shouldn't have any restriction.
I would definitely suggest you call and talk to the appropriate department of the bank(s) where you have ATM cards, to be sure you understand how you will be able to do this. I recently called two of these, advised them of my travel plans, had them significantly increase my normal daily ATM withdrawal limit, and learned what ATM machines to use to avoid extra fees. One said to use their affiliated bank BNL Italia, the other to use ATMs part of the STAR network.
If you pay for your lodging in Paris with a credit card,and build up your cash cache thru ATM withdrawals, you should have enough money for the villa. I wouldn't count on being able to withdraw that much from an ATM all the same day. Check with your bank and see if they will raise their daily limit. Sometimes the limit is imposed by the bank with the ATM. If you have 2 or 3 bank accounts to withdraw from, you could get the cash through several withdrawals. I've carried over 1000 in my money belt for days without worries. I can understand if that makes you nervous, but the money belt (properly worn) is quite secure.
It is smart to have two debit cards tied to two different accounts. Called back up. Hit both accounts same day. There are two limits on ATM withdraws. First it is your card issuer (bank) that sets a limit for daily withdraws from your account and, second, a single, per transaction withdraw limit set by the ATMs. Often times in high tourist areas, especially on weekends, the ATM could have a limit of 250 to 300E. I have found that ATMs attached to banks during the week either have a higher limit or no limit. I have taken as much as 750E from an ATM on a single transaction. So if you need a 1000E I would get 500 in Paris and get the other 500 in Italy after your arrive. If you hit an ATM with a single withdraw limit of 250, then do it twice assuming that 500 is within your limit from your bank. Or use two ATM cards. It is a fairly simple problem
You can wire transfer the money bank to bank internationally. There are also payment services online that can process your payments to any European company (or cities for traffic tickets) for a very small fee.
Have you asked if payments can be done by your credit card in lieu of a deposit? They can always charge your card if your group trashes the place. There are many Villas and other accommodations that operate this way.
You may want to increase your daily withdrawal limit before you leave home and do notify your bank and cc companies that you are using cards overseas. If an atm limits your withdrawal amount you may have to do this with several transactions. You can also have your wife withdraw using her atm card. Even if it is coming out of the same account it is a different card and she should be able to get cash too. At least that is how it works with wells-fargo. I know many machines we have encountered have limited our withdrawal amt. to only 250 Euros when our limit is much higher than that. Have you asked if the deposit could be put on your credit card? This past July we rented apartments in Venice, Florence and Rome and it said a cash deposit was required but I contacted them in advance and all 3 apts. said they would take a cc # for security deposit. Was much easier than dealing with a cash deposit. Apts. were already paid for in advance using my cap. 1 card that has no foreign transaction fees. Have a great trip!