No overseas fees
Traveller’s advice on some of the best ways bring, access and spend travel money in Italy: As a Eurozone member state, the official currency of Italy is the euro.
Compared to countries like France, Germany and the UK, Italy is still a somewhat cash-based economy. Don’t think you’re going to be paying cash all the time, though. Shops and merchants in Italy are well equipped to accept card payments (Visa and Mastercard are more common than American Express) — the uptake of contactless payment technology increases year on year.
Italy is a cash based society compared to other major economies in Europe, Australia and North America. You can still use your card in almost as many places as you would in the UK and other countries; however, there’s a reluctance among Italians to let go of cash as a method of payment for things like rent, food, clothing and so on.
No overseas fees
Low overseas fees
No fees travel card
Low overseas fees
Travel-friendly debit cards waive the 3% fee for currency conversion when you transact in euros. Unlike prepaid travel money cards, there’s no need to manage exchanging foreign currency before you spend. In addition, the card scheme (Visa or Mastercard) daily exchange rate applies. This is usually the most competitive rate you can get on a personal finance product (credit card transactions in a foreign currency also use this rate).
Preload a travel card with euros and spend in euros and you’ll avoid the fees that usually go hand in hand with international purchases. Compare these cards by their ATM fees, initial load and reload fees. Most ATMs in Italy don’t charge an ATM operator fee. By choosing a product which waives the international ATM withdrawal fee, you can access your money at Italian bancomat machines and spend over the counter without paying any additional fees or charges.
Credit cards offer up to 55 days interest-free on purchases when you pay your balance in full by the statement due date. This gives you time to make purchases without paying any interest. Credit cards can also offer perks such as complimentary international travel insurance and purchase protection insurance, which is money that would have been an out of pocket expense.
Credit cards which waive the fee for currency conversion can be used over the counter for purchases and you won’t pay any additional fees. There are credit cards that don’t charge for international ATM withdrawals. Cash advance charges and interest apply when you use your card at an ATM — a cash advance should be avoided if you’re conscious of saving on unnecessary charges. Plus, withdrawing cash using a credit card can negatively impact your credit file. So you might want to use a debit card or travel card to withdraw from ATMs instead.
Traveller’s cheques have largely been replaced by prepaid travel money cards. Many banks in Italy will refuse to cash traveller’s cheques, so don’t bother with this travel money product. Make bancomat (ATM) withdrawals instead.
High summer season premiums will add to the cost of an Italian trip, but the cost of living and travel varies depending on where you are in the country. In smaller towns, especially in the South, Italy is surprisingly affordable. In the middle of the country and the north and especially in touristic places like Rome, Venice and Milan, it can be very expensive. If you go to Italy during high season (late June, July and August) expect to pay a premium for everything. Off-season, prices drop dramatically.
Camping in Rome
£7.50 per night
|2 Star hotel in Rome|
£45 – £90 per night
|5 star hotel in Rome|
£100 – £400 per night
Sandwich: £2.50 – £4
|Dinner for two at a mid-range restaurant with wine|
|5 star restaurant|
£60 – £350
|Rome and Colosseum 1/2 Day Walking Tour|
|Imperial Rome golf cart tour (per person)|
*Prices are for example purposes only.
The GBP currency pair has been relatively unstable over the last five years, thanks to recent political events such as Brexit and global inflation. Travellers to Europe from Britain will find that £1 is equal to around 1.15 Euros. If you think you know whether it’s going to be more expensive or cheaper to buy Euros in the future, you may want to lock in the exchange rate using a prepaid travel card.
|Year||Average annual exchange Pound Sterling (GBP) to Euro (EUR)|
Credit cards and debit cards with travel features are just as suitable to take on a trip to Italy and Europe as a prepaid travel money card. You can use your Visa or Mastercard-branded card in Italy without issue, American Express card charge a higher surcharge and are accepted in fewer places. You can use your card to pay for train tickets, souvenirs at gift shops, hotels, trattorias (Italian eateries), restaurants and more. The range of merchants which accept cards is similar to Britain. You’ll need cash to pay for street food, taxis, to pay tour guides and for purchases under €10 – €20, for example, so avoiding the international ATM transaction fee should be a factor when you’re comparing options.
|Travel money option||Pros||Considerations|
|Debit cards for travel|
|Prepaid travel money cards|
|Credit cards for travel|
This table is a general summary of the travel money products in the market. Features and benefits can vary between cards.Back to top
You can take as many Euros with you to the European Union as you want. You have to declare if you’re carrying more than €10,000 cash. This includes bank notes and traveller’s cheques, gold bullion etc. It’s easy to buy Euros in the U.K. – you can exchange Pounds to Euros in almost any bank, high street or online travel shop, as well as in the airport.
The best way to get cash in Italy is to make an ATM withdrawal when you arrive. The Visa or Mastercard exchange rate applies and is better than any rate you’re likely to get exchanging currency at an exchange office or a bank.
Italian bank ATMs are called bancomats and do not charge a local ATM operator fee, avoid using independent ATMs. These third party ATMs charge like a wounded bull and you can usually find these machines alongside bank ATMs. It will be obvious which ATMs are affiliated with a bank and which aren’t.
A combination of the products compared on this page is the best approach to taking travel money to Italy. It’s advised that you take more than one way to withdraw cash as there have been anecdotal reports Italian ATMs can be temperamental with foreign cards. You don’t want to be caught without access to your money in the event a card is lost or stolen.
There are few destinations that evoke history and romance quite like Italy. It’s no surprise then, that Italy is one of the planet’s most visited countries in the world. Every year, tourists flock to Italy to enjoy themselves among some of the finest and longest living monuments to human civilisation; revel in the richness of it’s art and culture, and eat and drink to their heart’s content. Make your holiday memorable for all the right reasons and travel with peace of mind that you’re getting the most from your budget with a travel card, credit card or debit card.Back to top
This guide provides step-by-step instructions on how to buy Arbitrum, lists some exchanges where you can get it and provides daily price data on (ARB).
Now in their third year, these awards recognise the credit, loans, mortgage and BNPL providers displaying the best innovations in their field.
The winners of the Finder Lending Innovation Awards 2023 have been announced, find out who won across seven categories here.
Find out the winners and highly commended brands in the Finder Lending Innovation Awards 2023. The best lending innovation in the UK!
This guide provides step-by-step instructions on how to buy Sui, lists some exchanges where you can get it and provides daily price data on (SUI).
This guide provides step-by-step instructions on how to buy Pepe, lists some exchanges where you can get it and provides daily price data on (PEPE).
This guide provides step-by-step instructions on how to buy SSV Network, lists some exchanges where you can get it and provides daily price data on (SSV).
This guide provides step-by-step instructions on how to buy USDD, lists some exchanges where you can get it and provides daily price data on (USDD).
This guide provides step-by-step instructions on how to buy Blur, lists some exchanges where you can get it and provides daily price data on (BLUR).
finder.com is an independent comparison platform and information service that aims to provide you with the tools you need to make better decisions. While we are independent, the offers that appear on this site are from companies from which finder.com receives compensation. We may receive compensation from our partners for placement of their products or services. We may also receive compensation if you click on certain links posted on our site. While compensation arrangements may affect the order, position or placement of product information, it doesn't influence our assessment of those products. Please don't interpret the order in which products appear on our Site as any endorsement or recommendation from us. finder.com compares a wide range of products, providers and services but we don't provide information on all available products, providers or services. Please appreciate that there may be other options available to you than the products, providers or services covered by our service.