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Monito's Guide to ATMs in Italy: Fees, Cards & Getting Cash in Rome, Florence, and More

Jarrod Suda

Guide

Jul 27, 2023
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Along with much of Europe, Italy and its vendors and restaurants are moving quickly toward cashless payments in 2023. Still, cash will come in handy if you want to leave a tip for exceptional restaurant service or if you want to purchase local produce at your neighbourhood market. Some taxi drivers may not accept digital payments. Some shops even offer discounts - or sconto - for paying in cash.

Monito's guide to ATMs in Italy will help you find the best ATMs to use in Rome, Florence, and elsewhere, and what fees you may be charged. We will also detail out a few debit cards and multi-currency cards like Revolut, which I have used to avoid unnecessary charges when using ATMs on my travels in Italy.

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How to Find ATMs in Italy

ATMs — called bancomat — in Italy can be found at airports, touristic centres, or banks in cities and towns all across the country.

The best way to find machines that accept your foreign debit cards and credit cards in Italy is to use an online ATM locator for Maestro and Mastercard, Visa, American Express, and Discover (Credit cards in Italy should work so long as you have a 4-digit PIN code).

Now, let's have a look at the main Italy cash machine providers below:

Free ATMs to Use in Italy

Italian bank branches host ATMs machines. BNL (Banca Nazionale del Lavoro) is the only Italian bank that currently participates in the Global ATM Alliance, which is a global network of banks that waive international ATM access fees.

For free ATM withdrawals in Italy, find a participating BNL ATM branch here:

Italian Bank ATMs

Other Italian banks will charge cash withdrawal fees to tourists and other users outside their ATM network. Check if your home bank is connected to a bank network in Italy. For example, Unicredit is an international bank, active in 13 countries, that may offer privileged ATM access to non-Italian Unicredit customers.

To find ATMs in Rome, ATMs in Florence, and others across the country, have a look at these locators:

Avoid Euronet ATMs in Italy

Euronet is a widespread ATM network throughout Europe that often places its ATMs in city centres and near touristic areas. While convenient, these ATMs are notorious for charging higher usage fees than banks. They also lure their users into hidden exchange rate margin costs, which we will discuss how to avoid later in this article.

While these ATMs are a better option for getting euros in cash than a bureaux de change at an airport, Euronet still remains near the bottom of the totem pole of recommendations by Monito experts.

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What Are the ATM Fees in Italy?

When you withdraw (ritiro in Italian) cash from ATMs in Italy, you will be charged a usage fee unless you are a client of the ATM's bank network. In addition, you can be charged other sneaky fees. Before we learn how to avoid these ATM fees, let's quickly walk through what they are.

ATM fees in Italy will come in any combination of the following three ways: 

  1. Basic cash withdrawal fee
  2. Currency conversion fee, or ‘exchange rate margin
  3. Dynamic currency conversion fee

1 — Cash Withdrawal Fee

As stated earlier, you should not be charged this fee if you withdraw Euros from a Global ATM Alliance member, like BNL.

However, if you withdraw from any other Italian bank or from a private ATM operator, such as Euronet, then you should expect to be charged this fee.

2 — Currency Conversion Fee, or ‘Exchange Rate Margin’

The exchange rate margin is a hidden fee that applies when travellers spend with non-local currency (i.e. using your debit card linked to your British (£) bank).

At any given time, there is a so-called “mid-market exchange rate” — this is the real exchange rate that you can see on Google, xe.com, or here on Monito. The local provider — who is taking your pounds, for example, and giving you back Euros — will rarely use this rate. Instead, they may do the math at a rate of 1% or 3% higher than the market rate. They’ll keep the difference

Many Italian ATMs at banks will exchange your currency at an exchange rate around 1% weaker than the real mid-market rate. Euronet will often exchange your currency at an even weaker rate.

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Revolut: Best Way to Get Cash in Italy

A reliable option for avoiding currency conversion fees is to open a multi-currency account and get yourself a travel card. Withdraw up to $400 monthly without being charged ATM usage fees from Revolut (though third-party ATM fees and weekend surcharges may apply).

3 — Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC)

dcc dynamic currency conversion

A DCC is a special kind of currency conversion fee that allows you to complete a transaction in your home billing currency instead of the local currency (€) — and this fee is always optional.

When you make a purchase from a local Italian merchant, this fee will be charged by your card company like Visa or Mastercard. When withdrawing from an ATM, this fee is charged by the ATM operator.

The exchange rate they will charge is not only higher than the market rate but is also often significantly worse than a traditional bank’s exchange rate (we’ve seen margins of up to 8% and 10%).

The long story short: always choose to pay in the local currency. In the case of Italy, this is Euros (EUR).

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Should I Pay in Local Currency (€) or My Home Currency in Italy?

If you have ever travelled to a country that didn't use your home country's currency, you've probably been prompted by ATMs and payment machines to choose to pay in either the local currency or your home currency.

As we will discover in this article, you should always choose to pay in the local currency — Euros (EUR), for the case of Italy.

3 Tips When Using an ATM in Italy

While ATMs at well-established banks are usually transparent about their fees, other operators deliberately use confusing layouts and wordings to charge you more. ATM fees can be frustrating to understand especially if communicated by a machine in a foreign language.

To keep your travels as stress-free as possible, we have three simple tips for you to keep in mind before you handle transactions in cash.

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Tip #1: Pay in the Local Currency (€) When Withdrawing From ATMs in Italy

As stated before — pay in the local currency () and avoid paying in your home currency. 

If you're a frequent traveller, then you'll be familiar with paying at a shop, restaurant, or ATM, and being presented with a choice: Pay with the local currency or your home currency. If you chose to give your home currency to Italian merchants or ATMs, then they will apply the dynamic currency conversion (DCC) to convert that into Euros.

This percentage is almost always higher than the exchange rate that would apply if you had paid in the local currency (€).

Merchants are often unaware of what a DCC even is, as the profit margin will go into the pockets of the ATM operator or your card company. Be aware that you don't need to be travelling abroad to encounter DCC fees. You can often find them when shopping online or even when making PayPal payments.

Companies that offer multi-currency card services also include Revolut, Monzo, and Monese, which operate across most of the globe and in the world's most used currencies. Be sure to check our 2023 review to discover whether these services might make sense for you for your next trip abroad.

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Tip #2: Don’t Use Bureaux de Change as an Alternative

Bureaux de change kiosks, whether at airports or in city centers, will charge any combination of fixed fees, poor exchange rates, and commission fees. We once found that Travelex Champs-Élysées, bureaux de change in Paris, charged a 16.6% margin when exchanging 500 US dollars into Euros. 

ATMs often remain a better option than bureaux de change to obtain cash. Even still, Italian ATMs will apply exchange rate margins to your cash withdrawals.

This is why we recommend using a travel card to get cash. They are built to avoid currency conversion fees.

Tip #3: Use a Multi-Currency Card Instead of a Traditional Card

Just because you have a bank that waives foreign ATM fees does not mean that it also waives exchange rate margins. Plan ahead by getting a travel card, which gives you the live market exchange rate.

There are usually three types of travel cards: prepaid travel cards, debit travel cards, and credit travel cards.

Types of Travel Cards

  • Debit Cards: Innovative digital platforms like Revolut, Wise, or N26 offer travel debit cards that have a multi-currency function. They will normally convert your money using the real exchange rate for a one-time fee for the service. You will then be able to manage your current balance from their mobile apps. With your multi-currency cards, you can pay in the local currency like a local.
  • Credit Cards: You can also find credit cards made for international payments offering good exchange rates and low fees to withdraw money abroad. Capital One, for example, is one of the only companies in the United States that charges 0% international transaction fees when spending with their cards. However, you will pay interest on your ATM withdrawals each day until you pay them back — so try to avoid withdrawing cash with credit cards.
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Revolut: Best Way to Get Cash in Italy

A reliable option for avoiding currency conversion fees is to open a multi-currency account and get yourself a travel card. Withdraw up to $400 per month without being charged ATM usage fees.

Plus, by loading Euros onto your Revolut Card prior to your trip to Italy, vendors and merchants will assume you have a local account when you present your card. The machine will never apply exchange rate margins nor will it ask you to do a dynamic currency conversion.

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