Best credit card to use in Italy with no additional (transaction) fees?

Discussion in 'American Express | Membership Rewards' started by kayjay, Mar 2, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. kayjay
    • Original Member

    kayjay Silver Member

    I have Amex SPG, Delta, AAdvantage business & personal, Costco;
    Visa - onepass, chase freedom;
    MasterCard - Citi PPE, Sony

    I didn't have much time to call & research each card to know if there are any additional fee for each transactions? I probably will be using at hotels, restaurants, siteseeing centers, tickets, trains, etc. This is my first time in Italy and for tourism. If all the cards charge any fee, which is a better card (for knowledge sake)?

    Also, how much cash/travellers cheque should I carry for 7 day trip approximately?

    Other form of mode of payment any recommendation?
     
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  2. geclub1
    • Original Member

    geclub1 Silver Member

    Amex SPG, Delta, 2.7%

    AAdvantage business & personal,
    These 2 are issued by Citi and it is 3%

    Costco;
    don't know

    Visa - onepass, chase freedom;
    These 2 are issued by Chase and it is 3%

    MasterCard - Citi PPE, 3%

    Sony
    don't know

    Amex does not require you to call to use overseas. Other banks require you to let them that you will be out of area and they are very trigger happy to deny charges when not notified.
     
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  3. kayjay
    • Original Member

    kayjay Silver Member

    Thanks a lot. Any CC or debit card without any transaction fees?
     
  4. piqaro
    • Original Member

    piqaro Silver Member

    I have these affinity cards (2-AMEX, 2-Citi, 1-Chase) but outside the USA, I use USAA.
    Almost anyone can join now, but there are qualifications to use their insurance.

    USAA charges 1% and you get a market exchange.
    The interest rate is reasonable. They reimburse all ATM fees and there is no annual fee.
    The car rental coverage and discount is among the best worldwide.
    I can also use a free debit card from my investment account with similar benefits, but I don't.
    I use a Maestro card for cash, as its a little more flexible than many US issued cards.
    Then keep my ATM card secure.
    You can authorise foreign travel up to a year in advance and use a tool online.
    It tends to work in more vending machines for food and train tickets in europe than US issued cards.
    https://www.usaa.com/inet/pages/banking_credit_cards_main
    I only use affinity cards outside the US for hotels or when the points are more value than the surcharges.
     
  5. chemist562
    • Original Member

    chemist562 In Memorian

    I thought just recently that Chase made the One Pass (& Mileage Plus) CC's no FOREX. (I would double check just to be sure). If you have any credit union CC's, they usually only charge 1% FOREX fees. Also, for cash/checks, I would use an ATM in my destination country to pull out cash. I have used my local CU ATM for many years w/o ATM charge. The one drawback with my CU is a low daily withdraw limit. ($300) With banks, I would double check to make sure they don't charge ATM and/or FOREX fees.
     
  6. richinaz
    • Original Member

    richinaz Silver Member

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  7. pjoalfa
    • Original Member

    pjoalfa Silver Member

    Chase BA VIsa, no Forex fee. Amex Platinum no Forex fee starting sometime this month. (Read that on FT somewhere).
     
  8. miloki
    • Original Member

    miloki Silver Member

    I don't know how others feel about this, but I never use travelers checks any more. What a PITA. I usually get cash at an ATM at the airport when I arrive, then use my credit cards as much as possible. This works great for me.
     
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  9. AdamRx
    • Original Member

    AdamRx Silver Member

    BA Visa by Chase for sure. I don't know if you have time before your trip to get it, but you also get 50k bonus miles (with appropriate spending).
     
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  10. AdamRx
    • Original Member

    AdamRx Silver Member

    Hadn't heard that about the Amex Plat, that will be sweet.
     
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  11. TRAVELSIG
    • Original Member

    TRAVELSIG Gold Member

    If you are talking specifically about Italy- cash is probably easier for most transactions.
     
  12. ilimas
    • Original Member

    ilimas Active Member

    This article from nerdwallet may help: http://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/2011/credit-card-no-foreign-transaction-fee/
     
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  13. KyRoamer
    • Original Member

    KyRoamer Gold Member

    Schwab debit card has no FOREX fees. better yet, Schwab will reimburse all fees charged by foreign ATMs. I used an ATM in RIO recently and was charged over US$7 for the privilege. Schwab credited that back to my account.

    AMEX has announced no fees on the Platinum and Centurion cards starting sometimes this month. Its other cards are at 2.7% but if you value the points at 1.5 cents the charge is not all that bad. With Capital One I guess you can get points worth 1 to 1.25 cents and pay no fee, but unless it is a debit card getting cash might be costly.
     
  14. KyRoamer
    • Original Member

    KyRoamer Gold Member

  15. aviators99
    • Original Member

    aviators99 Silver Member

    Apparently it's March 26th for Amex Plat and Cent. Too late for me, considering my 3/13-3/20 time in foreign countries. So I got a Capital One Debit Card. No hard pulls or anything...
     
  16. gpaya
    • Original Member

    gpaya Gold Member

    BA Visa and Hyatt Visa by Chase have no forex fees.
     
  17. ChicagoEric
    • Original Member

    ChicagoEric Silver Member

    Is the March 26 date firm? We will be overseas so would be very helpful to us if that was the date - - I have not received any sort of email from them on this...
     
  18. miloki
    • Original Member

    miloki Silver Member

    I would prefer to use my Amex. I just wish it was accepted more places in Europe.
     
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  19. aviators99
    • Original Member

    aviators99 Silver Member

    This is what several people have been told when they call customer service.
     
  20. ilimas
    • Original Member

    ilimas Active Member

    So true. In Italy they prefer cash and do not accept credit cards as widely as in the U.S. I used my Credit Union debit card to get Euros from the ATM. It was only a 1% fee.
     
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  21. kinrosssam

    kinrosssam Active Member

    The only cards without foreign tranaction fees which are approx 3% are Capital one , Hyatt and Intercontinental get one beofre you go it will be worthwhile and be prepared to use ATMs they do work
     
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  22. Terry Quinn
    • Original Member

    Terry Quinn Silver Member

    I use cash in Italy to bargain down prices. The boutique hotel I stay at in Rome offers significant savings for cash payment of rooms, sometimes as high as 25%. Some restaurants will do the same if you ask.
     
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  23. mrsmortis
    • Original Member

    mrsmortis Silver Member

    I don't know about the rest of Italy but I am in Milan about 4 nights a week at the moment.

    You are going to need to use cash here - probably more than you are used to. But I've found that I get the best exchange rates from ATMs here rather than from at home (though I don't get charged by my bank for a foreign transaction only by the one that owns the cash machine). You also can't pay for things directly with travellers checks like you can in the US. You need to go into a bank to change them for cash (though you may find your hotel will take them). What I do is carry a minimal amount of cash into the country with me (No more than 50Euros) and get cash as soon as I land. I get out about 200 Euro per transaction to minimize the effect of the transaction fee.

    I'd budget 25 - 30 Euros for an evening meal at a reasonable but not too expensive restaurant. That includes one glass of wine but not bottles of it. A lot of smaller restaurants will not take credit cards. Another thing that you'll want to be aware of is that all restaurants have cover charge. You pay a small amount (2-4 Euros normally) just for the privilege of sitting down at one of their tables regardless of how much you order.

    I hope that's helpful.
     
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  24. Slow_Mustang
    • Original Member

    Slow_Mustang Silver Member

    I did that too until I landed at Hiroshima airport late one evening without any Japanese currency. ATMs are in secured areas which are open only during the office hours. I was able to buy the bus ticket from the airport to town (about an hour away) with a CC. Same story in the town too, no ATMs until 9:00 AM the next morning. Had to walk from the bus terminal to the hotel (minor inconvenience) at 11:00 PM as the taxi drivers did not want my American money. So, it can be tricky at times, if you are not arriving during daytime and the airports are small instead of an international one in a major metropolis. Lesson learnt: verify from internet travel sites about open ATMs at the destination airport, else carry some local currency to tide you over till the next morning.

    PS, Hotel exchange rates for TCs or US dollars to local currency are always lot worse than the bank exchange rates.
     
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  25. miloki
    • Original Member

    miloki Silver Member

    That's a good point. I think last time I went to Europe, I got a minimal amount of Euros beforehand just for the arrival. I'll make sure I do that again this time too.
     
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