Money in Italy: Credit Cards, Debit Cards or Cash?

Payment methods in Italy

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Paying by card makes traveling much easier; however, it is important to remember that it might not be available in some destinations. In most places in Italy, paying by card is no problem, yet having at least some local currency in cash is always a good idea for unexpected cases.

Good old cash

As Italy is a part of the European Union, official Italy currency is Euro. Of course, you don't need to pay by cash all the time as cards are very popular in Italy as well. However, we advise having at least 40-50 Euros per person just to stay worry-free and avoid rushing in order to track down the nearest ATM.


If you can't imagine your life without your card, you should know certain nuances that may occur while traveling Italy.

Local currency
The Euro is the local currency in Italy since January 1, 1999.

Credit cards

When it comes to credit cards, you should bear in mind that, firstly, not all establishments can accept credit cards and, secondly, you may face such an upsetting thing as a foreign transaction fee. Using your credit card may increase your expenses by 3%. If you want to avoid such outlay, you can get one of the following credit cards: American Express Platinum, Capital One cards, some Discover cards and so on.

Another hitch you can avoid is dynamic currency conversion fee. Using your credit card abroad, you’ll be asked at shops and restaurants whether you would like to be charged in your home currency. Just refuse this option as it's a gouge.

Debit cards

As a rule, debit cards are more widespread and commonly accepted in Italy so if you pay with Visa and MasterCard you'll have no particular difficulties.


The only problem with a debit card is that a withdrawal from an ATM can cost you 5$ on average. So in case you travel a lot, you may open an account in a bank that is a member of the Global ATM Alliance to save on such fees.

You shouldn't have any problems paying in Italy with any method of your choice; however, having a few Euros in your pocket might come in handy.