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


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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.

Where can I use my credit card?
Although most businesses and service in Italy will accept your credit card, you may find that some of the 24/7 local food shops and small cafe shops may only accept cash. Not to worry, there are plenty of ATMs located around Italy including inside corner stores.

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.

F.A.Q about money in Italy

Do I need cash in Italy?

Like the majority of countries in Europe, Italy is a cash-based society that has adopted the use of credit cards, however, has not fully made that conversion. It is not uncommon to find corner stores and smaller businesses accepting cash as their only payment method, so make sure to have some hard cash when going out into the city

What is better to use in Italy: Cash or Card?

As of 1st of July 2020, Italy has set a new law that prohibits payments of over 2'000 EUR made by cash, which means that any payment over 2'000 EUR must be paid electronically, such as via a credit card. Carrying that in mind, if you are going out to the city for a day, you can withdraw some cash in case you walk into stores that don't yet accept cards, however, large payments for things like hotel bills should be paid by card.

Can I use my Debit Card in Italy?

As long as your account has enough funds and is not blocked by your bank, you can use foreign Debit Cards to withdraw cash from Italian ATMs and pay via a handheld card reader.

What Credit Cards are accepted in Italy?

The most commonly accepted Credit Cards in Italy are Mastercard and Visa, while American Express is known to be accepted in some places, it hasn't reached the same popularity as the first two yet.