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May 15, 2007 05:58 AM

Rome & Florence: paying with a credit card?

We will be visiting Rome & Florence. We intend to keep food costs on the low end (i.e. under 20-20 USD per person, excluding alcohol). Do most restaurants within this budget range in Rome & Florence usually take credit cards? Thanks.

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  1. I think that you have a pretty good shot at carding at your price. Visa or MC. I have found that only more expensive restaurants will accept AMEX.

    1. I don't think you'll have much of a problem.

      I don't recall the less expensive restaurants not accepting AMEX, but it has been a while...

      1. Here's a better suggestion: rather than using a credit card, take your ATM card and get cash as you need it from a machine. Italian banks do not charge a fee to your bank for your withdrawals so you save on that. In addition, when you use a MC, VSA or AMEX, they charge you 2-3% currency conversion fee on every transaction. Charge $100 and it will cost you $103 when you pay the bill. We never use credit cards in Europe any longer because the ATM route is so easy an less costly. Even worse than using a credit card is changing currency into Euros anywhere - you get lousy rates and have to pay a commission on top of that. Every restaurant is willing to take cash! Just be alert for pickpockets, but they steal credit cards as well as cash!

        1. It used to be spotty, but in the last few years, we haven't had any problem with credit cards in Rome. ATM's can be a little funny. Sometimes they announce that you're not cleared for international transactions, but that really means that they're out of order, or don't have cash or whatever. I do think, however, with the dollar at an all time low against the Euro, that your price range may be unrealistic.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Judith

            Id say most sitdown restaurants will take a visa card - but it can be so much easier just to get cash from an ATM that we mostly go that way.Just take a a few cards - some machines dont work with some cards - debit cards usually work the best.

            1. re: jen kalb

              ATM cards from Visa and MasterCard on the Pulse or other networks seem to work fine almost everywhere in Italy and France. On the back of your card, it will list networks on which the card will work. We spend time in France and /or Italy every year and have never had a problem at all getting Euros on ATMs, with the exception of the day when ATM technicians at the Paris Airport (CDG) went on strike. Once we left the airport, we got money from the first ATM we found. I repeat that the currency conversion charge on your VIsa/MasterCard/Amex CREDIT cards will cost you a lot., ATMs in Italy will not cost you a dime.

              1. re: CJT

                with all due respect, it happens that some cards dont work in some machines, even it the machine indicates that the network (cirrus, whatever) works there. We have have experiences with this on three trips in France and Italy the last two years. Its better to be prepared and have more than one card along - and I hasten to say, ATM cards and AMEX cards seem to work better than VISA credit cards for some reason (maybe the smartcard chips that some Euro ATMs look for. IN any event weve never had trouble using the credit cards in restaurants or hotels so go figure..

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