Information on the currency in Italy includes useful information on changing money in Italy, opening hours of banks, use of credit cards in Italy and why you should pay for expensive items in cash.
Italy is one of the 28 members of the EU, and in January 2002 the country converted its currency to Euro. So, Euro (€) is the actual currency in Italy, and 1 Euro is equal to 1936,40 of the old Lira. Banknotes denominations are EUR 500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5. Coins denominations are EUR 2, 1 and 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 cents. Use the following Currency Converter to learn more about the value of the Euro against other currencies. But how to change money in Italy?
Currency exchange: Travellers cheques, cheques and foreign money can be changed at banks, railway stations and airports, and very often at major hotels (generally at a less convenient rate). Typically all credit cards are accepted at ATM's throughout Italy, but if you can always check with your bank to be secure.
Credit & debit cards: MasterCard, Diners Club and Visa are widely accepted, but many small establishments - shops and restaurants only accept cash. It is advisable to ask merchants if they accept credit cards before trying to purchase items. Nowadays with the increased charges for those who cash travellers checks, and the varying exchange rates through the traveller always seems to lose-out on poor rates of exchange the credit card is probably safest and best value when comes to travelling. Just visit an ATM, many have an English option menu through which you draw money when you need ( 24-hours a day), and you'll end up getting a more honest rate of exchange.
Travellers cheques: Travellers cheques are accepted almost everywhere. To avoid additional exchange rate charges, travellers are advised to take travellers cheques in Euros, Pounds Sterling or US Dollars. With recent increases in the level of commission requested from American Express and other companies who issue travellers checks, you'll probably find great difficulty cashing these checks in restaurants or in shops or boutiques. Many banks charge heavy commissions, so always try to cash your travellers checks at American Express offices in the respective cities you visit.
Cash: Good-old cash still has a premium value in today's world. Gone are the days when traders happily accepted foreign currency for payment. The strong Euro has taken away that speculative nature of shop-owners in Italy. But, remember cash in the form of Euro still has great value! If you purchasing expensive items, ask if the store-owner would offer a discount if you paid in cash. Quite often you'll be greeted with a smile and a discounted price ranging from 5 - 20% off the price you would pay if paying by credit card.