Using US credit cards in Italy?

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DoingHomework
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Postby DoingHomework » Wed Apr 24, 2013 6:46 pm

Lots of places do not want AMEX. I had no problems with swipe and signature except at train stations and so forth in machines. There you need the chip and pin. Most places will take a card, it is far more common than even 10 years ago. But it is still not quite as universal as in the US and you might run into some objection for small purchases. Don't expect to pay with your card for a 3 EUR espresso except in the most touristy places. They might take it but you might get some lip about it. And getting some lip from a merchant in Italy might seem like you started world war 3 by spitting on his mother. It's best to carry a visa and some cash at all times.

Oh, and many gas stations only take card issued by Italian banks!


DoingHomework
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Postby DoingHomework » Wed Apr 24, 2013 6:52 pm

My experience might be a little different because my travel in Europe has been both as a tourist and as a former resident. Some of the places I go you would never see a tourist at. Any place that caters to tourists will take your visa or mastercard no problem. Some will take Amex but it costs them more so they prefer not to. I have often been asked if I had another card when trying to use my amex in europe to the point that it generally is not my first choice. I love my platinum card but unless you are on a cruise or package tour, it's really more hassle than it is worth in europe in my opinion.

rockyrock
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Postby rockyrock » Thu Apr 25, 2013 1:05 am

DoingHomework wrote:My experience might be a little different because my travel in Europe has been both as a tourist and as a former resident. Some of the places I go you would never see a tourist at. Any place that caters to tourists will take your visa or mastercard no problem. Some will take Amex but it costs them more so they prefer not to. I have often been asked if I had another card when trying to use my amex in europe to the point that it generally is not my first choice. I love my platinum card but unless you are on a cruise or package tour, it's really more hassle than it is worth in europe in my opinion.



Sadly much is the same about Hawaii. Waikiki, national chains, and other high tourist spots take most cards but once you get to areas frequented by residents only, your options usually drop to V/MC or sometimes cash only. I understand but it's frustrating. I strive to be cashless but it's not realistic yet--in Hawaii at least.

All my travel and accommodations are arranged for in Italy so I will only be spending on food and local transportation. My dining experience will most likely be a cash one as I like to eat at smaller out of the way places. All my train/taxi/bus will probably go on my CSP to maximize points.
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Reclusive46
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Postby Reclusive46 » Sat Apr 27, 2013 12:56 pm

icanectc wrote:I have recently come back from Rome, Italy and have the chip and sig amex platinum card. No places I shopped used the chip and sig they swiped it like a regular card. No issues. many places off via orlando and via nationalize including locations around the trevi fountain are swiped as a merchant would in the U.S.


Regarding the swiping, a lot of the Italian EMV machines don't have the Amex application stored on them. Even my UK Chip and Pin Amex has to be swiped through because of this.
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FastSRT8
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Postby FastSRT8 » Sun Apr 28, 2013 4:03 pm

rockyrock wrote:Sadly much is the same about Hawaii. Waikiki, national chains, and other high tourist spots take most cards but once you get to areas frequented by residents only, your options usually drop to V/MC or sometimes cash only. I understand but it's frustrating. I strive to be cashless but it's not realistic yet--in Hawaii at least.

All my travel and accommodations are arranged for in Italy so I will only be spending on food and local transportation. My dining experience will most likely be a cash one as I like to eat at smaller out of the way places. All my train/taxi/bus will probably go on my CSP to maximize points.


I guess as I am a tourist when I go to Hawaii I have not been in situations where my Amex card was not accepted.

Great state you have there!
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rockyrock
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Postby rockyrock » Fri May 03, 2013 9:23 am

My Chip and Sig Amex Platinum and C&P World MC showed up today. Both are activated and as long as my MC PIN shows up in the next few weeks I'll be ready to go! Still waiting on my CSP...I only get mail once or twice a week so it's kind of hit and miss.
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DoingHomework
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Postby DoingHomework » Sat May 04, 2013 4:57 pm

FastSRT8 wrote:I guess as I am a tourist when I go to Hawaii I have not been in situations where my Amex card was not accepted.

Great state you have there!


I have a house in Hawaii, on the BI. I have never had a problem with AMEX acceptance. There are plenty of places that don't take cards at all but the ones that do have never turned down my AMEX, I go to plenty of non-tourist places.

I'm curious where you are rocky.

rockyrock
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Postby rockyrock » Mon May 06, 2013 2:30 am

DoingHomework wrote:I have a house in Hawaii, on the BI. I have never had a problem with AMEX acceptance. There are plenty of places that don't take cards at all but the ones that do have never turned down my AMEX, I go to plenty of non-tourist places.

I'm curious where you are rocky.


I live in Honolulu. I think Discover is the least accepted followed by Amex--that's probably true of everywhere though. I would say about half of the time I am at a non-chain establishment Amex is not accepted.

I've never had any problems on neighbor islands, but I consider myself a tourist and probably didn’t get too far off the beaten path.
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rockyrock
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Postby rockyrock » Thu May 23, 2013 3:26 am

My experiences are based on my travels in Rome, Florence, & Anzio Italy

Amex level of acceptance was as expected--many larger retailers and several restaurants. I didn’t have occasion to use the C&Sig function. Most places had a C&P reader but when I pulled out my Amex they took it and swiped it. I did see a few readers (w/stylus) that looked like they were C&Sig capable but didn’t want to stop and try a purchase something just to test it.

The ticket machines at the train stations accepted Amex but when I inserted my card they defaulted to asking for a PIN so it never worked. In fairness my CSP is non-chip and it didn’t work either. The PIN for my MC never showed so I didn’t use it at all.

Overall your life would be easier if you had a C&P V/MC when traveling in Italy but you can get by with a swipe if that’s all you have.

Once I left the airport I didn't see one Discover network sign.

Again, my experiences. YMMV

Ciao!
American Express (2005): Premier Rewards Gold & Blue Cash Preferred
Chase: Freedom & UA Club USAA: Signature Visa & American Express
Discover it Bank of Hawaii Hawaiian Airlines WEMC Synchrony Sam's MC
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