Rome Banks, Exchange in Rome, Paying in Rome
Banks usually offer the best exchange rate, although you have to pay a modest commission
to exchange cash (usually 3 Euro appr. 4.6 US$), in addition to an exchange commission, usully of 2-3% of the "inter-bank" exchange rate, which is the virtual one you find in papers and in the internet converters. If you want to know the present international
"virtual" or "interbank" exchange rate of your currency, please click on this link: Currency
Banks or exchange bureaux will only an exchange commission, which is usually 3%. Beware of those who claim they don't charge any commission (as they mark it up on top of the exchange rate).
The exchange rate of all currencies, and in particular the US dollar, fluctuates all the time, even within the same day. As a result of all this, it is better if you enquire well before exchanging money. The
banks are open Mon.-Fri. 8.45 AM - 1.30 PM and then again usually between 2:45 and 3.:45
Traveler's checks, credit cards, personal bank checks... paying in Italy
*All of them are not popular in Italy*, nor welcomed in most places. If you rely
on them, be prepared to go to banks and change the traveler's checks, or to use your
card in the bank ATMs (Automatic Teller Machines - mind you, in Italian they are called "BancoMat"). On the other hand, they are a better solution than bringing cash with you, as you will prevent thefts. Banks charge 3-5 Euro app. 4.6 - 7.8 US$ to change traveller's checks.
Credit cards are accepted in Italy(and especially in Rome) only in selected places, so use them when you can, but don't rely on them to pay normally. Italians tend to mistrust both paying and being paid by credit card.
It is not a good idea to rely on your personal bank checks (in Italian: "assegno personale").
They will not be accepted in Italy, unless the people or the company you have to
pay know you well. In any case the ones accepting your check will have to pay a bank
commission to cash the check and they will ask you to reimburse it to them. It is
also not a good idea to cash Euro with your personal check in banks. You generally
need a bank account to do this, and hence you should be resident in the country. Otherwise, the Italian bank should first contact your bank in your country, to verify your identity and if the check is covered. Once they finally get the funds from the foreign bank (at least 15 days) they will give you the funds, less hefty fees, thus it is not a good idea.
Bank drafts or cashier's checks or bank checks (in Italian "assegno circolare") are somewhat better, however they will undergo the same procedure of personal checks, so you might be frustrated in the end.
Exchanging on Sundays and holidays
There are also plenty of private exchange bureaux near the popular monuments or sights,
and they are open also in the afternoon. We found the best ones in Piazza Barberini.
You will find them before and after the corner with Via Veneto. Pay attention, these
exhange offices have often (but not always) less favourable rates. On Sundays the
Thomas Cook offices in Piazza Barberini and in Via della Conciliazione (the large street leading to
the Vatican) are open in the morning.
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