Cash versus Cards


I’ve been doing my research in Italy for some time now (when I’m going is another story, but I’ll be ready) and I’ve read in a couple of places that cash is the preferred method of payment. Some articles mention that store owners and restaurants may not even accept cards because it results in an extra expense for the proprietor. How true is this? Does it vary by region?


Hmm good question! I would never have thought to ask this. I would imagine it is far easier for visitors to use cards but I can understand why they don’t like you doing this. Still though - I wonder why shops refuse it if they are used to tourists coming around.


What you read is quite true. In the South even more so.

It’s understandable after all, considering businesses are charged up to 2% for card transactions and then there’s also the risk of charge backs. For smaller amounts, the fees might be even higher.

I’m a cash person myself for the most part and will remain so until the very last day it will still be possible.


Thanks, Dan. You’re a wealth of information for all things Italy.

Crush3r, I never would have thought of it either, but I read it in a couple of places. Anyone who uses cards consistently probably wouldn’t think about it. I would imagine more touristy areas or destinations are more card friendly though, and of course, places like hotels are fine with cards.


I mainly use cash for most purchases, but that’s only because it’s my “secret weapon” to spend less :sweat_smile:
However, I’ve never been denied the option to pay using my card (except for once when the machine didn’t work).

I actually had no idea businesses have to pay an extra fee for card transactions. I assumed cash or card were all the same for the vendor. Good to know!


I think it’s a shame that to use your card you will either get charged or the business will get charged. I always feel a lot more safer and more secure paying with my card over carrying cash around with me. At least with a card you can cancel if it is stolen, with cash once it’s gone, it’s gone.

Some very good advice in this thread. I guess I will have to be carrying cash around with me for the most part.


You will need both. Card is more secure but it likely will not be accepted everywhere. You should try to get to get a card with no foreign transaction fees or ATM fees so that way using your card won’t cost you and you can withdraw money without incurring a fee.


Credit card companies all charge a transaction fee. They vary by kind (whether you swipe or enter the number), type of card (gold or standard) and the like. I can just imagine what the credit cards charge overseas for transactions as well. I think I will stay with cash, myself.


I don’t see the big deal with having some Italian money (However, you should take time to understand how it works.). I mean, cards and money from your home would be a pain when dealing with locals.


I would also think that it would be easier to use a card, than to carry around cash. I would personally carry a little money just in case there is a place that doesn’t accept a card.


I used a combination of cash and card during my trip. I would use cash when buying from locals such as souvenirs and clothing. When it came to restaurants and higher end boutiques, I would use my card to get points since I do hold a traveling rewards credit card. I would say it depends on region as well, less tourist places prefer the usage of cash than credit card.


It really depends on the particular region. But I think cash payments are much more well regarded in Italy in general than paying with a credit card.


I agree with @Shortie861, paying with your card is indeed much safer. And I have to add, me paying with cash is great and all, but sometimes having all those coins in my wallet can be a pain. They’re really heavy when there’s a lot of them!

Not only that, but if you pay cash you have to wait for the cashier to give you exact change, This includes 1 cent or 2 cent coins, which only add to the weight of the wallet, since you rarely get to use them.