Euronet ATMs in Venice
If you see the name "Euronet" on a cash machine, turn the other way and look for a legitimate "Bancomat" or "Postamat."
A, a.k.a. cash machines, are usually associated with banks. In Venice, for example, you'll find "Bancomats" at bank branches around the city, where tourists and other visitors can withdraw local currency by using their hometown bank cards.
If the Venice bank charges a transaction fee on top of the visitor's hometown bank fees, the fee is usually about €3,--. And at some locations, such as branches of the Italian Post Office, there may be no local transaction fees at all.
Private for-profit ATMS are another story. Increasingly, popular tourist destinations such as Venice and Prague have been overrun by private for-profit networks such as Euronet, which take advantage of consumer ignorance about cash machines and currency exchange.
To show what we mean, here are photos from actual screens at a Euronet ATM. (We began a withdrawal sequence, bailing out at the last minute so avoid financial pain.)
BELOW: Euronet welcomes us to Venice with a lion logo and an ATM.
BELOW: After inserting our card and choosing a language, we enter our U.S. bank card's PIN and choose a service ("Cash").
BELOW: The default "Select an amount" screen starts at €200, so we click "Other amount" to pick a smaller number (in this case, €100).
BELOW: If you're from outside the Euro Zone, the Euronet ATM pitches withdrawal "in your home currency," which translates into a staggering 13 percent markup on the conversion.
BELOW: In addition to the horrifying exchange rate, Euronet levies a(which is on top of any fees that a visitor's home bank may charge).
BELOW: On another day, we try our luck at an Italian Post Office, where we aren't tempted by a "conversion" option and don't even need to pay a local transaction fee.
If you need cash in Venice (or any European tourist destination), avoid for-profit ATMs at freestanding locations, retail shops, bars, or restaurants.
Europe for Visitors (including
Venice for Visitors) with Cheryl
Imboden in 2001.
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