Home > Italy Guide > Legal and Money > Travellers Cheques in Italy
IntroductionTraveller's cheques are still probably the most secure way of financing a holiday in Italy. While they can be a little bit more expensive to use than credit cards, bank cards, and cash etc, they provide you with a safety net should disaster strike and you lose your belongings.
Traveller's Cheque SecurityEach traveller's cheque has a unique serial number. When you purchase them you must sign them once in front of the cashier - when you cash them at the bank or money changer you must sign them again AND show your passport or driving license. Therefore traveller's cheques are a very safe way of carrying money.
If you lose your traveller's cheques or if they are stolen, they can be refunded as no-one but you can cash them. In order to take advantage of this it is essential that you keep the receipts showing the serial numbers of your traveller's cheques somewhere safe (and away from the traveller's cheques) so that you can quote the numbers to the issuing company if your cheques go missing in order to receive your refund. It is a good idea to also send an email to your own web-based email account in which you list the serial numbers of your traveller's cheques - just in case you lose everything!
Traveller's Cheque Currency - Pound Sterling or EuroTraveller's cheques are available in many currencies including pounds and euros. It is probably best to purchase euro traveller's cheques in the UK before you depart where you have the time to compare the exchange rates and charges offered by the various issuing companies. If you purchase your traveller's cheques denominated in Pound Sterling then you will have to exchange them in Italy into Euros where the exchange rate (particularly in heavily touristed areas) is unlikely to be as competitive.
As a minimum commission is usually payable per cheque when cashing traveller's cheques it is most efficient to take only high denomination traveller's cheques and not the smaller denominations. For example it is a lot better to take one 50 Euro traveller's cheque than to take five 10 Euro traveller's cheques.
Traveller's Cheque ProvidersIt is best to purchase traveller's cheques from Thomas Cook or American Express as their cheques are recognised and accepted the world over.
Lloyds TSB offer commission free American Express traveller's cheques (subject to a £4.50 fee if delivered direct to your home) together with a commission free buy back offer.
Using Traveller's Cheques in ItalyTraveller's cheques can be exchanged at banks, bureaux de change, and hotels etc in Italy, and in the major tourist destinations can often be used almost as cash.
The exchange rate you receive will be best at the banks, and worst at hotels, with bureax de change covering the middle ground. Click here for details of banking hours in Italy. A commission charge is payable when cashing traveller's cheques, but can be avoided by using an American Express office in Italy (and American Express traveller's cheques).