The use of electronic payments
Cards are more and more used to pay goods and services even abroad. In particular the most used are ATM cards with access to international circuits like EC and Cirrus-Maestro and credit cards connected with international circuits like Visa, Cirrus-Maestro, American Express, Diner’s…
The use of debit cards is getting more and more popular, especially for Internet purchases, but there can be some difficulties using them abroad, because they do not have embossed serial numbers which contribute to the cards security.
It is important to remember that the use of payment cards can be more difficult in less developed countries or small cities. Anyway, if a trader ( shop, hotel, restaurant…) displays the sticker of a card or a circuit on his windows, he is obliged to accept the payment with that card of through that circuit.
The spent or withdrawn sum have two limits: a daily limit ( up to 500-600€) and monthly limit, which can be agreed between the bank and the card’s owner. Many banks foresee a double daily limit, one for the payment and one for the cash withdrawal.
The cost of an operation depends on when this operation is made: EU country or extra EU country. Within the EU these costs have been uniformed. In another countries they are different and can be made of a fixed commission and a percentage on the withdrawn sum. When using a credit card outside the Euro area, beside the commissions, it is important to know that the same purchase can have a different cost according to the adopted exchange rate.
Commissions are different whether a debit or a credit card is used. When it comes about purchases, the differences are little and in many cases it is cheaper to use a credit card. In case of cash withdrawal instead, it is much more convenient to use the ATM/debit card, because the credit card foresees higher commissions, usually in percentage with the withdrawn amount, but with a minimum limit, therefore it is not convenient to withdraw small amounts.
Assistance and card blocking
In case of fraudulent use, loss or theft of a card, it is important to immediately block it. Usually card providers offer the possibility to call a toll-free number, but not from abroad, therefore it is important to be informed of how to block the card from abroad.
In EU countries, beside embassies and consulates, there are also offices of Italian main banks, where, if necessary, it is possible to ask for information or assistance.
In case of theft or loss, it is important to immediately report it to the local authorities and to the police, once back home.
The report has also to be sent to the bank, which provided the card.
In case of dispute with the card provider, the consumer can address the complaint department of the bank or the bank ombudsman. In case of unsolved dispute, the card’s owner can address the judicial authority.