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While credit cards are more widely accepted than ever in Italy, cash is still king in this society. Travelers can use the “cash is king” belief, as well as good old bargaining, to their advantage.
Italian business owners absolutely detest paying credit card transaction fees. If you are going to buy several items in a store or make a big purchase, ask for a sconto (discount) for paying cash. This works most often with small businesses (not big department stores, obviously) but you will be surprised how often it works. You can even try to offer cash for a discount when renting a villa or apartment from an individual owner.
Always try to “sconto” technique in outdoor markets if you are buying more than one item from a vendor. Bargaining is completely expected at markets like these.
Another reasons Italians love cash? It helps in the age-old Italian game of avoiding paying taxes, but that’s a whole other story for another time.
Find out more by watching Steve’s Video Travel Tips: Cash in Italy.
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