Avoid cash advance charges in Italy

You'd pay either $10 or 5%, whichever is greater, on each cash advance with this Wells Fargo Visa (and many others), Avoid cash advance charges, Italy, Italy (Photo courtesy of Wells Fargo Bank)
You'd pay either \\$10 or 5%, whichever is greater, on each cash advance with this Wells Fargo Visa (and many others)

How to avoid the high fees and charges for credit card cash advances

Some credit cards are now charging exorbitant "transaction fees"—plus a laughably inflated APR, which starts accruing immediately—for each cash advance through a credit card, so read the fine print carefully when choosing which Visa card to use on the road.

Use cash advances only in emergencies. These credit card folks are counting on your complacency to keep milking you for money. Don't give them the satisfaction.

Whenever you get a cash advance on a credit cardthe bank starts charging you interest immediately , not after the end of the billing cycle's month as they do with purchases.

That means if you take out $200 on the first day of a two-week trip, for two weeks the credit card issuer will be charging you the highest possible interest rate (not that introductory 9.67%, but the industry ceiling of 18% or more), compounded daily, and will continue to do so until you pay your entire credit card bill all the way down.

They often also tack on a one-time "service fee" of $5 or more as well.

You may be able to avoid all this, however, by being a bit sneaky: They can only charge you interest if you're carrying a balance. The trick is to make sure you never carry a balance on the card by overpaying your bill (by however much you expect to withdraw in cash advances, plus purchases) the month before you leave.

It's silly, but it usually works.