Withdrawing money in Europe with Barclays Debit

I anticipated that this might be difficult, so I called Barclays beforehand to ensure my Debit card would work for a start and then I get the best rates.

They advised I use only Global Alliance atms.

So whilst in Italy, I sought out the BNL atms, which was a little awkward at times. Time was wasted.

Problem 1 - no idea how much my withdrawal limit is

I want to withdraw a large amount of EUROs to minimize the transaction fee. Unfortunately it didn't allow me to withdraw 500EUR. Or 400EUR. So in order not to upset the person behind me, I reached for the 250EUR mark.

-£209.00
Cash Withdrawal
ITALY
AMOUNT IN EUR 250.00 ON 25 MAY VISA FX RATE 1.231981 FINAL GBP AMOUNT INCLUDES NON-STERLING TRANS FEE £6.07 ATM

Problem 2 - fixed % fee of I don't know what

Yikes, that's a 6GBP fee.

It gets worse:

-£251.87
Cash Withdrawal
ITALY
AMOUNT IN EUR 300.00 ON 28 MAY VISA FX RATE 1.22669 FINAL GBP AMOUNT INCLUDES NON-STERLING TRANS FEE £7.31 ATM

There is a fixed percentage, ontop of these bad GBP-EUR conversions.

£176.27
Cash Withdrawal
ITALY
AMOUNT IN EUR 210.00 ON 31 MAY VISA FX RATE 1.226989 FINAL GBP AMOUNT INCLUDES NON-STERLING TRANS FEE £5.12 ATM

I called up Barclays to complain, and they say they advise holiday makers to bring cash. Post office cash at 1.16 EUR to the GBP isn't a lot better.

I can't get the credit card deals http://travelmoney.moneysavingexpert.com/ recommends since I'm self-employed. One can get better deals by ordering EUR cash in advance in England, but it involves a rigmarole. What a PITA. Times like these I'd rather UK have the EURO.

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