Tuesday, 22 November 2011


Taking advantage of acquaintance, Mr HG asked the banking association official who is nationally responsible for retail banking payments systems what are the rules on maximum cash withdrawals.  The answer was that rules are not clear cut on the frequency of withdrawals, the treatment of joint accounts, or on cumulative limits.  Nevertheless the sensation that there is a secret retail run on Italian banks is confirmed by the rapid increase of 500 euro notes in circulation in the entire euro area.  And by the fact that the amount of cash that one is told by cashiers can be withdrawn on a single occasion falls steadily - from 10,000 to 5,000, to at present 2,500 with the warning that this might soon be reduced to 300 or even 100 euros. Certainly the media suggest that a 100 or 300 euro cash payment may be the maximum permitted in retail transactions.

Rather than attract attention by drawing 2,499  euros from the bank-at-the-bottom-of-the-hill last week, Mr HG was advised to withdraw 2,400.  After repeating the operation a couple of times he was asked to sign a declaration on the uses to which this money was to be put. He then proposed to empty his current account into a safer and more private berth  as it wasn't worth keeping our ready cash at 1% interest and suffer nosiness.  To do so triggers yet another declaration that our money is going to be kept under our mattress.

Finding we had left the main door unlocked  from Friday to Sunday on our return from Rome,  I wouldn't be a bit surprised if it was no longer there.


Small HG said...


Anonymous said...

"a 100 or 300 euro cash payment may be the maximum permitted in retail transactions"

Since when and sez who?

This is more than worrying; they really are trying to spy on everybody down to the last detail, aren't they?

WY having cookie trouble again. I hate Blogger!

hatfield girl said...

Sorry, Small. Came out through the glass ingresso and forgot to check because of hurry.

(well, they were demonstrating at the station and that meant finding somewhere else to leave the car, and that meant driving round the back of town and that meant ... Certainly shutting off the railway stations isn't a sensible means of encouraging economic growth).

hatfield girl said...

'Since when and sez who?'

There are various enabling acts and legislative decrees etc. but the answer is that no-one knows where anything stands until someone is irritated enough to to take some thing to the Tribunal and challenge any authoritarian interpretation. (I think but ...).

300 euros is a ridiculously low figure for everyday expenditure which would normally be conducted in cash. I'd like to see the butcher's face on being handed a credit card and not money.

What's clear is not just the spying (and every transaction requires a fiscal receipt and I wouldn't risk even leaving a bar after a coffee without one so it's not about tax evasion, not at these low levels) but the imposition of a life-style and consumption pattern on people.

Going shopping clutching bits of plastic card is not just repellent but expensive in Italy. Producing a bit of plastic leads to raised eyebrows and raised prices. We'll all be running old-fashioned accounts with our suppliers next - and that would be much more severe on iffy customers than credit card checks by banks.

Cash has the advantage that it closes the transaction and makes all transactors equal. Accounts hold to account entire life styles. Is that what is really wanted?

Sackerson said...

Are you exchanging Euro banknotes for the ones with the X registration on them?


And you're not the only one hoarding cash, I know of at least one financial journalist doing the same.

But beware, a Greek recently withdrew his life savings and then got burgled, I'll bet someone at the bank tipped of a relative.

hatfield girl said...

At the moment, S, I'm exchanging euro banknotes for the usual things food, drink, pretty warm clothes, Christmas presents, train tickets, newspapers, books, and petrol.

If this goes on it will be gold bars (which are on offer at the-bank-at-the-bottom-of-the-hill.)

If people work all day and all week picking olives (for instance) they expect to be paid in cash, not plastic promises; and they are all properly insured and contributioned-up. They are very happy though to take part-payment in oil. No one they deal with wants plastic exchanges either. If we are not to use cash then there are lots of other substances that are preferred to plastic card, as well as oil: game, wood, access to factory production and prices, favours various. Even talking to me in English for an examination candidate will be met with cakes (wholly unsolicited and quite delicious).

a musician said...

In a family-run Pensione in Switzerland this morning I went to pay my room for the night and the lady at reception said: it will be an added few francs if you pay by card I'm afraid signora, don't you have cash?
-Yes, euros, is that ok? - and handed over the euro banknotes.
Lady pursed her lips and said nothing.