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Hello,
My wife and I will be moving to Rome at the end of August. We both recently accepted teaching jobs with 2 year contracts (special education and science). Our school has someone working with us to get set up with work visas. They will also help us find a place to live, set up utilities, etc... once we arrive. However, we have some practical questions that we hope can be answered.

1) We are maintaining our home back in the U.S. and will need to pay the mortgage. Is there a bank account that we should open back in the states that has branches in Italy i.e. HSBC? I'm trying to find the cheapest and most cost effective way to transfer Euros to our American bank account. Or would it be cost effective to pay our mortgage with Euro?

2) We currently have a credit card that accumulates points for travel. Should we use this card while in Italy? It does not have a fee for foreign transactions but, again, I'm concerned about the conversion of Euro to dollars when I go to pay the bill.

3) Should we bring unlocked cell phones that are not tied to a US cell provider with us or buy phones once we arrive? We both need new phones and are debating whether we should buy them before we leave or after we get there.

4) We will be bringing our dog with us. I've read a bit about this and the process seems pretty simple. We've discussed the paperwork with the vet and it doesn't seem to be a problem. For people with experience bringing a dog over, how was the process once you landed? Are there any suggestions you have for where we can buy pet supplies once we have settled?

5) We are super excited to be moving to Rome and happy to have found this community. If I missed a FAQs post, please direct me to it. Thanks!
 

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HSBC doesn't have an Italian retail bank. From the sounds of it you need to deposit your Italian income into an US bank to pay the mortgage? I can't think of a simple cheap way. If your employer is willing I'd see if they would do it directly.

If you setup two accounts with HSBC. One with HSBC USA and one with HSBC Expat in Jersey you could transfer funds between them but you need to get the funds to Jersey. Your Italian bank will charge you for the transfer. You'll still need to convert the € to US$.

Barclays Italia no longer exists. The UK is outside the € zone so bank transfers aren't free. Sorry can't think of anything simple and relatively cheap.

Aren't you renting out the home? If you are having who ever is handling the rental deposit the rent seems the simplest option.

No reason not to bring your credit card. It's a hassle to get an Italian card. To avoid conversion fee get a debit/ATM card from your Italian bank. It'll work in all POS machines . It's not a credit card so you need to have funds in the account.

3) You can check phone prices here for the phones you're interested in. There is some better choice here. More brands and models. You'll get an EU charger saving you the hassle of a plug adapter.
 

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I know little of the vagaries of the USD, but would suggest you have a look at Transferwise, currencyfair or one of the many FX companies out there like Fairfx or Moneycorp. Not too sure if they are suitable for regular payment transfers, but the likes of Transferwise do say they do SEPA payments, so a bank here in Italy doing the same should be okay. Perhaps someone out there knows other better specific US companies.
 

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1) As per my experience, there are no US banks with branches in Italy. I suggest Transferwise or open a bank account with Fineco Bank. They have online accounts with dual currency, so you can decide when it is more convenient to convert Euro in US Dollars, depending on the exchange rate.
2) You can use the US credit card, but probably you'll pay a conversion fee.
3) I had some problems with my US unlocked cell phone in Italy, you could try yours, if they don't work, you can buy an Italian phone.
4) Unfortunately, I don't have any suggestion for the dog, but in Italy, there are a lot of pet stores.
 

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1) Open a multi currency bank account (Fineco is one of the best), turn the euro into dollars and then make a money transfer. This solution works only if the American bank has a Swift code.
Another solution is to use TransferWise.
2) You could check if the same card exists in Europe and accumulate points with that.
3) A lot depends on your mobile phones, the American frequencies are different from the European ones, so you'll have to check if the phones are compatible with the Italian network.
If you need many gigabytes, Tre is one of the companies that offers the best rates.
4) If the dog is large get a suitable cage, made all the vaccinations, there should be no major problems for the dog.
In Italy there are many pet shops, you will certainly find one near your home.
5) When I was deployed in the US for work, I met an Italian accountant who works in Texas and has an accounting office in the United States, if you have tax obligations in both countries is definitely the right person for you.
https://www.succentrixwichitafalls.com
 
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