Italian Word of the Day: Bancomat (ATM / bank card)

Bancomat is the commercial name of the electronic system that allows bank customers to make withdrawals and purchases, and perform other accounting operations from ATMs. However, in everyday speech, you will commonly hear it used to denote both:

  • the magnetic bank card that gives access to the service (also known as carta bancomat or tessera bancomat) and
  • the ATM providing the service (also known as sportello bancomat)

It is the compilation of the words banco (in the sense of banca ‘bank’) and mat, an abbreviation of automatico (automatic).

cover image with the word “bancomat” and a ATM machine in the background

Bancomat is a masculine noun and is invariable. It is used with the following articles:

il bancomat

un bancomat

i bancomat

dei bancomat

Some common verbs you will see used with bancomat include:

  • prelevare al bancomat = to withdraw cash from the ATM
  • pagare col bancomat = to pay with a bank card
  • recarsi al bancomat = to go to the ATM
  • smarrire / perdere il bancomat = to lose one’s bank card
  • fare un bancomat (informal) = to take money out

Come vuole pagare? Bancomat o contanti?

How would you like to pay? Card or cash?

Young woman using cash machine, mid section
Sta prelevando dei contanti al bancomat. = She’s withdrawing cash from the ATM.

When talking about a bank card, you can also use the word carta (card), or more specifically, carta di debito (debit card) or carta di credito (credit card). An ATM can also go by the name of cassa automatica or sportello automatico (automatic teller).

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