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I am choosing the best way to exchange money for my travel to Serbia (Kopaonik region, going for skiing). As long as bank cards are not widely accepted there, and my bank charges 1% for withdrawal in ATMs of other banks, I'm going to bring most money in cash, and exchange locally to dinars.

Which of the currencies (USD, EUR, Russian roubles) have the smallest spread (buy vs sell ratio) in the exchange offices available in rural areas like Kopaonik? In Belgrade airport?

(we'll be transferring from the airport directly to Kopaonik, so no major cities to consider for our trip)

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2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

EUR, anywhere in the country, because it's by far the most important currency for trade and remittances. Sample spreads here.

However, the cash spread will almost certainly be higher than the rate you would get from an ATM, which is why you should just use a debit card.

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How typical is it for a bank in Serbia [which can be found in rural areas] to have no charge for ATM withdrawal from a card by different (and foreign) bank? (Thanks -- and nice to see you here, after years at WT ;-) –  yurkennis Feb 18 at 1:07
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No charge at Serbia Post ATMs. posta.rs/struktura/eng/novcano/bankomati.asp –  jpatokal Feb 18 at 1:10
    
"However, the cash spread will almost certainly be higher than the rate you would get from an ATM" -- AFAIK, when I withdraw dinars from a euro card with a foreign ATM, my bank receives a request in dinars and converts it into EUR using its own exchange rates--and it's very exotic transaction for a Russian bank. Even for transactions EUR<>RUB or USD<>RUB, which are most typical for Russians travelling, bank exchange rate is always far worse than those available from dedicated exchange offices dealing with cash. Why it could be different in Serbia? –  yurkennis Feb 18 at 11:03
    
Err, find a better bank? My experience is completely the opposite: wire transfer/debit card exchange rates are usually much better than cash rates, especially if you need to convert your cash twice (RUR->EUR->RSD). –  jpatokal Feb 18 at 12:44
    
"Sample spreads here" -- Is "Exchange rates for foreign cash" table a sample of what can be found in exchange offices, right? –  yurkennis Feb 18 at 21:41
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For the reference, our own experience is also in favour of EUR, see details in my answer to another question. However I decided to bring most money on a debit card, from bank which doesn't charge a commission for cash withdrawals at ATMs of other banks. However, as money on the card were in USD, Visa charged a commission of 0.5% for conversion into RSD (which is still a great conversion rate, given Visa minimal spread on conversion which no bank or exchange office can compete with).

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