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I have GBPs left with me from my last travel to UK. Can I use it directly in Austria or is it advisable to convert all these GBPs to Euro before I travel to Austria? Or can GBPs be easily converted to Euros in Austria itself?

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    Just curious, why do you think a foreign currency would work "directly" in Austria? – BruceWayne May 7 '18 at 19:30
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    "can GBPs be easily converted" if you wish to "get rid of" some paper UKP, one issue you will face is nobody will take the small change or perhaps even the small notes. – Fattie May 7 '18 at 19:45
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    @BruceWayne David's answer describes reasons why certain foreign currencies are commonly accepted in some areas. Granted, as David also noted, none of those apply to Austria with the GBP. – reirab May 7 '18 at 21:54
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    @Fattie/BruceWayne The OP prefers to keep an air of mystery about him, however, taking a wild guess based on his username, I'd say he/she's not from Europe (India, perhaps?). From that range, Britain and Austria are next-door neighbours with practically identical cultures. It might well be that their currencies are interchangeable... Of course, from our zoomed-in perspective, they're not. – Oscar Bravo May 8 '18 at 6:22
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    @OscarBravo This argument doesn't hold water. It would not have crossed my mind for even one second that I could use Indian currency in Pakistan, for example – and, rather obviously, I can't. – Najib Idrissi May 8 '18 at 10:41
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No, GBP can not be used directly in Austria. No store will accept them.

You won't have any serious trouble finding a currency exchange store to convert them to Euros though.

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    No store except some of the most touristy souvenir shops in the tourist hotspots. – TheEspinosa May 7 '18 at 8:09
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    @RobertRiedl Offering zero commission and making up for it with insane bid-ask spreads is standard for currency exchanges these days... I would expect the exchange at the airport to offer a similar option. (The spread will be even worse at the airport, but as you pointed out, for small amounts it's more about convenience than price.) – Sneftel May 7 '18 at 9:48
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    @Sneftel, compared to other banks I think it is the cheapest option, and you will not have a surcharge for only changing 5 GBP to EUR. Other banks will levy a minimum fee/commission. Unfortunately the exchanges places at the airport don't have only exchanges rates, but I doubt they are cheaper. That said, it is always good to compare and you might get a better deal at a bureau de change around the corner. However, this bank is actually somewhat of an insider tip for Vienna tourists, since it is centrally located and offers good rates and no extra fees. – Robert Riedl May 7 '18 at 10:02
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    @RobertRiedl: Getting only 0.90405 euro for a pound is an extremely horrible deal. Even with Brexit looming, the pound is still worth more than one euro; one should be getting between 1.10 and 1.15 currently. – Henning Makholm May 7 '18 at 14:35
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    for cash, get say 200 euros (or whatever you will need) from any cash machine (in Austria) just using your debit card. it's ridiculously cheaper than changing paper money. – Fattie May 7 '18 at 19:43
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There are a number of reasons that a shop might choose to accept some currency.

  • Obviously, they'll accept the local currency.
  • If they're in an area where a relatively large fraction of shoppers are tourists from some particular place, they might accept that currency, too. Likewise, if they're very close to an international border, doubly so if, for example, tax regulations make it profitable for people to cross the border to buy alcohol, cigarettes or some other highly taxed product.
  • If they're in an area where the local currency and economy are unstable, they might accept some major world currency (typically the US dollar or maybe the Euro) because it's more reliable than their local currency.

None of these situations seem to apply to Austrian shops and British pounds. Obviously, it's not the local currency, there will be many more more visitors from neighbouring countries (which was kind of the point of the Euro in the first place!) than the UK, and the Euro is a perfectly stable currency to do business in.

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An enterprising individual will accept them, but I will rip you off on the exchange rate. Better off converting it elsewhere for cheap. I worked at a souvenir shop around Praterstern during my younger years and I did this numerous times.

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    Do it a couple of times in a week and I almost always doubled my wages. – user77481 May 8 '18 at 10:07
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    If you get enough (with a lousy for the pound user exchange rate) you can take them to a proper exchange office or a bank, or safe them up to use them in the UK at a later date. – Willeke May 8 '18 at 15:20
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    @DavidRicherby - If the item costs €10 but, as the enterprising individual I accept £100 instead, I can then change that £100 into €, pay the €10 into the till and keep the remaining money myself. I think most tourists would be unlikely to do this, and you'd be seen as a bit of a scammer for doing so, but it works as an example for how it could have an impact (and maybe with a massaging of the figures it could actually be acceptable and profitable). – RyanfaeScotland May 8 '18 at 15:35
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    @DavidRicherby - Neither of your points matter w.r.t my comment. I was offering it as an example because you said, and I quote "How would it have any impact?" This is an example of how it could have an impact. Don't get hung up on the numbers (although I thought you might get hung up on the numbers, which I didn't calculate to be plausible because it is an example not a business plan, hence I offered a little extra comment on needing to massage them to maybe make it work). – RyanfaeScotland May 8 '18 at 16:51
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    I don't care anymore mate, this is now a waste of time, arguing over the internet. Believe what you want. This was years ago and I knew I made money off it. I've still seen it happening more than once each time I go out at the tourist areas, even around the world, not just hier. And I remember people such as yourself are the very ones that lined my pockets. I simply just wanted to point out you are going to be ripped off at stores/restaurants accepting foreign currency, because I did it firsthand and you are very hostile to this new information that challenges your views. Good evening. – user77481 May 8 '18 at 17:39

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