Will commence European holiday (2019) in Budapest, however as many reviews state a debit card is useless at ATM'S, and it is very difficult to get HUF notes in Australia prior to leaving, what can we do ?? Take Euro (cash),or risk having a debit card fail.

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    "many reviews state a debit card is useless at ATM'S" - can you be a bit more specific? Maybe there are some specific foreign types that have problems, but it's definitely not a general problem. Also, you might not even need a lot of cash.
    – molnarm
    Commented Nov 21, 2018 at 8:55
  • Does any of your cards charge a per transaction flat fee? If not then just use the card. They accept contactless even for small amounts.
    – mdewey
    Commented Nov 21, 2018 at 9:17
  • Credit cards for cash can be a problem. Debit cards may be protected against foreign use and you may need to tell your bank you will be in Europe (or even specific countries) before you leave. But when that is done they are usually the best option.
    – Willeke
    Commented Nov 21, 2018 at 9:55
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    I did not have any problem using my debit card (issued by a US bank) to withdraw forints from Budapest ATMs. I notified my bank prior to traveling. Can you cite the your sources? Commented Nov 21, 2018 at 11:59
  • I had no trouble using a debit card in Budapest in 2013. It's a Visa Debit Card. It might be difficult to use ones that belong to neither Visa nor Master Card. Commented Nov 21, 2018 at 20:36

4 Answers 4


My answer is from experience only.

There are plenty of cash machines in Budapest, most offer HUF and Euros(always use HUF for better value).

My debit card has always worked in Budapest like it has anywhere else. In fact I now don't get HUF here in the UK before I go anymore as I always seem to get a better rate in Budapest. I usually get about 340HUF for £1 here but it's about 360HUF to £1 there and my card has no currency exchange fee.

I've used cash machines that are connected to banks and just the random ones that are connected to bars in District VII. Usually the rate is a bit better at the cash machines connected to banks (Hungarian banks not foreign ones).

There are also plenty of currency bureaus that still offer a decent rate, sometimes the same as the cash machines, you can use your card in there too to get money out or exchange cash.

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    It is never wrong to take a bit of your own money or an other currency you will need on the trip to exchange in case of emergency.
    – Willeke
    Commented Nov 21, 2018 at 9:56
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    "I always seem to get a better rate in Budapest": I've found it generally true that the better rate is to be found in the place where the currency you're buying is used, and that the best rate is to be had from a cash machine withdrawal rather than a currency exchange window.
    – phoog
    Commented Nov 21, 2018 at 13:56
  • @phoog I always seem to get more dollars for my pound in the UK than USA. I was in Budapest in September and some of the bureau's were pretty good rates, around 360HUF for £1 same as the cash machine. I just thought they would be good if OP takes cash.
    – BritishSam
    Commented Nov 21, 2018 at 14:47
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    @BritishSam The USA is the big exception to the usual rule of getting a better rate for the home currency. US banks and exchange bureaux offer very poor rates. Commented Nov 21, 2018 at 20:35

ATM worked fine for me but you are right to consider if it doesn't which does happen depending on where your card is issued and complicated inter-bank networks.

Bringing EUR is a good idea. As HUF are also hard to get for me, I asked this question before travelling. As you can read from answers, they are even accepted directly in many places that cater to tourists. However, the rate is often quite poor but EUR can easily be exchanged for HUF at currency exchange outlets for a reasonable rate. In any case, it is always good for your to lookup the current rate yourself as a reference point to make sure that you are getting a good deal.


I am a little bit puzzled by why would you take EUR with you to Hungary when Hungary is not in the euro zone and very few places accept Euros as payment and at terrible rates. If you are afraid your bank card won't work (ask your bank first?), bring Australian Dollars and use a comparison site like http://valutavaltok.hu/valuta-arfolyamok?currentpage=0&currency_id=AUD&box_search_open=0&box_search_open_date=&box_search_city_id=392&box_search_region=&language=en&orderby=buy_rate&orderby_direction=desc& to find whoever is giving you the most Hungarian forints for your Australian dollars.


I also suggest using a credit card to pay for stuff or ATM with a debit card for getting cash. But if you bring AUD, you might be better than converting it to EUR and then HUF. The rates at the moment ( https://correctchange.hu/ ) are 198.10-201.90, so around 2% difference between buy and sell price. EUR is slightly better, but you need an AUD-EUR conversion as well.

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