5

I'm going to be traveling to Poland/Slovakia and perhaps Germany/Austria for 11 days In a couple of weeks, and am not sure how I should deal with money, as Poland does not use the Euro, but the other places we will be visiting do. Is there a solution that will work in both Poland and other countries that use the Euro? I'd prefer to only have to deal with one type of currency! Do places in Poland accept Euros? Would places in Slovakia accept Polish currency?

Should I buy a Visa prepaid credit card (which I assume would be chip and pin) while I am over there? Would that work in Poland and also places that use the Euro? Or would it be easier to just take out cash from an ATM and use that? Or just deal with my American debit card?

I'm mostly concerned about polish currency in Poland, and dealing with euros everywhere else.

How would I best go about this?

  • 1
    Have you tried looking at some of the other questions around this topic already on the site? eg travel.stackexchange.com/q/10/26 – Gagravarr Jun 12 '14 at 16:00
  • 1
    i'm mostly concerned about dealing with two currencies during my trip, as poland does not use the euro, but other places we are traveling to do. i edited my op to try and make that more clear – Potts Jun 12 '14 at 16:03
  • Well, it is no different from dealing with two other currencies during your trip (notably, in neither country you can pay in US dollars) - you either use a card, or exchange money to local currency. – George Y. Dec 17 '16 at 1:09
5

Unfortunately Euro is not commonly accepted in Poland, just as Polish currency (PLN) is not accepted in Slovakia. In Poland it is usually easy to exchange major currencies (including EUR) into the local currency, there are many cash machines as well. Many places (but by no means all) accept credit cards as a form of payment. In Slovakia and Germany you have many cash machines and can also use your credit card. Therefore I would suggest taking EUR and/or a debit card, and deal with exchanging money and using the cash machines while you are there.

3

I'm from Slovakia and have traveled to Poland quite often. I now live in the US and visit Slovakia with US bank-issued credit cards.

First, you need Euro in Slovakia. The only place in Slovakia where Polish currency would be usable would be the restroom. You can bring cash in USD and exchange it for Euro in banks or even better in places called Zmenaren where you get a better exchange rate. Zmenarens are located often at big bus stations, train stations, supermarkets etc. That's what I do.

Credit cards/debit cards are not widely accepted in Slovakia. Don't use debit cards at all because of high fees. You can use a credit card to pay for merchandise or services. I have a credit card with 0% foreign transaction fee I have specifically for this purpose. Capital One bank offers such cards.

In Poland you need Polish Zloty. Some shops near the border may accept Euro, but they will give you a very unfavorable exchange rate. You need to exchange USD or EUR for Zloty for example at exchange booths called Kantor.

2

In all of the mentioned countries you'll have no problems taking out money from ATMs using Visa or Maestro. But you'll pay twice: first a commission in ATM, second the split between buy and sell price in banks, which is usually quite big.

In case of Poland, the split in bank is about 2-3 times bigger than by Kantors. Kantor is a specialized money exchange point, which can be found usually in shopping centers or on the railway/bus stations. You'll have no problem exchanging Euros and Dollars.

On Slovakia, they are called Zmenaren or similar, but expect big 'Money Exchange' boards as well. They too have quite good exchange prices. So you can take Dollars with you and exchange them to Zlotys (PLN) in Poland and Euros in Slovakia, so you'll pay no commission and only one the exchange split price (Kantors take no commission! They live from split! If someone wants commission from you, he/she is no Kantor and it's probably a scum!).

As for paying with foreign debit cards, it's not a good idea, because you may be charged a high commission for each transation (I'm not sure, but it's quite hard to get accurate information, banks are lying in open text and then charge you anyway ;). In Poland in big cities you can pay with debit card (VISA/Maestro) if you wish anyway, credit cards (not electronic) are not such widely supported. In Germany, most shops don't support any of them, because Germany has their own system of electronic cards, but their ATMs accept foreign cards without problems (not counting commission which can be 5%).

I'd just take dollars with me and be carefull with my wallet.

  • It is my experience that the fees on debit and credit cards are smaller than the fees for money exchange offices, and the exchange rates are usually better for banks than for cash exchange. Only when you just need $50 or less it is better to use a 'no fee' exchange office on cash. Do not take cash advance unless you know your credit card is low on fees there. – Willeke Dec 17 '16 at 11:29

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.