Money: Czech Currency, Budget, ATM´s, Travellers’ Cheques, Tipping
- The Czech national currency is called the Czech crown (abbreviation: Kc or CZK), and it is the only legal tender in the country’s shops, hotels, and restaurants, although prices may be sometimes quoted un US dollars or Euros for convenience’s sake.
– Although the Czech Republic is still generally a bargain by Western standards, Prague remains the exception.
– As for prices of hotels and restaurants in Prague they are comparable to the U.S. and Western Europe, while outlying towns are much more reasonable.
– The prices for castles, museum, and other sights are rising, but still low by outside standards.
Currency & Exchange
– The unit of currency in the Czech Republic is the Koruna, or crown (Kc)
– Koruna is divided into 100 haléru, or hellers.
– There are coins of 50 hellers.
– Coins of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 Kc.
– Notes of 50, 100, 200, 500, 1,000, 2,000, and 5,000 Kc.
– Notes of 1,000 Kc and up may not always be accepted for small purchases.
Current exchange rate
– Czech National Bank Website: http://www.cnb.cz/en/financial_markets/foreign_exchange_market/exchange_rate_fixing/daily.jsp
Budget and Shopping
– Budget: US$5-10 (fast food)
– Mid-range: US$10-20 (local restaurants)
– Top-end: US$40 and upwards (best dining venues in major turist areas)
– Budget: US$20-30 (hostels)
– Mid-range: US$50-200 (2-3 star hotels)
– Top-end: US$ 250 and upwards (4-5 star hotels)
Travellers’ cheques are easily cashed throughout the Czech Republic
– Eurocheques are cashed free of charge at Komercní banks.
– American Express and Thomas Cook offices in Prague which will change their cheques at bank rates free of charge.
DON´T exchange money on the street
– Don’t bother exchanging money on the black market
– The usual rate is barely above the bank rate.
– And there are plenty of scammers ripping off tourists with discontinued old crown notes or Hungarian Forints of lesser value.
DO bring your ATM card
– ATM card will give you access to Czech money immediately after you arrive.
– It is quite difficult, and expensive, to obtain Czech currency in the United States; if you feel that you must obtain it before you leave, then American Express or Thomas Cook are your best bets.
– It’s a good idea to inform your credit-card company before you travel, especially if you’re going abroad and don’t travel internationally very often. Otherwise, the credit-card company might put a hold on your card owing to unusual aktivity; not a good thing halfway through your trip.
– Record all your credit-card numbers as well as the phone numbers to call if your cards are lost or stolen in a safe place, so you’re prepared should something go wrong.
– Both MasterCard and Visa have general numbers you can call (collect if you’re abroad) if your card is lost, but you’re better off calling the number of your issuing bank, since MasterCard and Visa usually just transfer you to your bank; your bank’s number is usually printed on your card.
– Visa, MasterCard, and American Express are widely accepted by major hotels, restaurants, and stores, Diners Club less so.
– Smaller establishments and those off the beaten track, unsurprisingly, are less likely to accept credit cards.
Reporting Lost Cards
– American Express (800/992-3404 in U.S.; 336/393-1111 collect from abroad. www.americanexpress.com).
– Diners Club (800/234-6377 in U.S.; 303/799-1504 collect from abroad. www.dinersclub.com).
– MasterCard (800/622-7747 in U.S.; 636/722-7111 collect from abroad. www.mastercard.com).
– Visa (800/847-2911 in U.S.; 410/581-9994 collect from abroad. www.visa.com).
DO use ATMs
– Your own bank will probably charge a fee for using ATMs abroad.
– Usually you will get a better rate of exchange at an ATM than you will at a currency-exchange office or even when changing money in a bank.
– Extracting money as you need them is a safer option than carrying around a large amount of cash.
– In order to use your ATM card in the Czech Republic make sure you have a four-digit PIN.
– If yours has five or more, remember to change it before you leave.
– ATMs are safe and reliable. Instructions are in English. If in doubt, use machines attached to established banks like Ceská Sporitelna, Komercni Banka, and CSOB.
– ATM .give you good rates and don’t charge commissions.
– The Czech word for an ATM is “bankomat”.
DON’T use one of the many round-the-clock exchange offices
– They are located on the streets of major tourist destinations.
– Despite the “low commissions” they claim to offer, their exchange rates are far from fair.
– If you wish to exchange cash go to an exchange office that’s affiliated with a bank.
– The only recommended exchange office (not affiliated with a bank) in the Prague historical center is the “blue” Exchange, Kaprova st. no 15 (on the very corner of Kaprova and Maislova street, at the Franz Kafka Sq.).
DON’T bring personal or company checks
– They will not be accepted as payment for goods or services.
– Shops and restaurants, especially in Prague, will accept most major credit cards (Visa, AmEx, MasterCard), and, of course, cash (Czech crowns).
A TIP of 5-10% is appreciated
– In any tourist restaurant with table service.
– The usual protocol is for them to tell you the total food bill and for you, as you hand over the money, to say how much you are paying with the tip included.
What are the opening hours of Prague stores?
– Most stores open between 9 and 10 a.m. and close between 6 and 7 p.m. There is usually no lunch break.
– Stores in the historical center are also open during the weekend.
– Some shopping centers are open until 8 p.m.
Do Prague stores and restaurants accept the Euro?
– The Czech Republic is not part of the European Union yet, so the Euro is not in official use.
– Some shops, restaurants and hotels accept payments in Euro and other currencies but usually with an inconvenient exchange rate.
– It is recommended to change your Euros at the bank and pay for everything in Czech Crowns.