Currency Exchange Tips when in Prague.
One of the first things that we noticed when we arrived in Prague, was the warnings not to exchange money in the streets but to do it at official currency exchange offices. Although The Czech Republic is part of the European Union, they have kept their local currency: The Czech Crown. When changing your money in Prague you have to be very careful. It is a very touristy city and criminals lurk around each corner to rob you of hard earned money or to give you fake currency.
There are plenty of Money Exchange Bureaus all over the town. Before you change money into Czech Crowns, shop around and negotiate. We checked the current rate on our phones before we entered and then asked what rate they were prepared to give. The majority of the time it was way below this rate. We then told them what we wanted and 9 times out of ten we got a much higher rate. We tried this at a couple of times and it worked.
Many of the Money Exchange Bureaus publish “0% commission” but the rules are very obscure and you can lose up to 28% for charged commissions that you were not aware of. Never hand over your money to conclude a transaction if you are not happy with the rate. Trying to reverse a transaction is impossible and chances are high that you have used an office that scam people.
Many restaurants and shops accept the Euro but be careful because they tend to set their own rate. Most of the times you will lose. We also had the experience where we wanted to pay with my Credit Card and was told that they charge 250 Crowns for the transaction. I explained that I had no cash on me and insisted to pay the price without the “penalty”. They processed the transaction without the “penalty”.
Currency Exchange and ATM´s in Prague.
The safest, cheapest way to exchange money is to get it out of an ATM at the established banks. Deutsche Bank, Zivnostenska Banaka, Komercni Banka, Ceska Sporitelna, CSOB, Raiffeisnbank. They are all over central Prague. Many travellers advise not to take out more than about two hundred dollars from any machine at a given time. The exchange rate you get on these is outstanding and the commissions nugatory.
After spending a couple of days in Prague the best advise that I can give is to carry a small amount of cash on you and to pay with your card where possible. Rates are favorable and it is a lot saver. Remember to wear a money belt.