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Kuna vs. Dollar vs Euro

I will have expenses in Croatia that I can pay in Euros or Kuna but not by U.S. credit card, so I have to either convert dollars to Euros before I arrive in Croatia and carry them around for two weeks, which doesn't appeal to me or get Kuna from ATMs in Croatia. However, the Croatian vendor told me the cost of getting Kuna at ATMs in Croatia is high. I'm not sure why this should be, as I have always used ATMs in other European counties albeit in Euros. If I pay in Kunas, I can accumulate them on the last few days of the trip, which would give me more peace of mind. Has anyone else dealt with this issue, and if so how did you resolve it? Thanks.

Posted by
4345 posts

However, the Croatian vendor told me the cost of getting Kuna at ATMs in Croatia is high.

I too would question this, it seems a very broad statement, and is highly dependent on your bank, not the ATM...he would have no knowledge of your bank.

Now certainly any fees added would be a concern, and DCC may be rampant, but both can be avoided.

I suspect that maybe he has heard people comment, or maybe he just is steering you to bring euros. For many years rentals and other businesses preferred euros over Kuna, was not sure that was still going on.

Posted by
2911 posts

I've not found it expensive to obtain Kuna at ATMs in Croatia. My card doesn't charge fees and exchange rates have been in line with market rates. My card is through Capital One, but only some of their cards are free of ATM fees.

With regards to the vendor, test to see if a fair exchange rate is being offered. The rate for the past 6 months has hovered right around 7.4 kuna = 1 euro. If the vendor is quoting a poor exchange rate, such as you can pay either 600 kuna or 100 euro, then their comments might just be self-serving.

Posted by
132 posts

I have experienced (May 2019) some Croatian bank ATMs charging in excess of 7% for cash withdrawals; some as high as 10%.

Exchange rate was fine, no fees from my bank (Capital One) no DCC, just high fees. Asked Officials at two different banks and they confirmed that the fees were charged by them, and they really seemed to believe this was quite normal.
ATMs always spelled this out in plain language before I was asked to confirm the transaction. Shop around if you have the time.

Posted by
4290 posts

I haven't been to Croatia since 2015. There were no such fees then. Could be extra ATM service charges from bank ATMs in Croatia is something new. But 10% sounds very expensive. I would probably just exchange USD or Euros locally (if you can still find a currency exchange in Croatia) in that case - and use my US credit card with no foreign transaction fees for everything possible, including tolls on the highways.

Posted by
37 posts

For "anubis57". Did you have the bank ATM convert the transaction to dollars on the machine when you got the money? I was told that option costs more than letting your bank at home do the conversion and wonder if that explains your experience. Thanks in advance.

Posted by
132 posts

No, hence the "No DCC" in my post.

Also, I never actually paid the 7-10%...I shopped around until I found one in the 3% range, but many people would not want to bother, since most things in Croatia seem to cost less anyway.

Happy travels!

Posted by
13275 posts

There are increasing numbers of ATMs charging fees. Especially on small withdrawals those fees (if they are flat fees rather than percentage-based) can amount to 10% or more. I haven't been to Croatia since 2015 so can offer no specific suggestions, but I have not yet encountered a country where 100% of the ATMs charge fees.

Googling may uncover some information posted by recent visitors on forums like TripAdvisor. Even a list of fee-charging banks would be helpful by telling you some places to avoid.

Posted by
2591 posts

I have not yet encountered a country where 100% of the ATMs charge fees.

You don't use ATMs in the US?

Unless you have an account with the bank or the ATM participates in one of the regional agreements to waive fees for your bank's cards, I have not found a single ATM in the US that does not charge a fee when you get money anymore. Europe is simply catching up with the US when it comes to fees for things.

Posted by
82 posts

If your coming from another Eurozone country, get your Euros from an ATM there. For Kuna, I found the ATMs ok, if you 1) don't use the ATM at the airport (big ripoff), and 2) don't choose the DCC option. This many be confusing so read the info carefully before you choose. If you need to get Kuna at the airport, change a small amount at the exchange; their rate was actually better than the ATM.

Posted by
513 posts

We visited May 2019 - if you use only BANK related ATM's the fees will be lower. We also found almost no one wanted Kuna's but preferred Euro's. Why can't you use your US credit cards? We used them everywhere we could.

Posted by
927 posts

Just got back from Croatia last week, this was my third visit. Didn't have any problems other than the Euronet ATM I had to use gave me a crappy exchange rate, but they do that everywhere. A bank ATM should be your first choice. Also I didn't encounter any places that wanted anything else than Kuna.

Posted by
37 posts

If you get kuna a nd your bank pays them on kuna, wouldn’t it be your bank at home that determines the exchange rate? That is, unless you elect to have the ATM do the conversion for you?

Posted by
2403 posts

The simplest way to deal with ATM machines anywhere is to have a card/bank that doesn't charge any fees and reimburses you for any fees charged by the other banks ATM machine. Charles Schwab Bank is one of these.

I never pay ATM fees, foreign transaction fees, etc. Sometimes it pays to invest in a good travel card.

Posted by
4169 posts

If you get kuna a nd your bank pays them on kuna, wouldn’t it be your bank at home that determines the exchange rate? That is, unless you elect to have the ATM do the conversion for you?

Edward, its not your bank that determines the rate in that case. Its the big network in the sky (Visa, MasterCard , or whoever) who is doing a wholesale exchange for tens of millions at one time, and at a better rate.

Posted by
37 posts

My debit and credit cards are also good in that regard. I'll see what happens when I get there.

Posted by
105 posts

Most major banks in Croatia - Erste Bank, PBZ, etc. - list three exchange rates on the wall display. "Devizni" means cash, "Efektivni" means bank draft/travellers check and the last one means wire transfer. You get the best rate for CASH. That pile of dollars is much appreciated in a country with a currency floating with the Euro. You may wish to exchange dollars for kuna as part of your process early on. I usually do that and use the ATMs to simply withdraw more kuna as I need them. Limits vary from bank to bank as may the fees, but the convenience is worth it. I don't understand why you need to pay in Euros, and do not find typical stores welcome Euros as payment - they have 'no Euro' stickers on many cash machines to reduce arguing with Italians - but you find money traders happy to offer you Kunas for Euros at good rates. Without knowing your expenses it is hard to generalize. I use the Erste Bank or PBZ ATMs.

Posted by
37 posts

I don’t need to pay in Euros. I can pay in kuna, but they will accept Euros.

Posted by
615 posts

All prices are in Kuna. In tourist places they will accept Euros but give you change in Kuna. Same in Bosnia. Most of the time they will round the change up and just give you coins/bills.

On our last trip (last month) our travels had us using 5 different currencies. We used in order ApplePay, credit cards and as a last resort would withdraw cash from an ATM and pay in cash. After visiting two or three countries having a pocket full of coins is radicicolous as tourist. Only place we found that would take a dollar was a restaurant that had foreign currency on the walls.
You know you can also use PayPal or Venmo.

I think you will find the best rate is if you use one of the phone pay methods. ApplePay, VisaPay, GPay etc.