Please sign in to post.

Currency

I know the Hungary is on the Hungarian Forint (HUF), but we're on a coach tour and wondered if they take Euros at a small kiosk? I assume restaurants etc. will take a credit card?

Thank you,
Jean

Posted by
4637 posts

Most places take Euro but exchange course is not good for you nevertheless it's good for them. Bigger stores and most restaurants take credit card.

Posted by
10899 posts

Will they take euro vs should you pay in euro?

I am not sure what a "small kiosk" is, but within the tourist zones your Euros will generally be accepted. The shops and restaurants on Vaci utca http://www.vaciutcanegyed.hu/en and Andrassy ut for instance often mark their goods in both Forints and Euros; sometimes just in euros. You could do the conversion and choose which is a better deal, my guess is Forints. Here is one of my favorite restaurants near the tourist zone. http://lugas-etterem.com/etlap/ The first item on the menu is 1340 forints, which at today's rates is about 4.26 euro; but the menu wants 5.2 if you pay in euros. My guess is they don't want to reprint their menu every time the rate changes so they cover themselves in the exchange. One of my favorite souvenir shops "Budapest and Music Souvenir Shop" (located in the Opera House, on Vaci utca, on the pedestrian road in front of the Basilica and in the airport) marks all their merchandise in Euros and actually has to covert to forints if that is how you are paying.

Apartment rentals are also generally done in Euros only.

Most tourist rarely enter an establishment in Budapest that does not take credit cards; but it can happen, so ask before your order lunch. I say this because most tourists don't take advantage of the opportunity to get out of the tourist zones. Very unfortunate.

If you are asked if you want your credit card billed in Dollars or Forints, always say FORINTS to get a better exchange rate.

THANKS Acraven and Chris F, for pointing out my screw up. Brain working about half speed today.

The ATM machines around town are the best bet. I draw out as large a sum as I think reasonable to reduce the impact of my bank's ATM fee. 100,000 forints is something less than $350. Use your credit card where it is taken or convenient, and use the cash everyplace else. Any cash left over can be put in the charity box at the airport or mailed to me.

THANKS to ACRAVEN for checking my typos!!

Posted by
308 posts

I think you will want some local currency. Getting currency at an ATM is super easy, and I'm sure your tour guide can point them out to you when you reach each destination.

I visited 5 different countries with 4 different currencies on my last trip to Europe and had no problems. Money is a big part of the culture of each country you are visiting. However, if you are stressed about it, you can always buy small amounts of currency at your local bank before leaving on your trip. The exchange rate won't be great, but it might be worth the peace of mind.

Posted by
8889 posts

If you are asked if you want your credit card billed in Dollars or Forints, always say dollars to get a better exchange rate.

Are you sure? Getting billed in Dollars sounds like the dreaded DCC (Dynamic Currency Conversion), which is a better deal for the shop/restaurant, but a bad deal for you. Whether it is a credit card or getting cash at an ATM, if they offer to charge you in anything other than the local currency, and anything more than the correct amount of the bill (or the amount you are getting out of the ATM), the answer should be "NO, I will not let you con me".

Posted by
10899 posts

Chris, I wrote that backward didn't I. Yes, you want the bill showing up at your US bank in FORINTS so that your home bank makes the exchange. Sorry and thanks for the catch. Acraven caught it too, but I was too dense today to see it.

My only suggestion on ATMs is to try and always use BANK ATM’s and not the independent machines. The Bank ATMs will charge your bank in the local currency and let your bank do the conversion. This will get you the best exchange rate. The independent machines do the conversion and send your bank the charge in Dollars; and in the process they take a little cut for themselves. The independents look like these: http://www.notemachine.com/notemachine-launch-euro-dispensing-atms/ and http://s3.egospodarka.pl/grafika/euronet/Euronet-uruchamia-przekaz-bankomatowy-hhNUFq.jpg

In hungary the most common machines will be OTP Bank http://c8.alamy.com/comp/DC8DD6/a-man-withdraws-money-from-a-cash-machine-of-hungarian-otp-bank-in-DC8DD6.jpg and MKB https://s3.postimg.org/51d6s0web/st1_copy_2.jpg. Recently the Erste Bank in Austria purchased Hungary’s Citibank operation so you may see their ATMs popping up around town.

Posted by
2089 posts

I always take some of the currency with me from home, and get more as needed from ATMs. I've yet to encounter a restaurant or shop in Budapest that didn't accept credit cards, but having cash is always a good back-up.

Posted by
63 posts

I agree with using only bank ATMs. I just got back from Budapest a week ago and used the XE currency converter app all the time while there on my iPhone. It works without wifi and cell data and updates rates when connected.

Posted by
63 posts

I agree with using only bank ATMs. I just got back from Budapest a week ago and used the XE currency converter app all the time while there on my iPhone. It works without wifi and cell data and updates rates when connected.

Posted by
10899 posts

I admire your discipline. Right now with the forint about 290 to the dollar I just divide the price in forints by 3 and drop 2 zeros. Close enough in my world.

3000 forints at 290 to the dollar is $10.35.
3000 the way I wing it is $10.00.

3000 forints will buy you a really good lunch with a beer.

Posted by
3978 posts

I returned from Budapest two days ago. Many of the cafes and smaller lunch venues didn't take credit cards, it was HUFs only. A cappuccino was c 350-550 HUFs.

A burger at most places was c 1,500 HUFs. We ate at a small Vietnamese restaurant for lunch and had a soup each, a beer each and one desert. The bill was 5,500 HUFs, cash only.

There are plenty of ATMs - don't use the thin blue machines as they charge for withdrawals, but there are many banks around. Certainly get your cash in local currency, not dollars. 5,000 was the minimum withdrawal and they give you cash in as few notes as possible. We took out 20,000 HUF and got a single note - c £50 which we broke by buying a pint of milk at a supermarket!

Posted by
10899 posts

Speaking of Burgers, my favorite is Zing Burger (3 locations around town, but the one closest to the tourists is at Kirlay utca 60). A bit expensive for Budapest, but a dang good burger and fries is 1400 forints ($4.85) and a drink will cost you another $1.00. So that's about the same cost of Big Mac Meal in the states (but a heck of a lot better). Black Cab Burger also gets good reviews but too fancy for me. Kadarka's Wine Bar makes a heck of a Gourmet burger too; http://kadarkawinebar.com/menu/ Also expensive for Budapest, but the food at this place is hard to beat.