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Forex card and euros in Budapest

Hi , I will be in Budapest over 4 days next weekend. I shall be carrying crdit cards, forex cards (in euros) and euros in cash. Can I use the forex cards in the same manner as credit cards (i.e florints convertable to euro during card swiping).
Please advise. Thanks.

Posted by
8889 posts

Not sure you can use Forex cards as credit cards for making purchases, they are mainly designed to get cash out of an ATM.
Forex cards usually have charges, which makes them more expensive than using your normal bank debit card to get cash out of an ATM, or using a credit card to pay.

"the same manner as credit cards (i.e florints convertable to euro during card swiping)." - That's not how credit cards work. Provided you decline DCC, the conversion is done by the credit card company (Visa, Mastercard etc.), not at the machine. This means the conversion occurs some time (hours, days) after you make the transaction.

Posted by
10834 posts

I cant comment on the Forex card. Have no idea what it is. But I can tell you that standard old ATM cards work just fine. If given the opportunity with an ATM card, if you ask to be charged in Forints it will come out cheaper for you. A few trips back I used an ATM card to pull out 100,000 forints and the choice was to be charged something in the neighborhood of $360 or let the bank do the conversion. Fortunately i remembered the number and when i got my bank statement i found out I saved about $15 by letting the bank be charged in forints.

You are carrying Euro cash too? Look at the tourist menus and souvenir shop prices. They are often in Euro and Forints. Do the math yourself and you will see that paying in Forints will save you about 10%. But i dont see it as a scam. I see it as a convenience charge.

Posted by
2388 posts

@James E Thanks for the perspective of "convenience charge". I will be utilizing that paradigm in the future. It's amazing how a simple change in wording can alter our attitudes about these types of things!

Posted by
10834 posts

Well, they have to change the money, and since they dont want to have to reprice things every time the rate changes a little they pad it quite a bit. That being said, I generally like to use the local currency.

Posted by
63 posts

Thanks for the replies. am carrying euros because am visiting Austria too. Hence was wondering if easy euro exchange is available.

Posted by
3315 posts

Easy Euro exchanges possible at the exchange booths in airports. It will not be low cost.

I don't know about the Forex card you have. The documents that came with it should tell you where you can and can't use it. If it works like most of those cards, you paid fees to put the Euros on it and more fees to convert your home currency to Euros. They will charge you another fee to convert the Euros on the card to Florints (maybe even converting to your home currency again before changing to Forints, basically 3 total exchange fees, and the rate they use is their inflated one, not the major network rate which costs you again) when you pay with it or get cash from an ATM.

Do you have a standard ATM/Debit card you could use to get Florints directly? The fees will most likely be less than the Forex card will charge. Spend your Euros when you are in a country that uses them.

Posted by
11154 posts

My advice is the same as your similar question about Prague.

While you can sometimes use euros in Budapest, you can't count on it, and you may or may not get a good exchange rate.

If by "forex card" you mean a card pre-loaded with euros, do watch out for all those fees mentioned by Mark. I don't know what country you're from, but the cards like this available in the US are a terrible deal (apparently, some countries have pre-loaded cards with better deals).

Use credit cards for purchases when you can (make sure you are charged in forints, not any other currency). If you have an ATM card, use that to get cash forints from ATM's. If you don't, you can exchange your cash euros for cash forints; you will not get as good a rate as you will with the first two methods, but it will probably still be better than the rate you will get using a card pre-loaded with euros in Hungary.