Currency exchange in Budapest best places
Look around the the streets at some of the exchange places.
We got fairly good exchange of euros last summer.
We were very surprised at how reasonable it was.
Are you talking about exchanging € or US$ for Forints?
We found several exchanges last fall in the main part of Budapest . The rates were better than we expecting. They are able to exchange many currencies. . . Dollars, Euros, etc. we had just left Poland and had leftover Polish Zlotys which we converted to Forints. A great city, enjoy.
Your debit card works fine in Budapest--I've used a well known bank when doing withdrawals (e.g. BNP Paribas). I recommend getting the XE Currency exchange app for your smartphone to easily know daily exchange rates.
It is not “currency exchange”. This is buying local currency, and like buying anything else, it will cost you money.
Whereas if you withdraw money from your own checkin gaccount via your ATM card at any bank’s ATM machine, there will be no charge and the normal posted exchange rate, provided you are savvy enough to have your account at a bank that does not charge an6 fees to begin with (Schwartz, CapitalOne, various credit unions...)
BUT, if you use an ATM, two things to remember:
First, only use an ATM with the name of a bank on it. In Budapest the most common will be OTP Bank. If you want to know where the ATMs are located you can Google Map OTP ATM. There are others too, like ERSTE, K&H and MTB. The "EURO" and other private ATMs will give you lousy rates.
Second, sometimes the ATM will ask if you want your account charged in Dollars (USD) or Forints (HUF). Always choose Forints if you want a good exchange rate. I dont recall ever seeing this at the OTP ATMs, but i know the MTB ATMs try this trick.
One final tip. The ATMs are often in closed rooms with a card reader access. Any card will work to unlock the door.
Nancy - we had euros and did not want to withdraw money from the ATM and get hit with another fee. We kept checking the exchange rate on the internet compared to what the exchange shop would give us. The difference was very small and to our surprise they did not charge us an additional fee (if I remember correctly).
To add to what James suggested - use an ATM on the outside of the bank associated with it that way if anything happens to your card you can just walk into the bank and get help.
can you use Euros in Budapest, or is it fortins only?
Most of the tourist venues will take your euros, but not a great exchange rate. As you get away from the heart of the tourism (district V and the Buda castle district) You will have more trouble. Most every place you are likely to go will take your credit card, but always ask about cards and euros before eating.
When at restaurants, stores and such isn't it preferable to use a major credit card (Visa, M/C...not AMEX)? Or, is cash still king?
Either, or. No different than the US
One issue about the euros that might come up is that if the bills are too worn they might not be accepted. Exchange houses can be fussy, and the store or restaurant will have to change them.