czech Crowns vs Euros Prague

Hi,
For items such as Taxis and subway/metro system/buses and restaurants/sights in Prague, will we need Czech Crowns or will they take Euros? I reviewed past posts but would love current feedback on this. We fly in to Prague...sounds like ATM is best for getting Crowns. What about for exchanging Euros for Crowns..best way? Thanks much!,

Posted by Agnes
Alexandria, VA, USA
616 posts

You should always use the local currency, no matter where you go. Yes, use the ATM to get the koruna (crowns). Get a credit card such as Capital One that has 0% foreign exchange fee for purchases where you are allowed to pay with a credit card. I use my CapOne card for all foreign travel (but only for purchases, not to get cash out)

Posted by Douglas
Oak Park, Illinois
2371 posts

Local currency is needed. Sometimes border cities will have businesses that take either, but Prague is not a border city. Your first stop in Prague should be at an ATM to get cash; from then you are good to go. Anyone that agrees to take foreign currency will do so at a heavy cost to you - never do it. Currency exchanges charge huge fees/rates to exchange cash for you - avoid them. If you have left-over cash on the day you leave, use it to pay down your hotel bill. If you still find yourself with left-over cash you can't use, then it can be exchanged as a last resort. Sometimes when using a credit card, the merchant will ask if you want them to convert the charge into your own currency (US dollar). They make it sound so nice and convenient for you. DO NOT accept - always charge in local currency. Again the reason is that the merchant will get part of the higher exchange rate than the credit card will give you. PS - While some credit cards and bank ATM cards do not charge you foreign transaction fees (usually 3%), it is not really worth it to get one if you are planning a couple week trip.

Posted by Ilja
Seattle
1454 posts

ATM is indeed the best place to get czech crowns (in czech: koruna, pl. koruny). Some places may offer you to pay with Euro, it's loosing proposition (not for them). Right now you get 19.80 czk for 1 $ and 25.94 czk for 1 Euro. The best way to exchange Euro for koruna is in the banks. I usually exchange in Komercni Banka. It seems to me that they got one of the best rates.

Posted by kathy
freeburg, illinois, usa
51 posts

Thank you all for the updates. I will definitely use my ATM to get Crowns. Question - if for some reason I could/did not have Crowns at the airport, will Czech taxis take Euros or not at all?

Posted by Ilja
Seattle
1454 posts

There is ATM at the airport. You can also buy taxi voucher at the airport and pay with credit card. And if you pay directly to cabdriver? It's up to him but prepare yourself to pay more with Euro.

Posted by Don
Charlestown, RI, USA
24 posts

We just returned from there and only wanted to add that we found an airport ATM right before entering the area to purchase tickets for the CEDAZ shuttle bus into the city center. We got our money and walked around the corner into the area with the ticket booth. We purchased tickets for three and received a voucher to give to the driver of the van which was waiting just through the door. Could not have been easier.

Posted by Eric
Beaverton, Oregon, USA
82 posts

Isn't this question getting more complicated with the introduction/proliferation of machines that look and act like ATM's but have crappy exchange rates and fees? It seems that the right advice is to get local currency, but to do so from an ATM that is clearly affiliated with a bank. The first machines I encountered at the Prague Airport were not bank-affiliated. I had to hunt a little to find the area where the bank ATM's were located.

Posted by kathy
freeburg, illinois, usa
51 posts

Thanks- will ATM @ the airport.does anyone know if Prague banks are open on Saturdays? We will be there over the weekend. Otherwise ATM may be our source for exchange all the time.

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
8723 posts

The one thing you don't want to do is exchange Euro for Koruna. You will have already lost some in the buying of Euro, why compound the loss and then use those Euro to exchange for Koruna? That's two exchange losses for one transaction. Far better, as said by others, to just use the ATM. Do try to run out as you return to Euroland or you will have souvenirs.

Posted by kathy
freeburg, illinois, usa
51 posts

Was planning on exchanging $ for Euros @ a bank if needed. That is why I wonder if a bank will be open on Saturday or not. I am traveling with others who do not have an atm card ( and are "old school"-will not use one). We can all use mine, but just in case I wonder about bank access on the weekend. I would never exchange euros for crowns.

Posted by Norma
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
3403 posts

Apart from the difficulty of finding a bank open when you need to exchange money, not all banks handle foreign exchange, so bear that in mind. Your "old-school" companions may have to depend on you and your ATM access more than you expect.

Posted by Ilja
Seattle
1454 posts

Banks in Prague are generally open Monday through Friday 8:00 to 17:00. Don't exchange your $ for Euros in Prague. If you absolutely have to then exchange your dollars for crowns. You would have to do it in exchange currency offices or booths because banks are closed on Saturdays, Sundays and national holidays (which they have quite more than here in the US). Banks have usually better rates than exchange currency booths.

Posted by Paul
Sioux Falls, SD, USA
214 posts

"old-school" means "willing to pay extra to be out of touch". When we went to Europe, we got special cards from the bank specifically for the trip. We never had the slightest bit of difficulty. It was just like using a card at home. When we got home, we cut them up.

Posted by Harold
New York, NY, USA
2793 posts

I just want to reiterate and emphasize Paul's last post. Even if someone does not want or need an ATM card for home use, it is BY FAR the fastest, cheapest, and easiest way to get foreign currency while abroad. As someone said elsewhere, there isn't even a close runner-up. So, Kathy, do try to persuade your travel companions to get ATM cards, even if just for the trip; they can feel free to put them away with their passports when not traveling. If they do need to exchange US cash for Czech koruny, they will most likely do so at exchange booths. As posted above, not only are banks open shorter hours, but not all banks will do currency exchange. And you may like how long the process could take at a bank. If you need to exchange cash, ask at your hotel for the place nearby with the best rates and/or with the open hours you need; I've found that they usually do know. Kathy, unless you are sure you will never travel in the eurozone again, it's better to leave them at home and just use koruny in Prague. As stated above, you lose money every time you do an exchange, so you want to minimize them.