Using a credit card in Hungary

Avoid these common credit and debit card fees when travelling in Hungary.

Updated

Visa, Mastercard and American Express cards are widely accepted in Hungary and it’s easy to pay for food, accommodations, tourist attractions and much more with plastic. However, some smaller establishments will only accept cash, as well as small towns and villages that are located away from common tourists spots. While you can rely on your card for many purchases, it’s sensible to travel with at least some cash on you at all times.

Compare credit cards for use in Hungary

If you’re looking to apply for a new credit card before you head to Hungary, look into a credit card that charges no foreign transaction fees. Although the fees are relatively low – usually 2.5% – they can add up quickly if you use your credit card often.
Name Product Purchase Interest Rate Cash Advance Rate Annual Fee Minimum Income Benefits with this card Description
HSBC World Elite® Mastercard®
19.9%
22.9%
$0 annual fee for the first year ($149 thereafter)
$80,000
Earn 3% in travel rewards on all eligible travel purchases (6 Points per $1 spent) and earn 1.5% in travel rewards on all other eligible purchases (3 Points per $1 spent).
Earn up to 60,000 Points ($300 travel value). Plus, get a full annual fee rebate for the Primary Cardholder for the first year. Apply by June 29, 2020. This offer is only available to residents of Canada other than the province of Quebec. Conditions apply.
BMO U.S. Dollar Mastercard
19.99%
22.99%
$35 USD
$15,000
Receive an annual fee rebate with a minimum yearly spend of US$1,000. Plus, spend in US Dollars with no exchange rate surprises.
When your purchases total US$1,000 or more in a year, the next year's annual fee (US$35) is rebated to your card.
Scotiabank Gold American Express Card
19.99%
22.99%
$120
$12,000
Earn 5 Scotia Rewards points per $1 spent on eligible grocery, dining and entertainment purchases, 3 points per $1 spent on eligible gas, transportation and select streaming services, and 1 point per $1 spent on eligible purchases elsewhere.
Earn 20,000 bonus Scotia Rewards points when you spend at least $1,000 on eligible purchases in the first 3 months. Apply by July 1, 2020.
Scotiabank Passport  Visa Infinite Card
19.99%
22.99%
$139
$60,000
Earn 2 Scotia Rewards points for every $1 spent on eligible grocery store, dining, entertainment and daily transit purchases, and earn 1 Scotia Rewards point for every $1 spent elsewhere.
Earn up to a total bonus of 40,000 Scotia Rewards points (up to a $400 travel value) in your first year. Earn 30,000 Bonus Scotia Rewards points when you spend at least $1,000 on eligible purchases within the first three months. Apply by July 1, 2020. Plus, earn 10,000 Bonus Scotia Rewards points each year when you spend at least $40,000 annually on eligible purchases (and earn 2,000 Bonus Scotia Rewards points for every additional $10,000 in purchases thereafter).
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Canadian Visa and Mastercard credit cards are widely accepted overseas. Check with your bank before travelling to Hungary to confirm whether or not you’ll be able to use your credit card during your trip.
Name Product Purchase Interest Rate Cash Advance Rate Annual Fee Minimum Income Benefits with this card Description
HSBC +Rewards™ Mastercard®
11.9%
11.9%
$0 annual fee for the first year ($25 thereafter)
N/A
Earn 2 Points for every $1 spent on eligible dining or entertainment purchases.
Earn 10,000 Points ($50 travel value). Plus, get a full annual fee rebate for the Primary Cardholder for the first year. Apply by June 29, 2020. This offer is only available to residents of Canada other than the province of Quebec. Conditions apply.
BMO World Elite Mastercard
19.99%
22.99%
$0 annual fee for the first year ($150 thereafter)
$80,000
Get 3 BMO Rewards points per $1 spent on eligible travel, dining and entertainment purchases (up to $50,000 spend annually), and get 2 BMO Rewards points per $1 spent on all other eligible purchases (and once you reach the $50,000 annual spend).
Earn a bonus of up to 35,000 BMO Rewards points with a minimum spend of $3,000 on eligible purchases in the first three months of card membership ($250 travel value to be used towards a flight booked through bmorewards.com). Plus, get the $150 annual fee waived in the first year.
HSBC World Elite® Mastercard®
19.9%
22.9%
$0 annual fee for the first year ($149 thereafter)
$80,000
Earn 3% in travel rewards on all eligible travel purchases (6 Points per $1 spent) and earn 1.5% in travel rewards on all other eligible purchases (3 Points per $1 spent).
Earn up to 60,000 Points ($300 travel value). Plus, get a full annual fee rebate for the Primary Cardholder for the first year. Apply by June 29, 2020. This offer is only available to residents of Canada other than the province of Quebec. Conditions apply.
BMO Preferred Rate Mastercard
12.99%
12.99%
$20
$15,000
Take advantage of an introductory balance transfer offer, annual fee waiver in the first year, and low purchase and cash advance interest rates.
Get a rate of 3.99% on balance transfers for 9 months with a 1% transfer fee. Plus, get the $20 annual fee waived in the first year.
Shell AIR MILES Mastercard from BMO
19.99%
22.99%
$0
$15,000
Get 2 AIR MILES for every $20 spent at participating AIR MILES Partners, and get 1 AIR MILE for every $20 spent on eligible purchases elsewhere.
Get 800 AIR MILES Bonus Miles.
Shell AIR MILES World Mastercard from BMO
19.99%
22.99%
$99
$60,000
Earn 1.25 AIR MILES reward miles at Shell stations in Canada and 1 mile per $15 spent for all other purchases.
Earn 1.25x Miles on card purchases at participating Shell stations in Canada and 1 mile per $15 spent for all other purchases.
BMO CashBack World Elite Mastercard
19.99%
22.99%
$0 annual fee for the first year ($120 thereafter)
$80,000
Earn 1.5% cash back on all eligible purchases.
Get up to 5% cash back on all eligible purchases made within the first 3 months (up to a maximum spend of $4,000). Plus, get the first year annual fee of $120 waived.
Shell CashBack Mastercard from BMO
19.99%
22.99%
$0
$15,000
Get 1.5% cash back at participating Shell locations in Canada (up to a maximum spend of $2,500 in any monthly billing period), and get 0.5% cash back everywhere else.
Get $50 in cash back bonuses once you charge your first eligible purchase to your card. Plus, earn 1% cash back for the first 6 months on all eligible purchases.
BMO Rewards Mastercard
19.99%
22.99%
$0
$15,000
Get 1 BMO Reward point for every $1 spent on eligible purchases, and get 2 BMO Rewards points for every $1 spent at participating National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car locations.
Earn a bonus of up to 20,000 BMO Rewards points. Plus, get a rate of 1.99% on balance transfers for 9 months. A 1% fee applies to transferred balances.
BMO IGA AIR MILES Mastercard
19.99%
22.99%
$0
$15,000
Get 2 AIR MILES for every $20 spent on eligible purchases at IGA stores and at participating AIR MILES partners, and get 1 AIR MILE for every $20 spent elsewhere.
Get 800 AIR MILES Bonus Miles.
BMO U.S. Dollar Mastercard
19.99%
22.99%
$35 USD
$15,000
Receive an annual fee rebate with a minimum yearly spend of US$1,000. Plus, spend in US Dollars with no exchange rate surprises.
When your purchases total US$1,000 or more in a year, the next year's annual fee (US$35) is rebated to your card.
BMO AIR MILES World Elite Mastercard
19.99%
22.99%
$0 annual fee for the first year ($120 thereafter)
$80,000
Get 1 AIR MILE for every $10 spent on eligible purchases.
Earn a bonus of up to 2,000 AIR MILES. Terms apply. Plus, get the annual fee of $120 waived in the first year.
BMO AIR MILES Mastercard
19.99%
22.99%
$0
$15,000
Get 2 AIR MILES for every $20 spent at eligible AIR MILES partners, and get 1 AIR MILE for every $20 spent elsewhere.
Earn 800 AIR MILES Bonus Miles. Plus, get a rate of 1.99% on balance transfers for 9 months. A 1% fee applies to transferred balances.
BMO CashBack Mastercard
19.99%
22.99%
$0
$15,000
Earn 3% cash back on groceries, 1% on recurring bill payments and 0.5% on all other eligible purchases.
Get up to 5% cash back on all eligible purchases in the first three months of card membership (up to a maximum spend of $2,000, and earn 3% cash back on groceries, 1% on recurring bill payments and 0.5% on all other eligible purchases thereafter). Plus, get a rate of 1.99% on balance transfers with a 1% balance transfer fee for nine months.
BMO AIR MILES Mastercard For Students
19.99%
22.99%
$0
$15,000
Earn 2 AIR MILES for every $20 spent at eligible AIR MILES partners, and earn 1 AIR MILE for every $20 spent elsewhere.
Earn 800 AIR MILES Bonus Miles. Plus, get a 1.99% introductory interest rate on balance transfers for 9 months. A 1% fee applies to balance amounts transferred.
BMO CashBack Mastercard For Students
19.99%
22.99%
$0
$15,000
Earn 3% cash back on groceries, 1% on recurring bill payments and 0.5% on all other eligible purchases.
Get up to 5% cash back in the first three months (up to a maximum spend of $2,000, and earn 3% cash back on groceries, 1% on recurring bill payments and 0.5% on all other eligible purchases thereafter). Plus, get a rate of 1.99% on balance transfers for 9 months, with a 1% fee for every transferred balance.
Shell CashBack World Mastercard from BMO
19.99%
22.99%
$79
$60,000
Get 3% cash back per $1 spent at Shells stations, 1.25% cash back on all other spend.
Earn 3% cash back at Shell stations in Canada, plus 1.25% cash back on all other spend.
Refresh Financial Secured Visa Card
17.99%
N/A
$12.95
N/A
Take advantage of a low annual fee, with no credit check and guaranteed approval once you secure your credit card with some funds.
Take advantage of a low annual fee, with guaranteed approval and no credit check.
BMO Sobeys AIR MILES Mastercard
19.99%
22.99%
$0
$15,000
Get 2 AIR MILES for every $20 spent at Sobeys, Foodland and eligible AIR MILES partners, and get 1 AIR MILE for every $20 spent elsewhere.
Get 800 AIR MILES Bonus Miles.
No-Fee Scotiabank Value Visa Card
16.99%
16.99%
$0
$12,000
Save with a low interest rate, no annual fee and a balance transfer offer.
Get a 3.99% introductory interest rate on balance transfers with a 0% balance transfer fee for the first 6 months. Apply by July 1, 2020.
Scotia Momentum No-Fee Visa Card
7.99% intro APR for the first 6 months, 19.99% thereafter
22.99%
$0
$12,000
Get 1% cash back on all eligible gas station, grocery store and drug store purchases and recurring bill payments, and get 0.5% cash back on all other eligible purchases.
Get a 7.99% introductory interest rate on all eligible purchases for the first 6 months. Apply by July 1, 2020.
Scotia Momentum Mastercard
7.99% intro APR for the first 6 months, 19.99% thereafter
22.99%
$0
$12,000
Get 1% cash back on all eligible gas station, grocery store and drug store purchases and recurring bill payments, and get 0.5% cash back on all other eligible purchases.
Get a 7.99% introductory interest rate on all eligible purchases for the first 6 months. Apply by July 1, 2020.
Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite Card
20.99%
22.99%
$120
$60,000
Earn 4% cash back for every $1 spent on eligible grocery purchases & recurring bill payments, 2% per $1 spent on eligible gas purchases & public transit, and 1% per $1 spent on all other eligible purchases.
Earn 10% cash back on all eligible purchases for the first 3 months (up to $2,000 in total purchases). Plus, pay no annual fee in the first year, including on supplementary cards. Apply by July 01, 2020.
Scotiabank SCENE Visa Card
19.99%
22.99%
$0
$12,000
Earn 5 SCENE points per $1 spent at participating Cineplex theatres or cineplex.com, and earn 1 SCENE point per $1 spent on eligible purchases elsewhere.
Earn 2,500 bonus SCENE points when you spend a minimum of $500 on eligible purchases in the first three months. Apply by July 1, 2020.
Scotiabank Value Visa Card
12.99%
12.99%
$29
$12,000
Save on interest for 6 months by consolidating your higher-rate balances with the balance transfer offer, and get an on-going 12.99% interest rate on purchases, cash advances and balance transfers.
Get a 0.99% introductory interest rate on balance transfers with a 0% transfer fee for the first 6 months. Apply by July 1, 2020.
Scotiabank GM Visa Card
19.99%
22.99%
$0
$12,000
Earn 5% in GM Earnings on all eligible purchases on the first $5,000 annual spend, and 2% in GM Earnings on all eligible purchases thereafter.
Earn 5% in GM Earnings on all eligible purchases on the first $5,000 annual spend, and 2% in GM Earnings on all eligible purchases thereafter. For every $1 in GM Earnings, you’ll get $1 off the purchase price or lease of a new GM, Chevrolet, Buick, GMC or Cadillac.
Scotiabank GM Visa Infinite Card
19.99%
22.99%
$0 annual fee for the first year ($79 thereafter)
$60,000
Earn 5% in GM Earnings on the first $10,000 annual spend, and earn 2% in GM Earnings thereafter.
Get the annual fee waived in the first year on the primary card as well as any supplementary cards. Apply by July 1, 2020.
Scotiabank Passport  Visa Infinite Card
19.99%
22.99%
$139
$60,000
Earn 2 Scotia Rewards points for every $1 spent on eligible grocery store, dining, entertainment and daily transit purchases, and earn 1 Scotia Rewards point for every $1 spent elsewhere.
Earn up to a total bonus of 40,000 Scotia Rewards points (up to a $400 travel value) in your first year. Earn 30,000 Bonus Scotia Rewards points when you spend at least $1,000 on eligible purchases within the first three months. Apply by July 1, 2020. Plus, earn 10,000 Bonus Scotia Rewards points each year when you spend at least $40,000 annually on eligible purchases (and earn 2,000 Bonus Scotia Rewards points for every additional $10,000 in purchases thereafter).
ScotiaGold Passport Visa Card
19.99%
22.99%
$110
$12,000
Earn 1 Scotia Reward point for every $1 spent on eligible purchases. Plus, book your travel through the Scotia Rewards Travel Service and earn 5% cash back on the cost of your trip.
Receive 5,000 bonus Scotia Rewards points when you make your first eligible purchase. Eligible purchase must be posted to your account within 2 months of account opening. Apply by July 1, 2020.
Scotia Momentum Visa Card
19.99%
22.99%
$39
$12,000
Earn 2% cash back on all eligible gas station, grocery store and drug store purchases and on recurring bill payments (up to a $25,000 annual spend), and earn 1% cash back on all other eligible purchases (and on all eligible purchases once the $25,000 annual spend is reached).
Get a 2.99% introductory rate on balance transfers and a 0% balance transfer fee for the first 6 months. Apply by July 1, 2020.
Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card
19.95%
19.95%
$0
$12,000
Earn 2% cash back in two categories of your choice (or three categories if you open a Tangerine Savings Account and directly deposit your cash back into the account), and 0.5% cash back on everything else.
Get a 1.95% interest rate on balance transfers for the first six months (valid within the first 30 days of account opening).
Tangerine World Mastercard
19.95%
19.95%
$0
$60,000
Earn 2% cash back in two categories of your choice (or three categories if you open a Tangerine Savings Account and directly deposit your cash back into the account), and 0.5% cash back on everything else.
Get a 1.95% interest rate on balance transfers for the first six months (valid within the first 30 days of account opening).
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Which credit card issuers are accepted in Hungary?

Visa and Mastercard are both widely accepted in Hungary, while American Express can be used at many ATM’s – but not all merchants will accept Amex cards. OTP Bank and Euronet ATMs, among others, accept American Express cards.

Merchant acceptance
ATM acceptance
Visa
check mark iconHigh
check mark iconHigh
Mastercard
check mark iconHigh
check mark iconHigh
American Express
exclamation point iconMedium
check mark iconHigh

Potential credit card fees in Hungary

  • Foreign transaction fees. Most credit cards issued by Canadian banks charge foreign transaction fees. These fees usually cost 2.5% of the total transaction amount, and you’ll need to pay this fee every time you use your credit card outside of Canada. Fortunately, there are a couple of credit cards that charge no foreign transaction fees.
  • Currency conversion fees. When paying with your credit card, a merchant may ask if you’d like to pay in Canadian dollars or Hungarian forint. Always choose the local currency. Paying in Canadian dollars with your card will subject you to a dynamic currency conversion (DCC) that can lead to unfavourable exchange rates and currency conversion fees. To avoid this, always pay in the local currency and let your bank do the currency conversion.
  • Cash advance fees. If you use your credit card to withdraw money from an ATM, you’ll face a cash advance fee as well as the cash advance interest rate. Unlike a purchase interest rate, the cash advance rate is usually charged from the day you withdraw the funds – there is typically no interest-free period. To avoid this interest rate, use your debit card to withdraw funds from an ATM.
  • ATM fees. Even using your debit card to withdraw funds from an ATM will likely have you facing an ATM fee. To avoid this fee, apply for a debit card issued by a bank that belongs to an international ATM alliance, such as Scotiabank.

ATMs in Hungary

ATMs are easy to find, especially in larger cities like Budapest. You’ll also come by ATMs in most towns and villages, however cash tends to be dominant in smaller places. Most ATMs accept international credit, debit and prepaid cards, but you’ll need a four-digit PIN to make a cash withdrawal.

When making a withdrawal, use an ATM branded with a Hungarian bank in order to save money. Independent machines tend to charge extra fees. Euronet ATMs are particularly renowned for poor exchange rates.

Should I use my credit card to get cash?

No, you should avoid doing this unless it’s an emergency. As mentioned above, you’ll end up paying a cash advance fee as well as the cash advance interest rate, which will start adding up from the day of the transaction – there’s usually no grace period with this type of transaction. If you need to withdraw cash from an ATM, it’s best to use your debit card.

Do taxis in Hungary accept credit cards?

Most taxis in Hungary have POS terminals that accept Visa, Mastercard and sometimes even American Express credit cards. When you pay, make sure it’s in local currency to avoid dynamic currency conversion (DCC) fees.

Is it safe to use my credit card in Hungary?

Yes it’s safe, although you should exercise the same level of caution as you would in Canada.

  • Keep your PIN secure. Don’t write down your PIN anywhere. When entering your PIN, use your other hand to shield the screen from curious onlookers and hidden cameras.
  • Choose ATMs carefully. Try and use ATMs located in public places and banks, preferably withdrawing cash during the daytime. Avoid ATMs in isolated areas.
  • Keep your card physically safe. The crime rate in Hungary is low, however big cities like Budapest can put you at a higher risk of becoming the victim of pickpocketing or fraud. Use common sense to help ensure your card’s safety and carry at least two credit cards on you in case your primary card gets lost or stolen.

How to prepare before travelling to Hungary

  1. Carry suitable cards. Visa and Mastercard are the most widely accepted credit card brands worldwide, with American Express fairly widely accepted in larger cities in Hungary.
  2. Avoid foreign transaction fees. If you don’t have a card with no foreign transaction fees, think about getting one before you go. Foreign transaction fees usually cost 2.5% – and they can add up quickly if you use your card often.
  3. Notify your bank of your trip. In an effort to minimize fraudulent transactions, banks temporarily block cards if they detect suspicious activity. If you don’t let your bank know that you plan to travel to Hungary, you might end up with a blocked card.
  4. Keep emergency numbers handy. If your credit card is lost or stolen, you’ll need to call to get a replacement card sent to Hungary. Make sure you write down your bank or credit card providers phone number and have it easily accessible at all times.
  5. Know how you’ll get cash. An affordable way to access cash is to use your debit card at an ATM. Exchanging Canadian dollars for forint is also possible at banks and currency exchange kiosks. Avoid currency exchanges at hotels and airports due to high transaction fees and poor exchange rates.

Next steps

Ask yourself these questions in order to avoid common credit card related problems when travelling in Hungary:

  • Which cards will I use? Visa and Mastercard are the most widely accepted brand of credit cards in Hungary, but you’ll find a few businesses that accept American Express. Consider taking at least two credit cards with you on your travels in case something happens to your primary card.
  • Does my bank know? If your bank is not aware of your upcoming trip, you may have to deal with a temporarily suspended card. Always notify your bank or credit card provider of your overseas travels – no matter where you’re going.
  • What fees will I face? Find out if your credit card charges foreign transaction fees. If it does, consider applying for a card that charges no foreign transaction fees. Remember, you can easily avoid currency conversion fees by paying in the local currency instead of Canadian dollars.
  • How will I get cash? Your options include using your Canadian debit card at a local ATM, exchanging Canadian dollars for Hungarian forint or carrying travellers’ cheques. Avoid using a credit card to withdraw money from an ATM unless its an emergency.

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