Travel Money Guide: The Czech Republic

Find out what you need to know about withdrawing and spending korunas in the Czech Republic.

The Czech Republic is a European Union member state. Like neighbouring Poland, the Czech Republic is not a member of the Eurozone. The Czech Crown (Koruna) is the national currency of the Czech Republic. Since the end of communism in 1989 and subsequent split with Slovakia in 1993, The Czech Republic has transformed into a modern European economy. With that it has become relatively more expensive than some neighbouring countries, which is a good reason to read this handy guide of all you need to know about travel money in the Czeck Republic.

Compare travel cards for the Czeck Republic

I want to send

to

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
GBP 250 - - Go to site Show details
GBP 1 GBP 0.00 27.542 CZK
13,771
With over 240 stores, Debenhams offers travel money, money transfer and money exchange services. OFFER: Get £5 off £20 spend voucher; load your leftover currency on to a Debenhams gift card, and get an extra 20% free. Go to site Show details

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I want to send

to

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
GBP 300 GBP 6.50 28.395 CZK
14,013
Cash via post – Griffin Financial is a specialist dealer in foreign currency and can offer some of the most competitive rates around. Go to site Show details
GBP 300 GBP 5.00 28.777 CZK
14,245
Cash via post – Travel FX Ltd is a specialist dealer in currency providing an alternative to banks and bureaux de change. Go to site Show details

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I want to send

to

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
GBP 100 GBP 0.00 27.484 CZK
13,742
Prepaid card – Travelex Group is a foreign exchange company based in London. It's the biggest foreign exchange bureau in the world. Go to site Show details

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How much Koruna do I need to bring to the Czech Republic?

Although the Czech Republic still enjoys a lingering reputation as a bargain basement destination, in reality prices have risen considerably in recent years. Travellers will still find it affordable in comparison to western European countries, though. One British pound is worth around 30 Koruna.

Budget Midrange Expensive
sleep

Budget hostel

£10 per night

2 star hotel

£50 per night

5 star hotel

£150 per night

food

Trdelnik/ Kürtőskalács/ Kurtosh (Rolled Pastries)

£1.50 – £2

Sausages

£1.50

Midrange restaurant

£5 – £15 per dish

Degustation menu

£75 a head

noun_412539_cc Walk Charles Bridge —
the most beautiful bridge
in the world — at dawn or dusk
Free
Private guided
walking tour of Prague
Appr. £12 per hour (prices can vary depending
on the size of your group)
Prague communism
and nuclear bunker tour
£25 a head

*Prices are approximate and based on summer seasonality and are subject to change.

Travel card, debit card or credit card?

Travellers to the Czech Republic will find debit, credit and travel cards can be used throughout the country, especially in major cities such as Prague, Brno and Ostrava for example. Visa, Mastercard and American Express branded products can be used at point of sale terminals for purchases and ATM machines (bancomats) for withdrawals. In Prague, cards are accepted at restaurants, hotels, supermarkets, retailers, train and metro stations.

Bars and small eateries are cash only. Outside the capital and cities, you’ll need cash more often. Most Czech banks don’t charge ATM usage fees (non-bank affiliated ATMs generally will) so a product which waives the currency conversion fee and international ATM withdrawal fee is most suited for a trip to the Czech Republic.

Travel money options for Czech Republic at a glance

Travel Money Option Pros Considerations
Debit cards for travel
  • Widely accepted in the Czech republic
  • Protected by PIN & chip
  • Cheap way to buy things over the counter and make withdrawals from ATMs overseas
  • Directly linked to your bank account, which means not having to worry about being charged ‘cash advance’ fees
  • Save on Overseas ATM fees
  • Card is linked to your transaction / savings account. If it’s stolen, thieves may have access to your entire travel funds.
  • Not a credit product. No emergency funds available though a cash advance facility.
Prepaid travel money cards
  • Allow you to load money in multiple currencies
  • Secured by PIN & chip technology
  • Emergency card replacement and backup cards
  • Easily reloadable via a secure online platform
  • No travel cards allow you to load and spend in Czech Koruna
  • Reload fees could be high
  • Only two budget conscious options available — a no currency conversion fee travel card or a no international ATM withdrawal fee card
Credit cards for travel
  • Protected by PIN & chip
  • Accepted worldwide
  • Great for larger expenses such as booking hotel rooms as many won’t charge fees for currency conversion.
  • Interest-free days when you pay your account in full
  • Emergency card replacement
  • Withdrawing cash can be considered a “cash advance” and can charge you fees and high interests
  • Higher spending limit (depends on your approved credit limit)
  • Attracts an annual fee
Traveller’s cheques
  • Availability to cash at banks and exchange offices in Prague and the Czech Republic
  • Secure and can be easily replaced if lost or stolen
  • Expect to be charged a commission when cashing your cheques
  • Exchange offices (up to 10%) charge a higher commission than banks (2%).
Cash
  • Payment flexibility
  • Convenience
  • More difficult to manage expenses
  • Higher risk of theft

This table is a general summary of the travel money products in the market. Features and benefits can vary between cards.

How different travel money products work in the Czech Republic

Using a debit card

A travel friendly debit card provides a cheap way to buy things over the counter and make withdrawals from ATMs overseas. These cards can be used throughout the Czech Republic where Visa and Mastercard are accepted (which is everywhere you can use your card), and you can make contactless payments too. According to a report published in the New Europe Investor, the Czech Republic is the number one country in the European Union for contactless card payments (there are a similar number of contactless cards compared to Germany despite the fact Germany has almost 10 times as many people as the Czech Republic).

The things you need to look for in a travel friendly debit card are no currency conversion fee and no international ATM withdrawal fee. Bank ATMS in the Czech Republic do not charge a local ATM operator fee.

  • Tip: When you use your credit card or debit card to make a purchase or withdrawal in the Czech Republic, the Visa, Mastercard or American Express exchange rate is used for the transaction. This is the best rate consumers can access using a travel money product.

Using a credit card

A travel friendly credit card gives you a cost effective way to make purchases outside the UK. Look for a card which waives the fee for currency conversion when you transact in Czech koruna. These accounts also offer handy features for travellers such as providing complimentary travel insurance when you charge the cost of your return travel ticket to your card and you’re protected by the card scheme (Visa/Mastercard/American Express) anti-fraud guarantees (debit cards and travel cards are also covered), which should allay any fears about card fraud in the Czech Republic.

  • Tip: Credit cards offer up to a number of interest free days (usually up to 55). You can make interest free purchases if you pay your account in full by the statement due date.
  • Tip: Avoid using your credit card to withdraw cash if possible. This will be considered a cash advance and will cost you a fee and will be charged with high interest immediately. Instead, leave your debit or prepaid travel card for withdrawals.

Using a travel prepaid card

The main benefit of these products is you can load the currency of the destination you’re travelling to. Unfortunately, no British travel cards allow you to load and spend in Czech koruna. There are only two budget conscious options if you want to take a prepaid travel card to the Czech Republic: a no currency conversion fee travel card or a no international ATM withdrawal fee card. There are cards which waive one fee, but not the other. But, if you’re travelling to other countries in Europe, these products shouldn’t be overlooked, especially if the Czech Republic is only a short stop on an extended European holiday.

  • Tip: Prepaid travel cards offer other benefits to travellers such as a separating your travel funds from your savings or line of credit and you get two cards when you open an account in case the first card is lost or stolen.

Using a traveller’s cheques

Traveller’s cheques can be cashed at banks and exchange offices in Prague and the Czech Republic. Although these products are not a popular way to carry funds to another country any more, traveller’s cheques are still in use. When you cash your cheques, you’ll pay a commission. Exchange offices (up to 10%) charge a higher commission than banks (2%).

  • Tip: You can cash American Express traveller’s cheques for no commission at the American Express exchange office in Wenceslas Square, Prague.

Taking cash with you to Czech Republic

While cards are widely accepted in Prague, Plzen, Kutna Hora and Olomouc, for example, there are more than a handful of times when you’ll need cash — markets, hole in the wall bars, small transactions at some stores and rural areas are all cash only.

  • Tip: Tipping is expected in Prague and the Czech Republic and should be given unless the service you got was extremely bad. Add 10% – 15% for good service. Leaving money on the table as a tip is rude.
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Greg’s trip through Central and Eastern Europe

greg
Greg visited the Czech Republic for the first time when he was in mainland Europe last. He started his trip in Prague and visited Kutna Hora, Plzen (the home of Pilsner!) and Cesky Krumlov.

Where could you use your cards?
Greg says card acceptance in Prague was pretty good, there were a couple of times where he couldn’t use his card when he was having a beer at old town, but he could pay with his card when he went out to eat at restaurants and when he bought food from supermarkets and convenience stores. He says that he could use his card in less places in Cesky Krumlov and Kunta Hora than in Prague. He booked the Pilsner Urquell Brewery Tour online using his debit card and paid cash for beers when he was there.

Did you make ATM withdrawals?
Greg says he made a couple of ATM withdrawals in the Czech Republic. He says he could take out the koruna equivalent of £200 (6,000CZK) each time, this limit varied from machine to machine, but 6000 was all he needed each transaction. Greg says he didn’t pay anything to withdraw from ATMs attached to banks in the Czech Republic.

Do you have any travel money tips?

  • Use cash. Greg says he used cash for the majority of transactions throughout the Czech Republic. Using cash meant he never gave a thought about how to pay when he sat down for a beer or a meal and it helped him feel a little bit more like a local.
  • Use the metro. Surprisingly, Greg says using the metro was a highlight of his trip. Like nothing in London, the metro in Prague is ridiculously efficient, cheap, easy to use and operates 24 hours a day. It saved him a taxi fare from the airport.
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What is the official currency of the Czech Republic, the Euro or Czech koruna?

A full member of the European Union since 2004, The Czech Republic has yet to introduce the Euro as the official currency. Although the Czech economy is relatively stable and it is considered ready to integrate into the Eurozone, popular opinion remains against the move.

As is the case in so many neighbouring countries, the Euro does act as a kind of unofficial currency in the Czech Republic, often readily accepted, sometimes even more than cards. Unless you are sure of the exchange rate between the Euros and the Koruna, it’s advised to change Euros into Koruna and pay with that instead; often the exchange rate you will get will be less than accurate.

Getting familiar with banknotes

czech-republic-banknotes

Buying Czech koruna in the UK

You can purchase koruna in the UK a before you depart. Your bank will be able to sell you cash, you can also buy koruna from the Post Office and other foreign exchange providers in shopping centres and airports.

  • Tip: There’s no limit to the amount of cash you can bring into the Czech Republic. If you’re travelling from outside the EU and are carrying more than the foreign currency equivalent of €10,000, you must declare your cash at customs when you arrive.

Exchanging cash

It is easy to get cash exchanged in Prague and all over the Czech Republic, even smaller towns. Look for the word ‘valuty’, literally ‘change’. If you have foreign currency to change to Czech Koruna, you are looking for the ‘buy’ rate. Look for the ‘sell’ rate if you need to change your Koruna back to foreign currency. If there is a large difference between the ‘buy’ rate and the ‘sell’ rate, take your business elsewhere.

Some exchange places will charge a flat fee for the service, and others will charge a commission. A commission is more suitable if you are changing a small amount of money and fixed rate is better for larger amounts. Stay away from the exchange places in the Old Town, Wenceslas Square and other tourist centres as they often have poorer exchange rates and higher commission designed just for tourists. Banks generally charge two percent.

  • Tip: The best rates are usually around the main Railway station and some exchange offices are most reliable than others. Never change money on the street, avoid exchanging cash at the airport and using automatic exchange machines.

Find cash and ATM’s in Czech Republic

Why you’ll need a combination of travel money options

It’s important to have more than one way to access your money when you’re in the Czech Republic, or anywhere for that matter. While emergency cash assistance from companies such as Visa and Mastercard can give you the money in your account if your card is lost or stolen, this request can take a up to a couple of days to process. A travel card may not be the best product to use in the Czech Republic; however, prepaid travel cards are worth considering if you’re on a extended trip in the European Union. Travel friendly debit cards combine some of the benefits of a travel card minus the fees. You might want to take a credit card so you can access an emergency line of credit, and there will be times when you’ll need to put down a credit card as a security deposit.

Prague and the Czech republic remains a firm favourite with travellers visiting Europe, and with good reason. Its beautiful, rich in culture and history and still reasonably priced. Get your finances in order before you go so you can make the most out your holiday. The best travel money for the Czech Republic will allow you to spend and withdraw Czech koruna for around the same price as transacting in the UK.

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