Going to Budapest? A guide to using a credit card in Hungary | May 2019
City Park of Budapest, Hungary

Using a credit card in Hungary

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Save money on foreign transaction fees with a travel credit card.

Credit cards are widely accepted throughout Hungary, especially at hotels, large restaurants and popular tourist destinations. Some smaller establishments only accept cash.

Our pick for use abroad

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

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Compare cards to use in Hungary

All credit cards we list come with no foreign transaction fees worldwide. Consider a cobranded airline credit card to further save money on flights.

Name Product Foreign Transaction Fee Annual Fee Purchase APR
None
$0
17.99% to 26.99% variable
Earn 75,000 Hilton Honors™ Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 in purchases on the card within your first 3 months of card membership. Rates & fees
None
$95
18.24% to 25.24% variable
Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
None
$0
15.24% to 26.24% variable
Build your credit with no fees: Apply if you're new to credit or have a fair to good score.
None
$0
15.24%, 19.24% or 25.24% variable
Earn unlimited 1.5% cash rewards on purchases. See Rates and Fees.
None
$450
19.24% to 26.24% variable
Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.

Compare up to 4 providers

If you travel to Hungary often, save more with select cards

Because United Airlines is a member of Star Alliance, you can earn and redeem miles on partner airlines that fly between the US and Hungary, like Turkish Airlines, Swiss International Air Lines and Lufthansa.

American Airlines and its Oneworld Alliance partners also offer flights between the US and Hungary. Partners include British Airways, Iberia and Finnair. An AAdvantage credit card can help you earn and redeem miles on these airlines and use your card abroad without foreign transaction fees.

Potential credit card fees in Hungary

Depending on how you use your credit card in the Pearl of the Danube, you might incur:

  • Foreign transaction fees. You could be charged up to 3% of the amount of each transaction.
  • Currency conversion fees. Some vendors accept credit card payments in US dollars. This is called dynamic currency conversion (DCC), and it typically comes with fees and a poor conversion rate.

Is it possible to incur both fees?

Yes. To avoid it, choose a credit card without foreign transaction fees and decline DCC if offered.

Which credit card issuers are accepted in Hungary?

American Express credit cards are more widely accepted than Discover cards in Hungary. Even so, you can still find places with the Diners Club logo that accept Discover.

Citibank and Bank of Budapest ATMs accept Discover cards. OTP Bank and Euronet ATMs, among others, accept American Express credit 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
Discover
cross mark iconLow
cross mark iconLow

Should I use my credit card to get cash in Hungary?

You can — but watch for extra fees. ATMs in most parts of Hungary, including tourist centers, require a four-digit pin to make a cash withdrawal.

Make sure to use an ATM branded with a Hungarian bank, rather than an independent machine that could charge extra fees. Euronet ATMs are particularly renowned for poor exchange rates.

Aside from potential ATM fees, cash withdrawals come with cash advance fees and a high APR. Avoid these fees by using a debit card, making it the best choice for ATM cash withdrawals.

Learn more about spending in Hungary with our travel money guide.

Do taxis in Hungary accept credit cards?

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

Chip-and-PIN credit cards

Chip-and-PIN debit and credit cards are widely accepted in Hungary and are issued by Hungarian banks.

If you have a chip-and-signature card, you can use it in Hungary just about everywhere you find a staffed credit card machine. If you don’t have a PIN, an attendant may make you sign for your purchase. However, you may run into situations where your chip-and-signature card won’t work.

Is it safe to use my credit card in Hungary?

Yes. But as in any country, exercise caution to avoid trouble:

  • Select ATMs with care. ATMs within a bank are generally more secure. If the ATM happens to hold your card, you can quickly retrieve it from a teller.
  • Take two cards. A backup can keep you travels on track if your primary card is lost or blocked.
  • Keep your card in sight. Watch your card when you’re handing it over at the counter or to the waiter.

How to prepare before traveling to Hungary

  1. Get a credit card without foreign transaction fees. If you don’t, you could pay a fee of up to 3% on every transaction you make. That’s $90 in fees for every $3,000 you spent in Hungary.
  2. Pack a Visa or Mastercard. Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted, though you can manage with an American Express card. If you own a Discover card, look for the Diners Club logo for credit card acceptance.
  3. Notify your bank. Many banks no longer require it. If yours does and you fail to call, you could end up with a blocked card.
  4. Write down your bank’s phone number. If something happens to your card, you may be able to resolve your issue with a simple call.
  5. Take a long cash. Have some cash on hand for those small restaurants or shops that don’t accept credit cards.

Bottom line

It’s easy to pay for food, stays and souvenirs with your credit card in Hungary. To save money, carry a credit card without foreign transaction fees and always decline to pay in US dollars if offered.

If you’ll need to withdraw Hungarian forint, consider a debit card to avoid cash advance fees and the high APR that comes with typical credit cards.
See more guides on using a credit card in other countries.

Frequently asked questions

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Disclaimer

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

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