Money Abroad - Europe



For the updated document, please click here


Last Update: September 1995 by <barryb@tuke.sk> based on suggestions from msb@sq.com and dagraham@maths.tcd.ie

I am looking for somebody to maintain this archive. I do not have any time left to do it myself. I can provide web space and assistance, drop me a line at Stephane.Laveau@sophia.inria.fr. Sorry for the blink...

This is the `money in Europe' section of the Money Abroad FAQ. It contains general information about the multiple ways of dealing with money when in Europe. It is far from complete. If you have any remarks or questions, please contact Stephane.Laveau@sophia.inria.fr. General information about money abroad can be found in the General section of the Money Abroad FAQ.

``This FAQ may contain outdated or incorrect information, as well as conflicting information where new updates have been added. In updating this FAQ, I have made no effort to verify the accuracy of any previous information, but have merely appended additional information, which I have signed to aid in pinning blame on me. As the information contained herein is subject to change with new developments, no assumption should be made about the validity of anything, although each contributor has supplied information believed to be accurate at the time based on personal experience. Particularly since major changes in the ATM situation have happened in three of the countries I have been in over the past two months, the same is probably true of elsewhere.

``A general overview of the ATM situation in Europe shows that, as one would expect, a card called EuroCard, as well as the EuroCheque card, are widely accepted. The EuroCard is the same as MasterCard, so a tourist with a MasterCard should see it readily accepted. The Cirrus card is associated with MasterCard, and it is seeming that in many countries, the ATMs which accept EuroCard/MasterCard are now having Cirrus added as well. It is likely that some of the old information below is no longer correct, as no mention is made of Cirrus for some countries in which it could be presently useful. Visa and Plus are quickly catching up, but in general have not quite reached the penetration of EuroCard/MasterCard and Cirrus. You should find that the ATMs will usually give you a choice of several languages in which to conduct the transaction, but occasionally you may find some which automatically switch to your language, or if something is not quite right, it chooses the wrong language to talk to you. While most ATMs are multi-lingual, there is a handful which do all transactions in the native language. This really should present no problem, since it should be clear in any language that you are being asked for your PIN, or the amount you wish to receive.

``To repeat the information that is generally applicable to use of an ATM card in other countries, you should make sure that your PIN code is four digits, if possible, because while some ATMs will allow you to enter six digits, some people have had problems with PINs of more than four digits. Also, if your PIN is composed of letters, be sure to find out what the number equivalent is, since not all ATMs you will encounter will have letters. Most importantly, be sure that your ATM card accesses a checking account rather than (or in addition to) a savings account. I have yet to find an ATM in Europe which offers me a choice of what account from which the withdrawal can be made; instead, the default is that all transactions are received by your bank with the request to withdraw the funds from the primary account, which would be the checking account. You simply are not able to access a savings account. You can check this at home (for readers in the United States) by attempting to make a withdrawal from your checking account when the ATM asks which account to use. It is a fact that the transaction you make from overseas at the majority of ATMs arrives at your bank as a request for a withdrawal from your checking account.

``I am also digressing somewhat from the conventions laid out in the General section of this Money Abroad FAQ, in that the following terms are used:

The following are currently not included in this file:

    1. Andorra
    2. Bosnia
    3. Georgia
    4. Greenland
    5. Macedonia
    6. Malta
    7. Moldova
    8. Ukraine

The following coutries will not be included

    1. Liechtenstein (see Switzerland)
    2. Monaco (see France)
    3. San Marino (see Italy)
    4. USSR (see Russia)
    5. Vatican (see Italy)
    6. Yugoslavia (see Bosnia, Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro, Slovenia)


Albania

(ct338@po.cwru.edu)

Currency:
Albanian Lek (currently only available in Albania. 1US$ = 100 L the exchange rate oscillates by 2-5% but has remained in this range for the past 3 years)
Coins: worthless
Notes: L10, L25, L50, L100, L200, L2000, ???
ATMs:
not yet
Credit cards:
Accepted in some restaurants and hotels. AmEx/MasterCard/Visa. American Express opened an office in 1991.
Travelers checks and EuroCheques:
Can be cashed at the National Bank. 3 US$ charge for EuroCheques
Foreign exchange:
No problem especially in turist centers. Black market offers normally similar rates as the National Bank, but has flexible opening hours :-)
General:
Albanian Lek remained surprisingly stable in the past three years. US$, DM, ITLira, GRDrachmas and SFRancs are best accepted in the black market, for the rest only the bank can help. Having small US$ notes can also help.

Austria

(arritter@madhatter.cber.nih.gov, barryb@tuke.sk)

Currency:
Austrian Shilling (ATS or ÖS) 1 Schilling = 100 Groschen
Coins: ÖS20 (uncommon), ÖS10, ÖS5, ÖS1, 50g, 10g in wide circulation.
Paper: ÖS5000, ÖS1000, ÖS500, ÖS100, ÖS50, ÖS20.
ATMs:
``Visa and MasterCard and Cirrus, and probably Plus, are equally useful, and any one can be relied on without inconvenience.
The nationwide network of ATMs is identified with a green and blue `B'. Most or all of these ATMs will accept EuroCheque cards, and probably 3/4 or more indicate they accept EuroCard/MasterCard and Visa. Some of these ATMs also indicate a Cirrus or Plus logo, but the absence of this logo should not be taken to mean that a Cirrus or Plus ATM card will not work -- I have had success with my Cirrus card in every ATM I have tried with the MasterCard/Visa label, and just recently my Plus card started working in these ATMs. However, my cards were not accepted by some machines without the MC/Visa logo. It appears that in 1993, all the ATMs in Vienna had their labels changed to include Cirrus, and the same was done at selected ATMs in other towns as well, so my guess is the nationwide network was linked up and it is just a matter of replacing the labels, so go ahead and use your Cirrus or Plus card in any ATM with MasterCard or Visa logo. ATMs are readily found, and will likely be in any city or town of interest to a traveler.
My Plus ATM card did not appear to work a couple months ago in these ATMs. But in late August 1995, I had success with this same card in a machine with a Visa logo but no Plus logo. This seems to mean that now all the ATMs with a Visa logo will accept Plus network cards. And at the end of August, I saw that one of the ATMs with MasterCard/Visa/Cirrus had had the Plus logo added to it, as well as another network which is probably only useful in Europe, identified by an ``E'' and commonly seen on ATMs in Germany (I'll pay more attention to what its name is next time). It will be just a matter of time until the Plus logo is added to the ATMs, as not all ATMs have the Cirrus logo yet, so your Plus card should work in any Visa ATM whether or not the Plus logo has been added.
Many ATMs indicate they are in service from 05:00 until 24:00.''
(24. Aug 1995, <barryb@tuke.sk>)
AmEx cards only at AmEx offices (Vienna).
Points of arrival:
``An ATM which accepts MasterCard and Visa, and probably Cirrus and Plus, is in the Flughafen Wien-Schwechat, Vienna airport, arrival hall. There is a MasterCard/Visa/Cirrus/Plus ATM at the Wien Westbahnhof railway station in Vienna at track level, and one outside at the entrance to the Post.
Information about ATMs at Vienna's other main stations, as well as the stations in Salzburg and Innsbruck, would be appreciated for travelers arriving by train from other countries at these popular destinations.''
(<barryb@tuke.sk>)
Payment Cards:
``The nationwide POS network is indicated with the green and blue B Kasse logo, and can be seen at filling stations and at a small number of stores. The edc/Maestro Point-of-Sale card appears to be accepted for payment in most gas stations. The store I saw with the POS terminal did not mention Maestro or any other such card, and I was told my card wouldn't work, so I didn't try it. One bank I saw had a sign saying it would accept the Electron card, but probably not in the ATM.''
(21. Jun 1995, <barryb@tuke.sk>)
Foreign exchange:
In addition to banks, you will find currency exchange machines in the larger towns.
Travelers checks:
AmEx (1-5% commission)
You will always be charged a commission for changing in Austria, as required by the government, with a rate determined by the bank.

Belarus (Byelorussia)

(mwj@beta.lanl.gov)

Currency:
Rouble As in Russia, the ruble is nominally divided into 100 kopecks, but one rarely sees kopecks used. All circulating money at this time (12/93) is paper rather than coins, and has the peculiarity that the bills are worth ten times their printed value! A bill printed as a "100-ruble" note is actually worth 1000 rubles, a 50-kopeck note is worth 5 rubles, and so on. There is little sense in discussing the exchange rate, because it is changing so rapidly (and, from the standpoint of a Belarusian, adversely) as to make any discussion rather dated. In November 1993 the rate was about 3500 to 4000 rubles to the US dollar and about 2/3 of that for the German mark. US dollars are less widely accepted than in Moscow and do not "open doors" the way they did in Soviet days, with the single exception that they are very useful for buying gasoline. As in Russia, foreign currency in less than pristine condition will often be refused.
Travelers checks:
Accepted in a few hotels in Minsk (and possibly Brest and Grodno, although I've always used rubles there), but that's about all.
Credit cards:
Forget it. If there is any place in the country that accepts them, I certainly haven't found it yet. Possible exception for the Minsk-2 (international) airport.
General:
Major hotels can change dollars, marks, yen and (I think) French francs to rubles, at rates similar to those at the currency exchange at the Minsk-2 airport. The decline of the ruble's value, combined with the lack of large-denomination bills, means that one must carry a *large* wad of bills if one wants to purchase anything even mildly expensive. However, most tourist goods other than souvenirs (i.e. food, clothing, etc.) are inexpensive by western standards.

Belgium

Currency:
Belgian Franks (BF or F=>used in Belgium) 1 Frank = 100 Centime Coins: 50F, 20 F, 5 F, 1 f, 50 Centime. Our king died recently, so two types of coins will be in circulation for a while (one with Baudoin's portrait, one with Albert's) Coins from Luxembourg (Luxembourg Frank) look very much like Belgian Franks, they have the same value and are accepted everywhere. Paper: 10 000 F, 5000 F, 2000 F, 1000 F, 500F and 100 F.
ATMs:
Cirrus, Visa/Plus, MasterCard, AmEx.
Credit cards:
Visa and MasterCard, Diners, Eurocard, American Express and occasionally some other cards as well. In Belgium one can use the local Bankcontact and Mister Cash cards. These cards can be used everywhere, also in a great number of shops (supermarkets & boutiques). For the use of the cash card in a shop, a 5 BF commission will be added to the bill. In some shops a minimum purchase of 500BF will be required before they allow use of the card (no 5BF surcharge is added in these shops). Some supermarket chains (e.g. Delhaize) allow to withdraw money via their register. (e.g. you buy products for the value of 200 BF, the lady at the till will ask if you want to pay for the exact amount. To withdraw money you add the amount of money you would like to withdraw and the lady will give you this extra money in cash). We also have a so-called "European card". Holders of such a card can withdraw money in other European countries and vice versa. A steep commission is the price to pay for the convenience of having one card.
Travelers checks:
Can be cashed in banks and hotels.
Foreign exchange:
Banks are the best place to change money, exchange agencies are sparse and their prices are not always as good. Some automatic exchange machines exist (I have seen some in Brussels and Antwerp, I cannot speak for the rest of the country). Some travel agents also exchange money. Banks are closed on weekends and holidays, some are open Saturday morning, but don't count on it. Exchange agencies are open on Saturdays and machines are operational 24-24h.

Bulgaria

(ecl@mtgpfs1.mt.att.com)

Currency:
Lev (plural, leva)

Croatia

(dik@cwi.nl,ewald@informatik.tu-muenchen.de)

Currency:
Kuna (ISO currency abbrev: HRK), divided in 100 Lipa. There are coins for 1,5,10,50 Lipa and 1 and 2 Kuna, and notes from 5 Kuna upwards. The notes look well made and look not unlike the Deutsche Mark notes; they have a metal strip with the value etched in.
Foreign Exchange:
Like with the Dinar they had previously, the exchange rates are fixed by the government and thus are the same everywhere; no commission is charged on top of that.
As of mid-Sep 94, the exchange rate was about 3.60 Kuna = 1 DEM; the effort they have put into making the money would indicate that they are trying to keep it fairly stable.
As the exchange rate doesn't change quickly, black market exchange is unlikely to gain you much. All banks and some post offices as well as most hotel reception desks offer foreign exchange.
Postcheques:
Withdrawals from Postcheques in Kuna are possible in multiples of 100 DEM equivalent at the same rate as cash exchange, at every post office.

Czech Republic

(sracer@media-lab.media.mit.edu, barryb@tuke.sk)

Currency:
Czech Koruna (CZK or Kc). Old currency and coins from the former Czechoslovakia are no longer valid.
ATMs:
``MasterCard and Cirrus are equally useful without difficulty, and are much preferable to Visa/Plus.
ATMs throughout the country from several banks are connected to the MasterCard/EuroCard and Cirrus networks. The Komercni Banka is most widely available, and an ATM can usually be found in any town of interest to a tourist. The Savings Bank in Praha has several ATMs which accept Visa and Plus. To my knowledge, at the present time, none of this bank's ATMs outside Praha will work for any cards except their own, so a Visa/Plus card is much less useful than a Cirrus card. I suspect this bank's ATMs outside Praha will eventually be connected with Visa/Plus.''
(<barryb@tuke.sk>)
Prag, Karlovy-Very (Carlsbad): a few Plus, Cirrus, MasterCard and Visa. AmEx on Vaclavske' Nam (Wencleslas Square)
Points of arrival:
Brno: An ATM of the Investment Bank is very close to the main railway station just after the exit from the underground passage towards the center of town; MasterCard/Cirrus work here.
Credit cards:
Prag: AmEx, Visa, MasterCard at most hotels MasterCard only at most banks. Many stores or restaurants don't accept credit cards of the ones that do MasterCard is the most prevalent. There may be problems with CitiBank Visa
Karlovy-Very (Carlsbad): AmEx, Visa, MasterCard at most hotels. Very few stores accept credit cards. Train, bus stations do NOT accept credit cards
Travelers checks:
AmEx (1-5% commission)
Foreign Exchange:
You cannot change money back at the airport or anywhere else without the original receipt (April 1993). Some dollars or DM can be handy at times. The shiny, non-stop Chequepoint and Exact Change places have rather bad rates.Whenever you change money to Crowns, or get change, make sure that the bills are new (dated 1993 only). Older currency, and some coins are (were) phased out and might no longer be valid. An easy way to determine which are valid, is look for something that looks like "Republic Czeck", not "CzechoSlovakia", although SOME coins from Czechoslovakia are still valid (no bills are). Check and Slovak currency is not interchangeable
Black Market:
Not such a good deal compared to the risks.

Denmark

(futtrup@daimi.aau.dk,lien@lysator.liu.se)

Currency:
Danish Crowns (Kroner)
1 Krone = 100 Øre
Coins: 20 Kr, 10 Kr, 5 Kr, 2 Kr, 1 Kr, 50 Øre, 25 Øre.
(Notice that there have just been a coin reform in Denmark, so there are still two kinds of 1 Kr and 25 Øre, and you can also meet 'old' 10 Kr and 5 Kr.)
Paper: 1000 Kr, 500 Kr, 100 Kr and 50 Kr.
General:
Danes are changing from the cash-oriented society to plastic- cards; that is their own 'Dankort'. This card can be used everywhere, and the same places also accept Visa and MasterCard (most places).
ATMs:
Look for the sign 'Dankort Automat' - they take Visa, Plus, MasterCard/Eurocard and Cirrus, and maybe JCB (not AmEx). Machines are open 24h though some are closed at night. You can withdraw up to 2000DKR (~350$) per day. If you need more money, go to another ATM. You should note that it's easy to find VISA/MC/Cirrus ATM's in central Copenhagen. However in suburbs or smaller villages you possibly only find Dankort accepting machines. Banks should accept cash payment on cards at banking hours. For more informationyou can call Dankort at int+ 45 44 89 29 29
Diners: try the SAS office.
Credit cards:
Visa and MasterCard. (see also ATM) In restaurants and Gas-stations you can also use a variety of others (Diners, Eurocard etc.) The national card Dankort is very widely accepted for almost any payment. However this means that MasterCard and VISA acceptance is limited to tourist-geared businesses, hotels, better restaurants, and up-scale shops. I have not seen any supermarkets that accept VISA or MasterCard, like in Sweden, UK or France.
Travelers checks:
Can be cashed in banks and major hotels. The cheapest way to get local currency is by using 'PostCheques', which can be obtained in most countries outside America. There is an AmEx office in Copenhagen.
Foreign exchange:
Banks almost have the monopoly of changing money, so the rates are quite fixed.If you need it, there is a Change office, Main Railway Station, open 7.00-22.00 h summer, 7.00-21.00 h winter. The ticket sale at the boats to Malmo (Havnegade street) are probably open even later for northern European currencies.

Estonia

(Dik.Winter@cwi.nl,ecl@mtgpfs1.mt.att.com)

Currency:
1 Kroon = 100 Senti.
Coins: 10, 20, 50 Senti.
Notes: 1 Kroon and up.
ATMs:
One Visa.
Travelers checks:
Some places will exchange them, but cash is easier.
Credit cards:
Our hotel took Visa and wrote the charge slip in krooni; Tallink took Visa but insisted that the charge slip would have to be in Finnish markka because Visa didn't understand krooni. Go figure. Some places give cash advance on Visa.

Finland

(ecl@mtgpfs1.mt.att.com,Tor.Lillqvist@vtt.fi)

Currency:
1 markka (mark) (FIM) = 100 penni (pennies, pence). 1 mk = 100 p.
Coins: 10p, 50p, 1mk (old and new), 5mk (old and new), 10mk. The 10 mk coin was elected the most beautiful at a recent international conference of mint officials...
Notes:(10mk being phased out), 20mk, 50mk, 100mk, 500mk, 1000mk.
Old 1mk and 5mk coins and 10mk notes are rapidly being phased out, you rarely get them as change any longer.
Pay phones accept (new) 1mk, 5mk and maybe 10mk coins. Credit card phones available if you look around a bit.
Some large department stores accept USD, DEM, SEK.
ATM:
Most ATM's nowadays should accept Visa. ATMs are very common.
Credit cards:
VISA accepted virtually everywhere. MasterCard, AmEx, Diners, not as commonly.
Foreign exchange:
Banks. (Hotels, probably, for their guests.) The Forex company, which claims to have significantly better rates, has two offices in Helsinki (Railway station and the Esplanade), that are open until 21.00. (Certainly faster service at their offices than waiting in a bank.)
Currency exchange machines at several places in Helsinki centre (USD, DEM, SEK, GBP, and some others -> FIM, FIM -> USD, DEM, SEK, maybe ESP only), and probably in the other larger cities.

France

(laveau@corse.inria.fr)

Currency:
French Franc 1 FF = 100 centimes
Coins: 20f,10f,5f,2f,1f,50c,20c,10c,5c
Paper: 500f,200f,100f,50f(2 types),20f
ATMs:
Visa/Plus, MasterCard, Eurocard (any bank with the CB sign will do)
AmEx (a few in the very large cities and everywhere else via Le Credit Lyonnais Bank)
Cirrus (via Le Credit Mutuel and Le Credit Agricole)
It will be very easy to get cash with Visa, MasterCard and Eurocard possible with AmEx, difficult with Cirrus and impossible with Plus.
Credit cards:
Accepted everywhere. Look for the sign CB in green-blue Visa, MasterCard, Eurocard (Carte Bleue network) AmEx, JCB (sometimes, and nearly always where there are tourists)
Travelers checks:
Easy to cash at any bank. There are often charges...
AmEx, Visa and Thomas Cook work
Post-Checks are cashable at every Post Office.
Foreign exchange:
Paris: Best rates are usually given at banks or at the American Express office (near the Opera). The best rate you can ever find is La Banque de France, but the line is so long that you need to change a lot of money to make it worth. Another fair bet is Comptoir Change Opera. In Paris, there are change offices open at any time everywhere tourists go ( bad rates, but no commission ) Nearly every currency can be changed.
Rest of France: definitely banks. It will always be easier to change something into francs than francs into something since banks have a limited stock of foreign currency.

Gibraltar

(msb@sq.com)

Currency:
Gibraltar Pound
British pounds seem to be accepted everywhere, but only at par.
ATMs:
Visa.

Germany

(arritter@madhatter.cber.nih.gov, friedric@emg.e-technik.tu-muenchen.de, lott@informatik.uni-kl.de, barryb@tuke.sk)

Currency:
German Mark 1 DM = 100 Pfennig
Coins: 1 Pf,2 Pf,5 Pf,10 Pf,50 Pf,1 DM,2 DM,5 DM,10 DM(rare)
Notes: 5 DM, 10 DM, 20 DM, 50 DM, 100 DM, 200 DM, 500 DM, 1000 DM
As of 01. July 1995, the older German currency, which had still been valid since the introduction of the present currency after reunification, is no longer accepted. This should be no problem in Germany, but it is possible you may encounter the old currency on the black market in other countries (see those countries). The newer currency has a foil strip woven into the paper.
Travelers checks:
AmEx (1-5% commission)
Eurochecks are really widespread and usable everywhere.
Thomas Cook with your passport. Traveler's checks in foreign currencies can naturally only be exchanged at banks and are subject to a commission. Traveler's checks *in DM* are often accepted by banks with *no* commission, but not by all banks. One day in Trier while trying to swap in DM checks, one bank wanted 1% but the bank right next door did the transaction for no charge. No need to pay a fee if you don't have to. In my experience, it's terribly difficult to pass a traveler's check in DM at local restaurants, they just don't want to deal with them. It's not that they charge a big commission - they flat-out refuse to take the checks, even if denominated in DM.
ATMs:
``MasterCard and apparently Cirrus are everywhere.
Visa is only slightly less convenient, meaning you may have to walk a few more steps to a different ATM.
Plus is a bit less convenient, yet should be useful in practically every town with ATMs.''
(02. Aug 1995, <barryb@tuke.sk>)
AmEx, Visa, MasterCard,
Eurocard accepted at banks showing the appropriate sign.
Diners.
Cirrus at CitiBank (among others)
``I have yet to see an ATM in Germany which did not accept Mastercard/EuroCard. Of these ATMs, perhaps 3/4 also accept Visa. If you are in a town of medium size, you should have no difficulty finding a bank whose ATMs accept Visa, and branches of the banks in even the smallest towns accept Visa (though they are not always so marked), so if you have a Visa card, it should be adequate. The Plus network has fairly recently been added to an increasing number of ATMs, and more than half of the Visa ATMs also accept Plus. Again, it is quite possible for you to find a Plus ATM in a very small town. In the past month, it appears that Cirrus has been added to every ATM I have tried, so it probably works in all or most ATMs, though of these ATMs, only a few have had the Cirrus logo added to them. As usual, try your card in any ATM, regardless of how it is labelled, when you need money. Most ATMs in larger towns, where tourists are more likely to find themselves, will be properly labelled, though perhaps the Cirrus logo has not yet made it to every machine which accepts it.
Citibanks, which are in the larger cities, accept AmEx and Diners Club.
AmEx is also accepted by certain other banks' ATMs as well in larger towns.
The tourist who gets off the beaten track will find that every town with at least a couple thousand residents has an ATM, and where I have seen one ATM, I have almost always seen that a second bank has an ATM, during my travel in southwest Germany. These two banks have been the Volksbank, in which I have been able to use Visa and Cirrus, and the Sparkasse, which accepts Visa and Plus and in which my Cirrus card just recently started to work. Of course, MasterCard/EuroCard and EuroCheque cards work in both.
There could be one small drawback, in that while many ATMs are outside and accessible, there are a good number which are located inside the bank and require you to insert your card into a slot to unlock the door for entry after banking hours. It so happens that some of these door-openers have not been reprogrammed to unlock for all the cards which will work in the ATM within, but this should be only a slight inconvenience for a small number of people, because if you can't access any other ATM nearby in the same town, you should be able to ask a local resident or passerby to open the door for you with her/his EC card.''
(02. Aug 1995, <barryb@tuke.sk>)
Payment Cards:
``The POS network in Germany is identified by the Electronic Cash logo and can be found in some filling stations, and in a few stores. I have seen no indication that any of these are connected to either the Maestro or Electron POS networks.''
(02. Aug 1995, <barryb@tuke.sk>)
Credit Cards:
As german banks heavily promote their credit cards (Visa, Eurocard), the number of accepting shops,... _should_ grow. Supermarkets and most restaurants do not accept credit cards yet. Major railway stations already accept AmEx, Diners, Visa, MasterCard, Eurocard. In airports or big railway stations there are telephones accepting AmEx, Diners, Visa, MasterCard, Eurocard Mastercard and Eurocard are the most common. People just don't view credit cards in a favorable light in Germany. This view is widespread even among people in the 25-30 age group, not just among (presumably ultra conservative) older people. I have had many conversations with people in my group who do not have even a single credit card and don't see the need to get one.
General:
the Germans believe deeply in cash. Cash is, quite simply, The Way Things Are Purchased Here. Bring cash, you'll need it. Furthermore, my experience in Germany has been that if the business (restaurant, clothes, whatever) accepts credit cards, I can't afford what they're selling. In other words, the expensive places all accept CCs, but the little pizzerias never do.

Greece

(icmgkou@eeiub.ericsson.se)

Currency:
Drachma
Coins: 1, 2, 5 10, 20, 50 100 drachmas
Bills: 50, 100, 500, 1000, 5000 drachmas
Inflation rate: 12% 1993, 10% 1994 (hopefully!)
Credit Cards:
VISA/Mastercard accepted everywhere. Also Diners International and AmEx.
ATMs:
Visa/Plus.
You can get cash with VISA/MAsterCard in some ATMs in Athens, Salonica and popular tourist places.

Hungary

(phr@netcom.com, liza@rand.org)

Currency:
1 forint = 100 filer. Exch. rate roughly 100 Ft = 1 USD.
Coins: 10, 20, 50 (?) filer: these are made of magnesium and weigh almost nothing. 1, 5, 10, 20 forint: these come in both "new" and "old". The "old" have a small 5-pt star (of Lenin); the newer ones look more modern. You get old and new coins in your change in about equal amounts. Pay phones, vending machines, etc. accept only old coins so you need to save a few for this.
Notes: 50, 100, 500, 1000, 5000 Ft (maybe others too, but 5000 is the largest).
Foreign Exchange:
"Official" places often exchange TC's with no commission. Save your receipt in any case. You need the receipt to change back to hard currency. You can theoretically change back half the forints you originally bought but need your passport number written on the receipt; in practice they don't seem to care, I changed back more than half of the amount on some of the receipts I had. I needed to change a lot of Forints to DM so I hung around outside a bank and asked tourists for their receipts, then used the receipts to get the change and no one cared about the passport numbers.
Black market:
The Keleti (central) train station in Budapest is full of Arabs who will give you 3-4% better exchange rate for USD or DM than the official rate. They are very polite and honest, never take your money before giving you theirs, and you don't have to wait in line: just stand in the station looking around expectantly and one will approach you. Out in the street in the tourist areas, more Arabs will offer you 15% or more over the official rates. They are trying to rip you off so watch out. Someone told me that the first group is part of an organized operation that changes USD to Zlotys then Zlotys to Forints in Poland (zlotys and forints are freely convertible), brings the Forints to Hungary and sells them to tourists for USD. So if you plan to visit both Poland and Hungary, go to Poland first and get forints there. You can end up 5-6% better than the USD-Forint official rate this way. (Warning! This may be outdated)
Credit Cards:
Change bureaus and banks will give you cash advances. Only tourist places take them for purchases. Credit cards are not widely used in Hungary. Many Hungarians were curious to see what they looked like.
ATMs:
There is an Amex ATM outside the Amex office on Vaci boulevard but I think it only takes Amex cards. We went to an ATM at a bank (not the amex office) on the Vaci Utca and were able to withdraw cash using our MasterCard.It was basically across the street from Aeroflot, which sounds weird but is very obvious when you're there. :-)
There are Cirrus ATMs in some of the larger towns.
Visa/Plus.
Travelers checks:
All change bureaus etc. will change them to forints (see above). If you want to cash TC's into hard currency, you have to change to Forints then change again (losses approach 10%) plus you can't change the whole amount (see above), *except* at the Hungarian Foreign Exchange Bank (I've forgotten the name in Hungarian) near the Vaci tourist area. There, you can change foreign TC's into their face currency for a 2% commission. Then you can take the cash to the Keleti train station and buy forints from the arabs (see above...)
General:
If you want to buy a train ticket out of Hungary, you have to pay in USD or DM, cash only.

Iceland

(mark@rfisk.is)

Currency:
Icelandic Kronur or Icelandic Crown (ISK)
1 Krona = 100 Aurur (Aurur are not really used any more)
Coins: 50 Kr, 10 Kr, 5 Kr, 1 Kr [, 50 Aurar, 10 Aurar, 5 Aurar]
Paper: 5000 Kr, 1000 Kr, 500 Kr, 100 Kr
General:
Icelanders would be lost without their plastic. This happened in the last 10 years (in 1983 there were 2400 Visa cards in use, whereas in 1992 there were 95 000 Visa cards in use [out of a population of only 263 000]).
Iceland is EXPENSIVE.
ATMs:
Visa.
If you are travelling around Iceland, do NOT plan on using ATMs. ATMs are a fairly recent thing in Iceland, and are not greatly used. When you find one, they are open 24h.
In Akureyri there are 3.
In Keflavik there is 1
In Akranes there is 1
In Selfoss there is 1
In the Vestmannaeyjum there is 1
and in the Greater Reykjavik area there are 19.
Credit Cards:
As mentioned above, credit cards are widely used in Iceland. Visa and Mastercard/Eurocard are taken almost everywhere. There are almost no exceptions (I can personally only think of 2 shops that do not take visa). Cash is obtainable through the small number of ATMs and through banks during working hours.
Change Money:
The daily exchange rates are fixed by the central bank. Therefore all the banks offer very similar services.

Ireland

(joleary@esterh.wm.estec.esa.nl)

Currency:
Irish Pounds (punt)
ATMs:
``For the next edition of your FAQ you might like to update the 'Ireland' section. Just over the past few weeks, most of the ATMs have started having new stickers saying they accept both Cirrus and Plus network cards (in addition to all the domestic cards, MasterCard, Visa, etc)'' dagraham@maths.tcd.ie 16. Aug 95)
No Cirrus. You can get cash with Visa/Plus and Mastercard, Amex at some places.
Credit cards:
Visa/Eurocard/Access/MasterCard accepted nearly everywhere. accepted at supermarkets.

Italy

Currency:
Italian Lire
ATMs:
Visa/Plus and MasterCard. There are AmEx offices in Firenze, Milano, Roma and Venezia. AmEx works also in ATM of Banca Popolare di Milano.
Credit cards:
Visa and MasterCard. Credit card use seems to be limited in Sicily.

Latvia

(Dik.Winter@cwi.nl,ecl@mtgpfs1.mt.att.com)

Currency:
1 Lats = 100 Santimu.
Coins 1 Santim, 2, 5 Santimi, 10, 20, 50 Santimu, 1 Lats.
Notes 5 Lati and up. Latvian Rubles are no longer valid.
General:
Same profile as Estonia

Lithuania

(Dik.Winter@cwi.nl)

Currency:
1 Litas = 100 Centu.
Coins: 1 Centas, 2, 5 Centai, 10, 20, 50 Centu, 1 Litas, 2, 5, Litai.
Notes 10 Litu and up.
Credit cards:
Mostly Visa.
General:
Same profile as Estonia. Plurals in Lithuanian are a bit odd. It's 1 litas, 2 through 9 litai,10 through 99 litu, 100 through 109 litai, etc. Amounts with fractional parts are litai.

Luxembourg

(ujiw@rz.uni-karlsruhe.de)

Currency:
Luxembourg Franc (LUF, Flux), used interchangeably with the Belgium Franc (FB)
Coins: 1,5,20,50
Notes: 100, 500, 1000, 2000, 5000, 10000
ATMs:
Visa/Plus.
All ATM machines (Bancomat) accept only EC (eurocheque) cards ! You can get cash advances for Eurocard & Visa at banks.
Credit Cards:
Eurocard/Mastercard and Visa accepted almost everywhere. Supermarkets sometimes only take Visa (as of 1994). Gas stations accept credit cards only during business hours: Again, the ATM machines outside gas stations only accept EC cards.
Travelers Checks:
Thomas Cook, AmEx.
Foreign Exchange:
At Banks (mostly 150.- LUF fee if you're not a customer) Foreign Exchange office at the central railwaystation.

Netherlands

(pas@cc.gatech.edu, jon@lindy.Stanford.edu, barryb@tuke.sk)

Currency:
Dutch Guilder (NLG or fl or f), equal to 100 cents.
Coins of 5c, 10c, 25c, 1G, 2.5G, 5G
Notes of 10G, 25G (2 types, one being phased out) 50G and 100G, 250G and 1000G (almost never accepted in shops) Prices contain any number of whole cents, but the sum of your purchases is rounded to the nearest 5 cents.
ATMs:
Can be found nearly everywhere. There are 2 'types' of ATM. ATM found at/near post offices ("Giromaat") and ATM found at/near banks. The ATMs at banks can be used by bankaccountcards, EuroCheckCards (also from foreign European banks) and (but not always) credit cards. Most ATM take MasterCard, very few take Visa, even fewer take American Express cards). You pay a small fee (about f 1 to f 2) when using them in the evening and/or weekends when using it with a bankaccountcard. ATM found at post offices can be used by holders of an account at the "Postbank". No international cards are accepted there.
Points of arrival:
Schiphol airport: in the arrivals hall (outside customs) there is one machine that accepts MasterCard. This machine also accepts Cirrus cards. There are other ATMs in Schiphol which accept, among others, MasterCard, but do not indicate they accept Cirrus.
At the train station, there is one for American Express cards. I found no ATM accepting Visa. Amsterdam: MasterCard ATM are all over downtown: look for the ABN/AMRO bank machines. The only Visa ATM in the city center is at the VSB Bank by the flower market. It is possible to get a cash advance from the GWK office with a Visa.
Credit cards:
Eurocard/MasterCard mainly followed by Visa and Diners club. A lot of shops don't accept them (yet) but more and more shops do. However, don't expect to use them in supermarkets. All gas-stations and most restaurants will accept them.
Travelers checks:
Thomas Cook. AmEx
Foreign exchange:
Everywhere you go there seems to be a "change bureau". Expect rates to be favorable to them (no wonder so many seem to stay in business). They also change a commission on top of the exchange rate. In April 1993, the spread to exchange USD was about 10%,and typical commission was about 3.50 NLG. GWK offices seems to charge a little lower commission for small amounts. Some of the "change bureaus" will process cash advances on Visa/MasterCard. Note that banks close earlier than shops (some banks close at 15.30) and are closed on Saturdays.

Norway

(johan.schimanski@inl.uio.no)

Currency:
Norwegian krone (NOK). 1 kr = 100 øre
Coins: 50 øre, 1 kr "krone", 5 kr "femmer", 10 kr "tier"
Paper: 50 kr "femtilapp", 100 kr "hundrelapp", 500 kr, 1000 kr "tusenlapp"...(notes above 100 kr can sometimes be difficult to exchange outside Scandinavia; also, 500 kr is not very usual) Swedish kroner can be sneaked in through small change, but are often refused; on inter country trains both are accepted.
``I have two additions to the information for Norway in the Money Abroad FAQ. First, there are 20 kr coins as well as the denominations listed (sorry, I don't have the Norwegian name for them).[...]
ATMs:
``Second, there are Cirrus ATMs; on my trip there this past spring I used them more times than Plus, but I don't really know which are more common.'' (msb@sq.com 16. Aug 95)
Very widespread. All take Visa, possibly MasterCard as well (I don't know). Many take Plus. A lot of shops now use electronic card-readers to take payments.
Travelers checks:
Not sure if these are too popular outside banks and post offices. NOTE: buying travelers checks in Norway is best done at the Post Office. You get the checks immediately instead of having to wait a couple of days, and with a receipt you can exchange back to NOK at Norwegian post offices without paying the normal fee.
Foreign exchange:
Banks often close at 1500 closed Saturday and Sunday. Post offices are open on Saturdays until 1200 or 1300 (times differ during the Summer, June to mid-August), and offer the return service as detailed for Travelers checks above, also for paper money. There are hardly any money-changing shops outside of the Central Station, Oslo.

Poland

(sracer@media-lab.media.mit.edu)

Currency:
Polish Zloty. Currently there is only paper money available. But inflation rates are such that it is not reasonable to mention denomination.
ATMs:
Warsaw: a few Plus, Cirrus, MasterCard (only MasterCard seems to work)
Krakow: none found
Credit cards:
Warsaw: AmEx, Visa, MasterCard at major hotels MasterCard only at some restaurants (there may be problems with CitiBank Visa)
Krakow: Train station did NOT accept credit cards
Touristic places accept plastic; other places don't.
Foreign Exchange:
There are cash changing places EVERYWHERE, on almost every street. They have signs reading "Kantor". They handle only cash, no TC's or plastic. The exchange rates are very good--the "buy" and "sell" rates for USD usually differ by less than 1% with no commission. I think there are so many changers because the high Zloty inflation rate makes Poles want to hold their money in USD. For Deutsche Marks the spread is almost as good as USD. If you want to convert dollars to marks or vice versa, it's actually cheaper to do it in Poland by buying zlotys then converting the zlotys, than to simply change currency in Germany. Kantors actually give slightly better exchange rates than banks. Banks will change travellers checks, however, at a small commission.
Travelers checks:
Pekao Bank does that, but a lot of others too.

Portugal

(pas@cc.gatech.edu)

Currency:
Escudos, divided into 100 centavos. Centavos are mostly out of use.
Coins of 1, 2.50, 5, 10, 20, 25, 50, 100 and 200 escudos.
Notes of 500, 1000, 2000, 5000, and 10000.
ATMs:
All belong to the same network (MultiBanco). Visa/Plus and MasterCard work on most of them. Very abundant in major cities, and can also be found in smaller cities and resorts.
Credit cards:
Visa and American Express are the only cards issued by Portuguese banks (as of May 1993), with Visa having a significant share of the market, while American Express is a "prestige" card. Every merchant that accepts Visa also accepts MasterCard. This includes most shops and services that tourists are like to frequent, except for public transportation.
Travelers checks:
All Portuguese banks have begun to implement a standard charge of 2000 escudos (almost 10 USD) for cashing travelers' checks. In addition, the government is requiring a further 0.9% commission on any such transaction. This amounts to a fee of approximately 11 USD for each encashment, irrespective of the value of the transaction. (the Independent, London, 12th June 1993)

Romania

(fraserdt@unixg.ubc.ca)

Currency:
Leu (Singular), Lei (Plural)
1 Leu = 100 Bani (Bani are *very* seldom used anymore)
Romania is in the process of printing and casting new money to replace the communist variety. Before, the largest bill in circulation was 1000 Lei. The changeover has been taking place over the past two years, but this is what they have to date.
Coin: 1 Leu, 2 Lei, 5 Lei, 25 Lei, 50 Lei
Paper: 100 Lei, 500 Lei, 1000 Lei, 5000 Lei, 10000 Lei.
Credit cards:
Some major hotels and tourist facilities accept Visa, MasterCard, Diner's Club, AmEx. In other places, they are essentially useless. AmEx now has an office (on Mageru Blvd), where I assume you can do the regular AmEx things.
Travelers checks:
Useless, except for (maybe) at the larger hotels.
ATMs:
None in existence.
Foreign exchange:
Money can be changed at little exchange bureaus (Schimb Valutar) and at hotels. The best rate can be had for US$ and DM, though they will exchange most major European currencies. Since they deregulated foreign exchange, the black market has become much less attractive. When going into a foreign exchange place, especially the ones on Mageru Blvd, you still have to run a gauntlet of young men offering to change your money. The rate they offer is minimally more than the rate you get inside. During the summer of '92, counterfeit US$ abounded. Because of this, most people will not accept huge bills or badly wrinkled bills.
Moral of the story:
Travelers should bring US or German cash. Do not count on using credit-cards or bank machines. Pick pocketing is a *major* problem, so keep your cash divided up and not in a purse or wallet

Russia

(somebody@umich -- It's not a joke !)

Currency:
Ruble
Travelers checks:
there is an AmEx office in Moscow. that's about it.
ATMs:
The Cirrus ATM locator mentions there are three ATMs which accept Cirrus cards in Moscow.
Visa.
Credit cards:
nearly useless except at the places for westerners.
Foreign exchange:
The best exchange rates are obtained on the black market. The exchange rate doesn't always keep up with the inflation, so you'll better change your money as you need it.
General:
Some cash in USD is handy (in 1$ and 5$). Bring recent notes (after 1990), as Russians tend to be suspicious with old bills (counterfeit money...). Get a money belt. $50 will go a long way. The lower rate will be in the official exchange centers (government), the higher rates outside Moscow in the provinces. The Russian government has been trying to support the ruble lately (8/93) with massive sales of dollars, but it is expected that this will stop soon and the ruble will resume its fall. At the official trading places, your rate for pounds sterling and DM will be tied to the international rates, and you will therefore suffer no losses in comparison to what you would have received for US dollars. However, in the open market, US dollars are prized and they receive a more favorable exchange rate. Trading at independent dealers will cost you compared to what you would have received for a comparable quantity of US dollars. Decide how you want to trade. If you will do it all at safe government trading points, then take whatever convertable currency is most convenient for you. If you plan to explore the market a bit more, it would be well worth the effort to exchange for US dollars before leaving the West.

Serbia and Montenegro

(phr@netcom.com, slom@osmeh.fon.bg.ac.yu)

Currency:
Dinar(YUD). The new dinar is pegged at 1 DM
1 Dinar = 100 Para
Paper notes: 1 d, 5 d, 10 d, 20 d
Coins: 1 p, 5 p, 10 p, 50 p, 1 d

Slovakia

(Ivan.Lescak@Slovakia.EU.net, barryb@tuke.sk)

Currency:
Slovenska koruna (Slovak Crown), local code Sk, international SKK
1 Sk = 100 halierov (hellers), code h
Coins: 10 h, 20 h, 50 h, 1 Sk, 2 Sk, 5 Sk, 10 Sk
Paper: 20 Sk, 50 Sk, 100 Sk, 500 Sk, 1000 Sk
ATMs:
MasterCard and Cirrus are equally useful and should be without difficulty.
Visa/Plus is basically useless except at one ATM in Bratislava.
Bankomats (ATM) of VUB (Vseobecna uverova banka, General Credit Bank) are available in all bigger cities (over 150 places in Slovakia). They accept EuroCard/MasterCard/Cirrus cards, some of them also EuroCheque cards. Slovenska sporitelna (Slovak Savings Bank, SLSP) has independent network of over 100 ATM, which accept only SLSP cards, but some of them will accept also VISA/PLUS cards in the future. Currently (July 1994) only one such ATM exists, in Bratislava, Venturska Street.
``I have had varying results with my Cirrus cards in the VUB ATMs. There are three makers of these ATMs, and at first my card only worked in the Olivetti machine in Bratislava, and in none of the others. Also, a Visa that was linked with Cirrus was rejected without even asking for any information. This was in 1993. But in summer of 1994, this Visa card was accepted by the ATM and it was able to talk to my bank, so things do change. At the same time, I was unable to use my Cirrus-only card in the NCR machines I tried, but had success in the Olivetti again (I wasn't able to find any working Siemens-Nixdorf machines, with which I had had no success before, but with which the Visa card worked). The Siemens-Nixdorf machines are most widespread, although NCR machines are showing up in more new ATM installations. Also, at least one other bank has ATMs in Bratislava and a few other towns, which were not connected to any network in 1994, but eventually will probably accept MasterCard/EuroCard/Cirrus.''
(<barryb@tuke.sk>)
Points of arrival:
There is a VUB ATM (MasterCard/Cirrus) the Bratislava main railway station.
Credit cards:
Higher class hotels accept most of the usual cards (EuroCard, MasterCard, EuroCheque, VISA, AmEx, Diners, some also JCB). VUB bank offices accept EC/MC, EuroCheque, CitiCorp checks and AmEx checks, Slovenska Sporitelna and Tatra Banka accept VISA. Exchanges of SATUR and offices of CSA airline accept EC/MC, EuroCheque, VISA, JCB, AmEx. Representative of AmEx is TATRATOUR travel agency. Very few stores accept credit cards. Train, bus stations do NOT accept credit cards.
Travelers checks:
AmEx, EuroCheque, CitiCorp
Foreign Exchange:
You cannot change money back at the airport or anywhere else without the original receipt. Besides banks and exchange points there are also some exchange machines installed (Suche Myto in Bratislava, Dom Sluzieb in Stary Smokovec-Vysoke Tatry etc.)
Blackmarket:
Not such a good deal compared to the risks.

Slovenia

(Stefan.Lundstrom@eua.ericsson.se)

Currency:
Tolar (SIT). Coins: 1, 2 and 5 Tolar. The tokens used in phone booths are also used as coins, I believe to a value of 20 Tolars each.
Credit cards:
Readily accepted, but often the price will be converted to US$ or something else, probably because of the CC company. I tried Visa and Eurocard/MasterCard, and had no problems.
Travelers checks:
Accepted at banks. Change at Ljubljanska Banka - they have the best rates and don't charge any commission. Avoid "Abanka".
General:
The tolar is a very young currency. Only in Fall '92 were the final notes emitted into circulation. Before that interim notes were used, and plastic tokens for buses and tokens for phones were used as coins. Now things have stabilized and the Tolar is a reasonably reliable currency under the circumstances, even though most banks abroad still don't change it, and you often see prices in Marks instead of/and Tolars.
Foreign exchange:
No problem. Don't bother about black market - you can make marginal profits. Stick to Ljubljanska Banka.

Spain

(Stefan.Lundstrom@eua.ericsson.se,YOUNGBLOOD@vax9.bear.com)

Currency:
Peseta. Coins: 500, 200, 100, 50, 25, 10, 5, 1 pesetas
Notes: 10000, 5000, 2000, 1000 pesetas
ATMs:
No problem for Visa/Plus or MasterCard/Cirrus. There are plenty of them particularly in touristic areas
Foreign exchange:
Do not change at the border between Morocco and Mellila. Money should not be exchanged at any of the Grand Via or Puerta del Sol exchange offices; they claim 'no commission', yet their rates are generally 7% - 15% worse than banks.
General:
10000 peseta notes can be very hard to use in small shops or when paying for small items. Try to get smaller notes.

Sweden

(johan.schimanski@inl.uio.no,lien@lysator.liu.se)

Currency:
Swedish krona (SEK), plural kronor. 1 kr = 100 Öre.
Coins: 50 Öre old & new (rarer), old is larger and silver colored. New is copper. Most machines only accept the old. 1, 5, 10 kronor. All other denominations (such as the recent 10 and 25 Öre) are no longer in circulation and thus worthless.
Notes: 10 (rare), 20, 50 (rare), 100, 500, 1000 kronor. 10's, 50's, and older 100's (differing in size and color) are still valid.
ATMs:
Most ATMs accept Visa and MasterCard.
Foreign exchange:
There are three exchange organizations in Sweden, besides the banks. These three are Forex (largest), Valutaspecialisten, and Wexex. All of these three are respectable, and all of them offer better rates than the banks. All of them charge no fee for exchange of Swedish currency into foreign. Valutaspecialisten and Wexex does not charge any fee for exchange of foreign into swedish currency, but Forex does charge for this unless you have a receipt from Forex of purchase of that currency from them. Try to get a Forex receipt from some Swede who changes Swedish into your currency, and then you can change at no fee. Most are open 8.00-21.00, less on Saturdays and Sundays. There is generally minimal difference in exchange rates between these three, the difference will be much less than half an hours wage unless you change some $20.000...They actually all closely monitor each other. Forex does accept Amex and Diners cards. At a recent trip to Malmo I noticed that no banks in central displayed exchange rates in the windows, nor in the bank hall. Apparently the bank rates are so uncompetitive especially when you include their fees, so they only occasionally catch an unknowing tourist ...If you are in a small town or "far away" from the exchange services, you can try the post office for exchange after bank hours, or on Saturdays. Only some post offices do foreign exchange, but you can always try. The rate will be the same as for banks, but the fees may be slightly lower, or at worst equal. I recommend that you use these exchange services for cash and travellers checks, instead of the banks, if you are in a city that has this service. Swedish banks are known to be outrageously expensive, even Change points at tourist spots are know to offer better deals!
Addresses:
VALUTASPECIALISTEN
Stockholm:
- Kungsgatan 30, 08-10 30 00, fax 08-10 81 11
- Arlanda Airport, 08-797 85 57
Malmo:
- Hamngatan 1, 040-788 88, fax 040-12 15 55 open 7.00-21.00 (over the waterfilled canal from the railway station).
WEXEX
Stockholm:
- in Gallerian shopping complex, off the main shopping arcade, in a small bunch of odd shops (watches, old cameras). Somewhat hard to find. tel 08-20 22 77
FOREX
Stockholm:
- Main Railway Station, (to the left off main entrance), 08-11 67 34
- City Terminal, 08-21 421 80
- Vasagatn 14, tel 08-10 49 90
- Silja Ferry Terminal, 08-663 07 00
- Viking Ferry Terminal, 08-20 29 19
Malmo:
- Norra Vallgatan 60, 8.00-21.00 h, tel 040-12 40 34
- Gustav Adolfs Torg 12, 040-11 94 34
- Bourse House, Skeppsbron (opposite main railway station), 7.00-18.00 h, tel 040-30 48 54
- Sturup Airport, 040-50 00 33
Gothenburg:
- Main Railway station, 031-15 65 16
- Kungsportsavenyn 22, 031-18 57 60
- Nordstan (shopping complex), 031-15 75 30
Helsingborg:
- Jarnvagnsgatan 13 (Railway station), 042-18 71 90
- Knutpunkten, 042-24 47 00
Uppsala:
- Fyristorget 8, 018,10 30 00
Trelleborg:
- Norra Kajgatan 20, 0410-453 20
Ystad:
- Farjeterminalen, 0411-133 35

Switzerland

(rali@hri.com, roland@geolepsg2.epfl.ch, barryb@tuke.sk)

Currency:
Franken/franc divided into 100 rappen/centimes. There are coins in the denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50 rappen and 1,2 and 5 franken. Paper notes: 10,20,50,100,500,1000 Swiss francs.
(Note: Paper notes are graduated in size and have raised bumps in correlation to their value to aid bllind persons in coounting their change)
ATMs:
``MasterCard and Cirrus are most convenient, and can be found even in small towns, though a few people might have a problem with Cirrus cards in a handful of ATMs (see below).
Visa/Plus is nearly as convenient, found in many towns.
Most ATMs accept MasterCard/EuroCard, although I had seen some ATMs in some places which say "Swiss cards only". These ATMs should also accept EuroCheque cards. The Postomats will accept Diners Club and AmEx cards, but not MC/EC. One bank, the Schweizerischer Bankverein / Société de Banque Suisse / Società di Banca Svizzera, has ATMs that indicate they accept Visa, Plus, and the Electron card as well. Several other banks now show Visa and Plus logos, or just Visa, so these cards are more convenient to use than previously.
Cirrus, which had been useless through late June 1995, now seems to work in most ATMs, including those in small towns (but not the Postomats), though not all of these ATMs sport the Cirrus logo as of the end of July 95. In the last week of June 95, many banks, whose ATMs used to reject all my cards without asking for any information, suddenly started to accept them and had a connection to the Cirrus network. Soon after, the Cirrus logo appeared on some ATMs. As of September 95, there are still problems at a few ATMs to be ironed out, though I'm told by the end of 1995, all bank ATMs should accept Cirrus cards. The problem, which you may experience with a few ATMs in out-of-the-way places, is that these ATMs to which the Cirrus logo has been added, or ATMs of a bank whose other ATMs would accept your card, will read your card and spit it back at you saying it is not authorized. If this happens, go a bit further until you find an ATM which is happy with your card. I am afraid I can't give general advice to avoid these machines. And again, it seems that all ATMs which accept EuroCard/MasterCard and EuroCheque cards now accept Cirrus, though many are not yet marked as such, so do not hesitate to try your Cirrus card in an ATM without the Cirrus logo.''
(02. Aug 1995, <barryb@tuke.sk>)
Points of arrival:
``At the Flughafen Zürich-Kloten airport, an ATM can be found after one leaves the arrival hall, as one heads to the trains and shops. This ATM should work with Cirrus and MasterCard (see above), but I cannot remember if a bank which accepts Visa/Plus has an ATM there. In the shopping area below Zürich's main railway station, the Hauptbahnhof, ATMs are plentiful, and more ATMs are in easy walking distance along the Bahnhofstrasse. There's an AmEx machine along this street.
Information about ATMs at the railway stations in Genève and Basel would be appreciated for the benefit of tourists whose first stop is in these popular destinations.''
(<barryb@tuke.sk>)
Payment Cards:
``Recently a number of merchants in Zürich indicated they accept the Electron Point-of-Sale card, and one was seen to accept edc/Maestro. Presently the number of places where such a card can be used is very limited, although a good number of places are connected with POS terminals so that residents may pay with either the Postcard from the postal bank, various credit cards, or the EC-Direct service, though I do not know if the latter is limited to Swiss EuroCheque cards at all locations.''
(21. Jun 1995, <barryb@tuke.sk>)
Credit Cards:
VISA and MasterCard are generally accepted at most shops, hotels, for purchase of travel, etc. AmEx and Diners Club are in more limited use. EuroCard is accepted just about everywhere.
Travellers Checks:
AmEx (Unknown commission)
Foreign Exchange:
Foreign exchange is available at all airports, many of the larger train stations and virtually every bank. Banks tend to have marginally better exchange rates than the exchange desks at the airports and train stations. Typically the fee is "hidden" inside the exchange rate so you get what the posted rate states.As a general rule there is no commission on change. But some of the great banks (e.g. Swiss Bank Corporation) have introduced commission on change for small amounts if you are no client of the bank (if you have no account) but they do not practice this systematically. Commissions are quite seldom and if one ask you for one just go elsewhere. I have never paid a commission for change in Switzerland myself. In Geneva, it is worth changing in a "bureau de change". They have much better rates than banks. And there are a lot in the neighbourhood of the Cornavin station (Geneva main station). The gap is about 2 or 3 percent between buying and selling rates for major currencies.
Comments:
Generaly stores in the larger towns and cities will more gracefully handle credit intruments, cash is still preferred. Given the large number of tourists, you will have no difficulties exchanging money or getting a cash advance on a credit card. ATM networks are beginning to make inroads as well -- primarily in the cities.
All currency is named in both german and french (rappen/centime)

Information about Liechtenstein is basically the same as for Switzerland, and the ATM situation is similar at the end of July 95. None of the ATMs had yet sprouted the Cirrus logo, though most accepted my card (one rejected it), and they had a connection to the Cirrus network. It did not appear that any of them accepted Plus, or Visa, but it is possible these cards may work in some ATMs. If all you have is a Plus card, do not despair, for just over the border, in Buchs SG, Switzerland, you can find Plus/Visa/Electron ATMs.

Turkey

(erdal@metu.edu.tr)

Currency:
Turkish Lira 1 TL = 100 Kurus (Kurus is nothing since the minimum valued coin is 500 TL)
Coins: 500TL, 1000TL, 2500 TL, 5000TL, 10000TL
Paper: 10000 TL, 20000TL, 50000TL, 100000TL, 250000TL, 500000TL, 1000000TL
Foreign Exchange:
Daily official and free-market exchange rates for foreign currencies are published in all newspapers. Foreign currencies can easily be changed at the banks, change offices and main PTT branches.
ATMs:
Visa/Plus.
Credit Cards, Traveller Checks:
Eurocheques can be cashed immediately and travellers' cheques are cashed on proving the identification. Major credit cards like AmEx, VISA, Diners Club, MasterCard, Access, JCB or Eurocard are also in use in Turkey, being accepted at most establishments (Look for the sign).

United Kingdom

(davidal@baseng.comm.mot.com)

Currency:
Pound Sterling £1 = 100 pence
Coins: £5 (extremely rare), £2 (rare), £1, 50p, 20p, 10p, 5p, 2p, 1p
Notes: £50, £20, £10, £5, £1 (scottish)
New, smaller 5p and 10p coins have been introduced in 1990 and 1992, respectively and the old 1 shilling/ 5p coins are no longer valid (and the 2 shillings/10p coins are being phased out now).
Scottish and English notes are used interchangeably esp. in Scotland
ATMs:
Cirrus at Midland Bank, Lloyds Bank, and others..
Plus at the Halifax Building Society,Post Office Girobank, Abbey National Building Society, and others
Visa in nearly every single bank.
Yes, plenty of ATMs at Heathrow and Gatwick.
Credit cards:
Accepted everywhere. Access/MasterCard/Visa/AmEx/Diners for charges higher then UK£5
Travelers checks:
Easy to cash at any bank. There are often charges...
Scottish notes:
The 'Bank of England' is a part of the U.K. government. Scottish banks are independant companies. Their right to continue producing currency goes back to the formation of the United Kingdom in 1707.Scottish notes are issued by 'Bank of Scotland', 'The Royal Bank of Scotland' (AKA The Royal Bank) and 'Clydesdale Bank'. ATMs will almost invariably give you Scottish notes. If you ask nicely and explain you are leaving Scotland, Shops will happily swap the Scottish notes for English ones. Small shops may be unable to do this for large sums. 'The Royal Bank of Scotland' still produces £1 notes. These are used in preference to coins in Scotland and are the most difficult to use in England. In Northern Ireland 'The Bank of Ulster' issues notes under similar regulations to the Scottish banks. Scottish notes are recognized for exchange at U.K. rates throughout the EEC (in theory - don't risk it if you can help it). Note that there are also Northern Irish notes. Further on the Isle of Man and the Channel Isles (Jersey and Guernsey) they have their own coins and notes. These coins and notes can or can not be accepted in the remainder of the UK but it is best when you leave from these parts of the country to have English coins and notes only.