Prague Using Cash Or Card

Cash or Card in Prague

Using Cash or Card in Prague

Last Updated: Jan 18, 2018 @ 4:04 pm with 10465 views


It’s a common problem in any city i.e. to use cash or card. If you are in your own country you don’t think twice about using your debit card for things worth only a couple of quid but what do you do when you get to Prague. Read this post and save money.

I’m not sure if anybody still uses Travellers Cheques so it comes down the three options of either credit card, debit card or cash.

Using cards in Prague is fine so long as they display the sign which about 90% of places do but to be safe before you start ordering just confirm that they accept the method of payment that you’ll be using. Be aware though that your bank will be charging you about 3% of each payment/withdrawal transaction plus a separate single payment charge usually between 50p and a pound. This means that using cards for low value items like non-alcoholic drinks and snacks is an expensive option. So in cases where the total is less than CZK300 (about 10 pounds) then cash is better.

Getting Cash – The 100 Euro Test

I’m not going to go into all the charges and foreign exchange percentages. Here I just point out the difference in using 5 methods. Just as an example, below you can see that if I spent 100 Euros using each method, how much Czech Koruna I would get:

Exchange Office for Cash: I spend 100 Euros and I get CZK2520.
Bank ATM Debit Card – Local: I spend 100 Euros and I get CZK2419.
Bank ATM Credit Card – Local: I spend 100 Euros and I get CZK2406.
Bank ATM Debit Card – DCC: I spend 100 Euros and I get CZK2356.
Bank ATM Credit Card – DCC: I spend 100 Euros and I get CZK2341.
Euronet ATM – DCC: I spend 100 Euros and I get CZK2290.

Exchange rates will vary but this should be telling you it’s cheaper to exchange cash at a good rate, use a bank ATM if you have to and AVOID private ATM’s like Euronet.

Using Cards – DCC and Local  **Really Important to Know **

You’ll notice that against the Credit and Debit cards above there is an option for DCC or Local. DCC is Dynamic Currency Conversion. When withdrawing from an ATM it is the question “Do you accept this conversion?” so always answer no. When paying its the “Do want want to pay in the currency of your card or the local currency” so always answer local currency. The reason for this is that the card provider will ALWAYS offer a better exchange rate than the host country. As a rough rule debit cards will be charging 3% plus a fixed charge, credit cards will be charging 4.5% and DCC will see you paying around 6%.

Where do I Recommend for Exchanging Cash?

On the day one-off deals pop up all the time so just note if there is a minimum cash transaction required to get the published rate and as usual the best non-commission rates have the LEAST amount of difference between the buy and sell rates. For consistently good rates I recommend a company called on the corner of Maiselova and Kaprova which is 100 metres from the Old Town Square. The exchange rates are published online daily and they have an online calculator. Change “Chci Koupit” (buy) to “Chci Prodat” (sell), enter the amount and the currency that you will be changing and finally click the “Kolik Zaplatim” button. It shows you the exact amount that you will receive at the window. I’ve tried this out at 50 Euros and 100 Euros to see that the exchange rate and amount transacted is the same. Plus before you accept the notes you can ask for smaller denominations.

If you are using a card to get cash then check my How to Use a Czech ATM post and use a Raiffeisen Bank if possible as you can choose to have lower denomination notes.

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Hi

    Let assume I will be having Euros on my Visa card. Can I pay in a big market/discounter like for example Lidl in Euro? How this will look like in practice? Will Lidl take an equivalent of price for products in Euro in 1:1 or will they translate my Euro to koronas and will charge me for this translation?
    In the end, would you recommend such a way of payment, or should I first get koronas into my bank account/card and pay with use of them? Which method would you recommend?

    1. Hi Lukasz, for detail you will need to contact the issuing bank but what would normally happen if you are paying for something in CZK with an EUR card is that you’ll be asked if you want to pay in CZK or EUR. If you select EUR then you will be asked to accept a conversion rate. That’s the Lidl conversion rate. If you decline then you take the bank rate of the card issuer which is usually better. Depending on your bank card charges I recommend not using a card for anything less than CZK200.

    1. Hi Mia,
      The exchange place mentioned on that page is the only one that I recommend. You may find a better deal in other places on any given day but I’ve used this place for a few years now. No commission and a fair rate even if you change a small amount. If you use the calculator on their website on the day you visit you’ll see exactly how much you’ll get. Jason

  2. Hi. Jason

    I am arriving on a sun noon via Qatar airlines (transit via Doha), not sure which airport terminal of arrival. I lijee to exchange some cash before boarding taxi that i’ve prebooked (Prague airport transfer via online and paying cash on arrival). Which exchange co should I go and location? Can I find as you recommended or till I reach city center? I hold a Citibank HK ATM and not sure if I can find an ATM machine to draw cash in airport or again in city area? I am staying in Boscolo Prague, Autograph Collection in Praha 1. is the hotel far from or Citibank ATM machine? Wonder if tge taxi driver can drop me at on the way to the hotel? Sorry for the long queries and thanks in advance.

    1. Hi Sally, Qatar Airways land at Terminal 1. When you exit customs turn to your right and walk towards Terminal 2. You’ll find a Raiffeisen Bank ATM which has now taken over from CitiBank here in Czech. Withdraw CZK1500 i.e. enough for the taxi (CZK590) and some spare cash. Then ask the hotel to direct you to or you can find their Old Town address on that website (the corner of Kaprova and Maiselova). It’s a 10 minute walk from your hotel. Enjoy your trip, Jason.

        1. Hi Kristi, I would use the Raiffeisen (Black/yellow colours) ATM in the T2 arrival hall as you can usually choose the denomination of the notes that you’ll get.

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