Even though Hungary is in Europe, the EURO is not accepted, we still use HUF - hungarian forints. So when you arrive to Hungary the one of your first tasks will be change money. But it is really matter where. Here is some advice to save some money.
Of course you can use your bank cards (almost) anywhere in the city, but there will be situations when cash is needed. You can change easily the most popular currencies like EUR, USD, GBP, JBY, but now lets talk about the most popular one, the euro. The actual exchange rate is around
1 € = ~315 HUF.
The exact number is depends on the dialy rate, but if it's less than 300, something is not ok with that place so
not change there
There are a lot of change offices where they are happy to change your money, but always check the rates - that's the rule number one! There is an exception: don't waste your time to change rates, just simply
do not change money at the airport, train stations or place called "interchange".
There is an excellent article on the WeLoveBudapest webpage about PLACES TO AVOID:
.. here are a few places to stay away from, because you will almost always pay steep rates to change money there:
Airport currency-exchange booths: almost everything is more expensive at airports than in town, and money-exchange booths are no exception – if you must change money at the airport to function in Hungarian society, buy the minimum amount of forints necessary before you will be in Budapest’s city center, where more reasonable options abound.
Currency-exchange places near train stations or in touristy areas: similarly to airports, money-changing booths in other major transport hubs often offer expensive rates, and any currency-exchange booth in an area of the city with many international visitors will have to pay high rents for their locations, the cost of which they pass on to customers – usually if you walk just a block or two away from these areas, you will find better options.
Banks: although many Budapest banks offer currency-exchange services, and this may seem like the safest option, be aware that banks usually charge extremely expensive rates compared with smaller independent money-changing services that are usually found just a few steps away.
Currency-exchange places open late at night or non-stop: since the proprietors of these businesses know that their customers don’t have many options if they need to change money after-hours, they also know that they can get away with charging extra-high rates for the exact same service available for more reasonable prices during the daytime.
Shady guys offering currency exchange on the street: never do business with money-changers who approach you on the sidewalk or in other public places – it is a common scam in Budapest that these guys use sleight-of-hand and other tricks to sneakily replace high-denomination bills with low-denomination bills, resulting in the loss of potentially huge sums of money."
One more important thing is about the cash machines!
Use only bank's ATM
There is also a lot of cash machines at the airport and touristic areas which called "ATM". These private cash machnies will take some extra money out from your pocket, because of their high standing expenses. Use the bank's cash machines, called OTP, K&H, CIB, Budapest Bank, MKB, Erste, Raiffeisen, etc.
Ok, now you informed about the bad places so the next topic is
where to change?
There are plenty of currency-exchange booths found on almost every block of downtown Budapest - just check their rates (rule nr. 1). If that's close to the dialy exchange rate and they don't have a big commission, that's your place. There are so many places like CorrectChange, and places like that.
Of course we will help you to find the best place in advance around our traning center or around your accomodation in Budapest.
After you changed your money, there is a lot of good place to spend it. Budapest is a vibrating city with full of great and cheap restaurants, bar, pubs and millions of attractions. So we egg you to
explore the city and have fun
- of course after your training classes and at the weekends. :)