The Czech Republic joined the Europian Union in 2004 but the switch to the Euro hasn’t been made yet so the official currency is still the Koruna (Czech Crown). It is however sometimes possible to use Euro’s in larger shops, restaurants and petrol stations.
Exchange rates are fixed on the Prague Stock Market and the Czech Crown is fully convertible on world currency markets.
The Crown is further divided into Hellers. (1 CZK = 100 Hellers)
Notes come in , 50, 100, 200, 500, 1,000, 2,000 and 5,000 CZK denominations whilst coins have values of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 CZK and 50 hellers.
It is extremely easy to find a cashpoint or BANKOMAT in Prague and most have several different language options, accept all major credit and debit cards and offer the possibility of having a receipt.
If you are withdrawing a large sum of money in one go, the machine will then probably issue you with 2000 CZK notes. It is therefore a good idea to enter a strange amount such as 7800 CZK rather than 8000 CKZ as then you will have some smaller notes for smaller purchases until you get to a restuarant or department store where you can use the large notes!
A credit card and bank card is all you really need for a trip to Prague but,should you want to exchange money here are some of the options:
Local banks are by far the best option as they offer far lower rates of commision than private companies. You can shop around before carrying out the transaction to see which bank is ofering the best rate that day.
Private exchange companies.
There are private money exchange facilites on almost every street corner throughout the city, offering variable rates of commision which is sometimes negotiable, depending on how much you are exchanging.
Always be sure of exactly how much you will receive before going through with the transaction.
Hotels and Airports
Whilst changing money at airports or hotels is a convenient option it is usually extremely expensive and should only be used as a last resort.
Whilst this option is declining in popularity it still has clear benefits. The cheques can be replaced if lost or stolen, and can be used in any country to obtain the currency of that country.
Using your credit card to buy currency is a good option. Just beware that, as the transactions are not converted instantly, you might end up with a less pleasing conversion than on the day of the transaction.
Exchanging money on the street
Under no circumstances should this be considered. There are a multitude of reliable money changing facilities throughout Prague . Private exchanges with individuals on the street will usually result in you receiving counterfeit Czech currency or even the currency of another East European country such as Hungary or Bulgaria.
Once you have your Czech currency be extremely careful to make sure that it isn’t stolen! Pickpocketing is rife particularly in tourist areas and on public transport where it can be difficult to keep track of your bag or wallet.
It is always a good idea to only take out the money you need for that day and to keep your money in a different place to your bank card so that if one gets stolen you have the other. Never put all your important belongings in one bag ot purse and keep a small amount back at the hotel for emergencies.
If the worst happens.............
If your bag gets stolen and you don’t have enough money to last for the rest of the trip, the best thing to do is to contact Western Union. This company is located in over 200 countries and make it easy for family or friends to quickly send some money out to you - either by phone, online or in person at a Western Union office.
Once they have completed the procedure, they will be given a Money Transfer Control Number (MTCN) . You can then go into any Western Union branch in Prague, give this number and receive your money!
It is easy to find a Western Union branch in Prague – look for the sign in Exchange office windows. Here are two of the central ones
Western Union Wenceslas Square 15
if you are walking up Wencleslas Square towards the National Museum, this office is on the right hand side just before you get to Jindrisska – the street where the trams cut through the square.
Western Union Železná 1
This is the street which leads from Old Town Square up towards Wencleslas Square – the office is on the left hand side just a few metres after leaving Old Town Square.