Though the member of the Europena Union, the Czech Republic is not a member of the Eurozone and it has its own currency - the Czech Crown (CZK) - Koruna česká (Kč). Our banknotes and coins look like this:
(The ones crossed out are not valid anymore.)
Many of the shops accept Euro but you have to expect them having a rather poor exchange rate. Therefore it is the best to use Czech Crowns to pay in the shops. There is also no need to pay with EUR because you can pay with your debit card (almost) everywhere! All places that accept debit cards always accept at least Visa and MasterCard cards.
As of today (August, 7th 2019), the official exchange rate is 1 EUR = 25.720 CZK. You can always check the official exchange rate on the Czech National Bank's web pages.
There are several options how to exchange money:
- Going to exchange offices
- Going to banks
- Withdrawing from ATMs
Changing money in exchange offices
Exchange offices are places dedicated to changing currencies and thus should have the best rates. Sadly, there are several exchange offices which their owners use to scam people of their money. To avoid being scammed, please follow these simple rules:
- Always look on the rate of "We buy". That is how much CZK you get for 1 EUR.
- Do not change money in the exchange offices at the airport and in the Central (train) Station. They are scammers with poor rates luring you for claiming to have no exchange fees. Do you need to change some money urgently? Go to any grocery store and pay with EUR. They will give you change back in CZK (just give them small bank notes only) and have better rates then the exchange offices there.
- Be careful around the exchange offices in the city center. There are several places which, again, claim to have zero fees but have bad exchange rates.
- Always demand and take the receipt. With the receipt, you are allowed to reverse the exchange for three hours after the exchange (for any reason).
- If you exchange your money with a bad rate and the exchange office does not cooperate with you, call the police (phone number: 158) and explain them your situation. Do not be afraid to take picture or videos of the scammers to have a proof they are trying to scam you.
Conclusion to how to be safe? Always ask directly how much CZK you get for your EUR, they usually don't bother lying to you. Everything close to the official rate (let us say down to 1 EUR = 25 CZK) is okay for small money changes. And always demand and keep a receipt of the transaction for the possible refund.
Withdrawing money from ATMs
When withdrawing money from ATMs, you either exchange the currencies according to the bank's rates or to the ATM's owner's rates. You should always choose not to accept the conversion as the bank's rates are usually much better. Also be careful about fees for withdrawing from foreign cards in the Czech ATMs.
NB! Never use EURONET ATMs! They try to force foreigners to withdraw ridiculous amounts of money and then scam them with high fees and poor rates. If you would like to see it live, look at Janek Rubeš's video.