Currency in Poland

View of the EC1_Complex, Lodz. Photo by Robert_Zapedowski

The official currency is the Polish Zloty or Złoty.

Exchanging Currency

The best way to exchange currency in Poland is to visit a bank, ATM, or Kantor (currency exchange service).

Kantors are counter exchanges located in spots like hotels, airports or border crossings. They are normally open from 9 AM to 7 PM on weekdays, and until 2 PM on Saturdays. Busy tourist areas may have 24-hour Kantor services.

Banks are easy to find in Poland, especially in larger cities. Be sure to check the hours of a bank before visiting, though, as they vary. ATMs are even more common and can be found at airports, supermarkets, and other popular places. ATMs are available for use 24 hours per day.

Traveller’s Checks in Poland

In Poland, traveller’s checks can be exchanged at some banks. They cannot, however, be exchanged at Kantors. Traveller’s checks were commonly used in the past as a safe way to carry money abroad but now there are quicker ways of getting cash, like at an ATM. Traveller’s checks have experienced a decline in popularity so you may have trouble finding a bank that will cash your traveller’s check. Banks that do will charge a fee for the service.

Overall, traveller’s checks simply aren’t a great choice. When in Poland, you’re better off using an ATM or a prepaid card.

Using credit cards and debit cards in Poland

Credit cards are widely accepted in Poland, especially around tourist attractions. The most commonly used cards are Europay International, MasterCard, Visa, and American Express. If you have a card from a less popular vendor, find out if they can be used in Poland before you go.

Many banks will charge you a foreign transaction fee whenever you purchase something overseas, usually equal to 3%.

Whenever traveling abroad, be sure to inform your card issuer where you are going and when. This way, they won’t erroneously suspect that your card has been stolen and accidentally freeze your card.

When it comes to cash, it’s always recommended to carry some in case of an emergency. However, having large amounts of cash on you can be risky, so only take what you need. Use a credit card or debit card whenever possible to eliminate the need to carry too much cash with you.

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ATMs in Poland

ATMs are very common in Poland. Poland has a network of ATMs that are connected to all international networks called bankomat.

Use the online locators to find the nearest ATM for your card to plan where you will get cash once you’re in Poland:

MasterCard ATM locator (CIRRUS)

American Express ATM locator

Maestro ATM locator

Depending on the ATM and on your bank, you may be charged a variety of fees when using one. Consult with your home bank to see what they will charge you for using an ATM abroad. If your bank charges a flat fee per transaction, try to make large, infrequent withdrawals to prevent paying that fee over and over.

The ATM itself may have its own fees as well. However, it will almost always be cheaper to use an ATM in Poland than to exchange cash from home due to the exchange rate.

If you’re given the option to be charged in your home currency, decline it. Always choose to withdraw in Zloty (local currency) rather than in your home currency when using an ATM. Otherwise, the ATM has a license to mark up the exchange rate you’re getting. This is known as ‘Dynamic Currency Conversion’ and it will cause you to pay extra.

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