…But Have Been Afraid to Ask.
Let’s face it: traveling entails spending money. There’s no escape. But we can try to find our way to make the payments as comfortable as possible and limit the money we spend on currency conversion. Let us put some basic information about paying in Poland in one place.
Cash payment is probably the most fun way of paying. Learning to use the bills and coins of a foreign currency always gives a special taste to one’s holiday. And coins are great souvenirs in themselves! The currency in Poland is the Polish złoty. One złoty is subdivided into 100 groszy. But where can you get your złotys?
The easiest way is to visit an exchange office. You’ll probably get a better exchange rate in Poland than in your homeland. But to make it even more favorable, it’s best to avoid exchanging money at places crowded by tourists, e.g. airports, hotels or in the Old Town. You can also use ATM machines. There’s plenty of them everywhere. But to avoid any unpleasant surprises, don’t forget to check the exchange rate and any additional fees with your bank before you leave your country.
Many sellers accept cash payment in Euros. Should you be short of złotys, there’s a chance you will be able to settle your account in Euros at many megastores, clothes shops or gas stations, but it’s better to treat it as a last resort due to unfavorable exchange rates.
The disadvantage of cash is that you need to do some upfront planning and decide how much money you are going to take with you. You also need to carry it with you, which many people find uncomfortable, fearing that they might leave their wallet at some place in the sightseeing and photoshooting frenzy or have it stolen. Luckily, the majority of sellers accept credit and debit cards.
Before you come, make sure with your bank that you will be able to use your card in Poland. Visa and MasterCard are accepted all over Poland, but if you have a less popular kind of card, e.g. American Express or Diners Club, you probably won’t be able to pay with it. Make sure that you remember your card’s PIN code, you will need to enter it when making your payment. The terminal will also ask you whether you want to pay in PLN or in your home currency. There are pros and cons of both options. Verify with your bank which is better in your case.
Bear in mind that in Poland we don’t use checks. Bank transfers are a very popular method of payment.
To sum up, before you leave your country:
– verify with your bank that you will be able to use your card in Poland
– make sure that you remember your PIN code
– ask your bank about the exchange rate and currency redenomination fees or any other fees that apply.