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GBP to PLN: Best way to get good exchange rate?


tankacz 3 | 17
14 Jan 2011 #1
Hi there.
I am moving to Poland in July and will be setting up a bank account there.
I will be taking a few thousand in GBP. What is the best way for me to do this and get a good
rate ?
Straight into the bank, change at a Kantor, or is there a better way ?
Many thanks :-)
alexw68
14 Jan 2011 #2
Go to the Kantor with a good size sum (ideally 4-figure) - that way you'll get more than the rate advertised on the door, which is still considerably better than what you'll get in the bank.

Also, given the size of the transaction, for the good of your nerves you may want to keep the walking distance from the kantor to the bank relatively short :)
terri 1 | 1,665
14 Jan 2011 #3
No. 1. WAIT till the rate is favourable for exchanging large amounts.
2. Go round and see what the various kantors are offering
3. When decided - Go to a kantor and ask them if they have a separate room - sometimes another door where you can exchange large sums - that is what I do.

4. Open a bank account - ascertain what the rates are for bonds (lokata) and place money in the best paying one.
5. If you go directly to the bank - they will charge commission (higher than kantor).
6. Read carefully the rules and regulations about taking large sums of money into Poland.. Better to take it in smaller chunks. (a few thousand.,.. - I took it to mean approx 15 to 20 thousand)
delphiandomine 85 | 18,254
14 Jan 2011 #4
6. Read carefully the rules and regulations about taking large sums of money into Poland.. Better to take it in smaller chunks. (a few thousand.,.. - I took it to mean approx 15 to 20 thousand)

There's no such rules for intra-EU transfers - you only have to declare entering/leaving the EU with more than 10k in Euro.
terri 1 | 1,665
14 Jan 2011 #5
I thought it also applied when you entered Poland from the UK - but I could be wrong. I will check this as going to Poland at the weekend.
delphiandomine 85 | 18,254
14 Jan 2011 #6
I thought it also applied when you entered Poland from the UK - but I could be wrong.

No, not anymore. These rules aren't that old - maybe about 5 years?

There should be big posters near the exit from Customs about this.

gov.uk/bringing-cash-into-uk
peterweg 37 | 2,321
14 Jan 2011 #7
There's no such rules for intra-EU transfers - you only have to declare entering/leaving the EU with more than 10k in Euro.

Not true. I got pulled flying UK to Poland with just under £10k, they told me I had to declare anything over 5000 euro.
A bit of a surprise to me, but they were adamant. I got questioned and searched. However, a bank statement and ATM withdrawal slips satisfied them that it was legal.

The Kantor I use only takes 0.3%, for any amount, so I can't image you could get a better deal. I take the money in £1000 lots - I took £10k once and it came up short £130 when they counted it. They ripped me off.
delphiandomine 85 | 18,254
15 Jan 2011 #8
Not true. I got pulled flying UK to Poland with just under £10k, they told me I had to declare anything over 5000 euro.
A bit of a surprise to me, but they were adamant. I got questioned and searched. However, a bank statement and ATM withdrawal slips satisfied them that it was legal.

Usual crap from HMRC's monkeys. They really are a law unto themselves.

I actually suspect declaring anything to HMRC for intra-EU travel would be entirely against EU rules - there should be no customs controls between countries.

Having said this, Schengen is an utter pain in terms of being able to find out about the legality or otherwise of something in a country.
Piotr123 1 | 54
15 Jan 2011 #9
Hi there.I am moving to Poland in July and will be setting up a bank account there.I will be taking a few thousand in GBP. What is the best way for me to do this and get a goodrate ?Straight into the bank, change at a Kantor, or is there a better way ?Many thanks :-)

Don't walk around with that much money! Criminals are on the lookout outside currency exchange vendors. You will definitely be taken for easy prey.

Traveler's cheques are safer or a credit card to make small withdrawals at ATMs inside bank offices. You can also use the credit card to pay at hotels or other locations you deem safe.

It is safest to take a small sum of banknotes with you. Exchange half the sum at your embarkation point and the other half at your destination.

Hotels can often provide currency exchange services and and this is safer than walking around town with a large sum of money. Better safe than sorry, right?

Just don't exchange large sums at the hotel as the exchange rate will most likely be quite bad. If you need a large sum of money to make a purchase then it is always safest to use the bank if it is possible and the money is legal.
terri 1 | 1,665
15 Jan 2011 #10
One piece of really good advice: Never draw attention to yourself. Carry money in a Lidl/Aldi carrier bag, dress really down, that way people don't think you've got 2 pennies to rub together. And always, but always look round before you do anything. Imagine that you're being followed and act accordingly.

I never have trouble exchanging up to 5K into PLN, even if I have to go every day. You have to deposit money in a bank pretty quickly or go straight home (with your Lidl/Aldi carrier bag).
Polcymrounig - | 4
15 Jan 2011 #11
Go to the HSBC bank here in the UK. They offer emigration/re-immigration services for people just like yourself. They have a branch in Warsaw and money can be drawn from cash points.

Get to know the cash points you are going to use. Some cash points will just refuse your card, not being able to recognise it, some charge a fee while some don't. HSBC advertise this service on TV. I have used them for this facility for a number of years, not just in Poland. They have the largest number of branches in the whole world. I know they have a branch in Warsaw, I've used it myself. Enquire whether they have any branches in Poland outside Warsaw. My experience of kantors is not very good and I shy away from them and I go back to to the days when there existed 'mobile' kantors, floating about hotel entrances and made a 'pssst-pssst' sound as you entered or left the premises.

The advice given by terri is very, very sound; please heed it, though don't be alarmed by it and don't carry the plastic bag in your pocket and take it out just for the purpose of putting the money into it next to the cash point. Take it out well away from the cash point and put something into it first, then approach the cash point. Remember, also, muggers were not born yesterday and are aware of these little tricks.
Chicago Pollock 7 | 504
15 Jan 2011 #12
Go to the HSBC bank here in the UK. They offer emigration/re-immigration services for people just like yourself. They have a branch in Warsaw and money can be drawn from cash points.

Yes, that's the way to do it and also for exchange rates on purchases credit card as much as possible.
OP tankacz 3 | 17
15 Jan 2011 #13
Thank you very much for you advice on this one.
I expect to be taking about 3-4k and was wondering how to do it.
Many thanks :-)
Wroclaw Boy
15 Jan 2011 #14
Carry money in a Lidl/Aldi carrier bag, dress really down, that way people don't think you've got 2 pennies to rub together. And always, but always look round before you do anything. Imagine that you're being followed and act accordingly.
I never have trouble exchanging up to 5K into PLN, even if I have to go every day. You have to deposit money in a bank pretty quickly or go straight home (with your Lidl/Aldi carrier bag).

you can keep £5K in a pocket easy, just spread it around a bit, wear some combat trousers or something, i prefer to keep it in the inside pocket of my jacket.

I take the money in £1000 lots - I took £10k once and it came up short £130 when they counted it. They ripped me off.

That happened to me at a bank, i was paying in 40,000 PLN, the lady behind the counter who looked so sweet and innocent said "thats a lot of money". I paid no attention and carried on talking to who i was with. Sure enough it came up 200 PLN short, now i wasnt in a position to argue as i didnt count the money. Later i questioned the counter and he said 100% it was correct.

Ive been back there a few times with large amounts hoping she will do it again, but not successful as yet. I'll catch her one day. Now I also watch them like a bloody hawk, if you dont thats their opportunity to slip a few notes under the table.
isthatu2 4 | 2,704
15 Jan 2011 #15
And always, but always look round before you do anything. Imagine that you're being followed and act accordingly.

actually,that looks like a bloomin good way to get yourself mugged....or arrested. Just be aware of your surroundings,go there on a "dry run" if you want,ie,check the place out,maybe change a small amount too and then youve an idea of he layout of your surroundings etc and can maybe feel what would seem out of place the next time you go there,dont what ever you do go there imagining you are being followed,you just start making yourself paranoid,and looking over your shoulder every couple of seconds wont help ....
Wroclaw 44 | 5,387
15 Jan 2011 #16
a lot of secret agent stuff here :)

I am moving to Poland in July

from the bank in the uk.... put the money in an inside, jacket pocket... seal the pocket with a couple of safety pins.... and that's it all the way to the kantor in Poland.

i'm sure u have a friend who can accompany u at this end.
Piotr123 1 | 54
15 Jan 2011 #17
y experience of kantors is not very good and I shy away from them and I go back to to the days when there existed 'mobile' kantors, floating about hotel entrances and made a 'pssst-pssst' sound as you entered or left the premises.

Oh, that brings back some funny memories.
OP tankacz 3 | 17
4 Mar 2011 #18
Thank you for your advice :-)
I took some money to Poland recently and opened an account with Millennium. (the only bank that would open an account with only a passport as required documentation)

I will need to take some more money to Poland in a few months. Now that I have a bank account would it make sense simply to transfer funds from my English bank account or do the same thing at the kantor ?
Wroclaw Boy
4 Mar 2011 #19
Now that I have a bank account would it make sense simply to transfer funds from my English bank account or do the same thing at the kantor ?

Depends on the currency, if your exchanging GBP to PLN via bank they will hit you on the exchange rate, the best thing to do is open a GBP account with Millenium, transfer GBP to GBP - bank to bank, then when youre in Poland draw out GBP then exchange that for PLN at a kantor then pay that into your PLN bank account.
Cardno85 31 | 976
4 Mar 2011 #20
(the only bank that would open an account with only a passport as required documentation)

WBK will do it as well, and if you are under 30 you can open a <30 account which charges you nothing, and you can even use any bankomat without charge.

Now that I have a bank account would it make sense simply to transfer funds from my English bank account

NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!! I would also say a big no-no to using a cheque. Cheques were never so big in Poland and it takes about 6-10 weeks to get a foreign cheque cleared. Also, if you are transferring money from a bank here to Poland, they will charge you about 30pound (much more than even private money transfer services!) and it takes at least a month to transfer through.
OP tankacz 3 | 17
4 Mar 2011 #21
Oh..Ok
Hadn't thought of that !
Many thanks :-)
Wroclaw Boy
5 Mar 2011 #22
it takes at least a month to transfer through.

A month ? what bank are you using, its usually three days although my bank transfers from UK to Poland in 2 hours for a £17 transfer fee.


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