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Best place to exchange money in Poland?


Suezeekay 2 | 4
6 Mar 2010  #1
I'm going back to Poland to have some dental work finished up in Jelenia Gora. Last time I was there I used ATMS for zloty and it worked out fine. My son is coming with me this time and insists for some reason he wants to carry cash and exchange it at banks for zloty. I was under the impression the ATM rate was cheaper, the exchange rate was better, and of course it's more convenient to use ATMS. But, I could be wrong. Anyone know which is better? Also, banks here in the states are open all day and on saturdays. How about there?
beelzebub - | 444
6 Mar 2010  #2
ATM is always the best exchange rate. Banks depend on the brand and branch. Some Millenium branches are open to 7 or 8pm on Weekdays and Saturday but all are closed on Sunday.

Bringing cash dollars is large amounts is stupid since if you lose it or it gets stolen you are screwed.
OP Suezeekay 2 | 4
6 Mar 2010  #3
Thanks. It's never a good idea to carry around large amounts of cash wherever you are but as his mom of course he doesn't listen to me.
beelzebub - | 444
6 Mar 2010  #4
Most travelers give stupid advice. About 80% of the stuff people told me I HAD to do when I first went abroad was nonsense. NOBODY uses travelers checks or those lame hidden waist wallets. Just act like you would at home and all will be fine. Sensible is sensible all over.

I spent years living in Warsaw walking around at all hours in all parts of the city and never once had a problem. I still can't figure out what is so dangerous about Praga yet everyone still acts like it is Lebanon.

A hearty "f*ck off" will run most Polish chavs away. They are more talk than action. I am sure they expect an older woman to be an easy target. Just use common sense.
scottie1113 7 | 898
7 Mar 2010  #5
I just go to a kantor. Since I seldom exchange money and only in small amounts when i need euros, and the rates are about the same, it works for me.
celticbrooder - | 17
15 Apr 2010  #6
Generally, your best exchange rate is when you make purchases with your card (Visa?) - it's closer to the "commercial rate" (the rate that large instituions get when exchanging funds - your transactions are handled in a similar way).

Second should be most ATMs - the ATMs for EuroNet seem to give me the best rates
Third is the large kantor chains in the city - NEVER at the airport!! - and the smaller ones have a pretty wide range... could be good, could be horrible.

The difference between ATMs and the large Kantors is a matter of a couple of groszy...
$100 at 2.81 vs. 2.83 is 281zl vs. 283zl... 2zl doesn't (shouldn't ;) make a big difference...
On the other hand, Credit Card transactions (purchases) can be a much as 0.10zl better... each purchase probably not making a big difference (unless you're buying a car ;) but, several purchases can add up... also, some US banks are beginning to charge for overseas transactions/conversions at ATMs but, because of the way the system works, it would be very difficult to process overseas credit card transactions (purchases) separately. (i.e. with the Debit-style credit cards).

I've been living in Wroclaw for over 4 years now, and my retirement check still goes to a credit union in Wisconsin and I have been accessing my money via my bank card (Visa Debit) the entire time (both ATM and credit card purchases)... the only bummer is when the card is lost or damaged... getting a replacement while out of country is a ral pain... and you go hungry 'til the card shows up and you have access to your cash... :-/
Fuzzyduck
15 Apr 2010  #7
and of course I prefer ATM

RESPECT!
Any girl that admits to that is a little gem in my book.
mulsie 2 | 13
15 Apr 2010  #9
i also get the best rate by far in the independent exahanges kiosks. rates in uk/irish banks are a lot worse than in poland. polish banks also charge a high enough commission rate.

have a look around the town. you'll see a couple of kiosks and just compare on that. if you're staying in a hotel just request a safety deposit box and why not just get a taxi back from where you're staying and for a euro or two...
groovyg 2 | 66
9 May 2010  #10
in poland banks have bad exchange rates comparing to some street shops (called 'kantors'), but you really need to go around the city to find a good shop. the differences between the shops can be 100's of %. seriously. if you don't have patience for this, just use a reputable bank or atm.
Wroclaw 44 | 5,388
9 May 2010  #11
the differences between the shops can be 100's of %.

pound - zloty (as an example)

If the official rate is given as 4.90

Kantors will offer about 4. 80

you might find one that offers about 4.82 which would be considered good.
Harrys Dad
10 May 2010  #12
There is a building with a huge sign INTERACO or similiar on MARCHUKAUSKA street going north by arkadfia there is a kantor there the best prices they give in town or maybe Poland if you exchange over 5000pln you can check the price on internet and they will match that its from my personal experience
skubus 7 | 42
11 Dec 2010  #13
Merged:Better currency exchange for my money: Bank or Kantor?

Hi all, quick question for you all. Where will i get a better exchange rate for my euro? Bank or Kantor? Many thanks
peter_olsztyn 6 | 1,098
11 Dec 2010  #14
Where will i get a better exchange rate for my euro? Bank or Kantor?

in kantor of course
skysoulmate 14 | 1,297
11 Dec 2010  #15
What is Kantor? Currency exchange office like Forex?

Which country are you going to? I travel for a living so I do lots of currency purchases.

From my experience the best rates are usually when you use your debit card and make regular withdrawals from a local ATM. You get the best rate in a 24 hour period.

Then it's credit cards (master cards usually a better rate than visa).
Then it's bank purchases but it depends on the bank and the amount. The larger the amount the better rate/service fee.
Following that is currency exchangers but in my case the standard currency exchange fees are usually waived (crew member discount) and therefore I'd get a better deal here than in a bank. I posted it below the bank exchange assuming you do have to pay the service/exchange fee.

The difference between the best and the worst deals can be anywhere from a few per cent up to 8 per cent, that's the highest difference I've ever noticed.

Disclaimer - never use your ATM card in red china (hong kong and taiwan is ok).
YMMV, good luck.
Wroclaw Boy
12 Dec 2010  #16
What is Kantor?

Kantors are usually small booth like shops, privately owned and well known in Poland for exchanging cash for cash.
skubus 7 | 42
12 Dec 2010  #17
Many thanks for all the information folks..is there usually much of a difference between the two?(bank v kantor) i.e. would i get 5,6,7 groszy more per euro at the kantor than in a bank?
terri 1 | 1,620
12 Dec 2010  #18
Outside each Kantor you will find a display of the rates being offered. They are generally not the same ones in each kantor. You can always go inside any bank and ask for the rate of exchange, but generally, it will be lower than in a kantor. And remember the ones near the centre offer lower rates.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,625
12 Dec 2010  #19
Disclaimer - never use your ATM card in red china (hong kong and taiwan is ok).

Why not?
Wroclaw Boy
12 Dec 2010  #20
And remember the ones near the centre offer lower rates.

Airports are the worst and kantor chains usually dont barter, its the small private ones i find the best. They will most probably not barter on anything less than 1000 PLN's worth.
skysoulmate 14 | 1,297
12 Dec 2010  #21
Why not?

The banks will NOT reimburse you if their own ATMs spit out bogus (fake) yuan (rmb) bills. Has happened to several of my friends and the banks will not refund the money or issue legit money bills. Here's a typical scenario:

At first they'll say the hotel is responsible (the ATM is inside the Hyatt's lobby). The hotel manager says it's the bank's responsibility. So you end up going to the nearest branch and ask to speak to a supervisor. The manager persists that the money couldn't have come from their ATM. When you say there's video evidence (hotel lobby has several cameras) the tone changes and now he's implying that since you have counterfeit money on you then you're actually breaking the law! You're a criminal!

They'll make you leave the money and walk out of the bank! This despite having video proof of the ATM spitting out fake money.

Note, I'm not talking about some very well designed Chinese fake bills. No, rather discolored pieces of paper that happen to be the same size as their 100 yuan (~$15) bills. The size is the only thing that is correct. Wrong paper, wrong color, wrong everything, no text, you get the picture. if someone wants to go shopping they usually exchange $500 plus at a time (you can buy beautiful pearls in shanghai :)

Last time this happened a friend got over $600 in fake local currency. This is not that uncommon in red china, supposedly local cops are in on this "venture". So no ATMs in red china is my advice.

PS. The ultimate irony of it all is that if you have dollar or euro bills and try to exchange them for the local money at the hotel they will not accept ANY bills from you that have any tears in them, I mean it has to be almost perfect.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,625
12 Dec 2010  #22
So no ATMs in red china is my advice.

That's really interesting, thanks :)
convex 20 | 3,978
12 Dec 2010  #23
So no ATMs in red china is my advice.

Better yet, get in touch with the local newspaper and let them know what happened. It might not make it into the paper, but the CPC will get a whiff of it. Might even get someone executed...either because their fighting corruption, or because they weren't cut in...
skysoulmate 14 | 1,297
12 Dec 2010  #24
We have, numerous times. Shanghai Daily even thanked us for one of the emails, that's about it. Deaf ears.
JumpmanPro - | 6
3 Jul 2011  #25
Hi,

I'm flying to Wroclaw at the end of this month.

Can any locals list 3 or 4 "Kantor" directly in or around the Rynek where I can get the best exchange rate for Euros? I've heard that EUR 1 = 3.49-3,59 PLZ is the best exchange right now.

Thanks in advance.
Wroclaw 44 | 5,388
3 Jul 2011  #26
Can any locals list 3 or 4 "Kantor" directly in or around the Rynek where I can get the best exchange rate for Euros?

they all give the same rate. at least within a couple of cents.
Shanghai4444
3 Jul 2011  #27
That's interesting. I've visited Shanghai 3 times this year (business) already. Each time used ATM several times (5-6). Never experienced this problem. I don't say this is the lie but I wonder how ATM knows that fake money which it gives go to a tourist not to the local person? Unless of course it is programmed by Bank employee that way (which is rather difficult to believe).
pweg
7 Jul 2011  #28
wonder how ATM knows that fake money which it gives go to a tourist not to the local person? Unless of course it is programmed by Bank employee that way (which is rather difficult to believe).

The Machines are in hotel lobbys
groovyg 2 | 66
13 Aug 2011  #29
As stated before, change in a Kantor not at the airport. But do shop around since rates between kantors vary dramatically and many of them have shamelessly horrible rates. Have the bank's exchange rate in mind as a point of comparison. If you couldn't be hassled with all this, just go to a bank.
Specjalista 3 | 43
22 Apr 2012  #30
Merged: Best place to exchange money?

Hello,

I need to change a lot of pounds into złoty (£350+) and have heard several opinions about where I should change the money. Some people say that I'd be better off just withdrawing it from cash machines in Poland whereas some say I should change it in the kantor in Poland.

I could also do it at the post office in England which I hear is quite reasonable.

Thanks for any help.


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