Warnings and Dangers in Prague: Money Exchange
Prague is renowned for its historical treasures and distinctive architecture, but it’s also a city where you need to carefully to check the details of every currency exchange transaction and also be on the look out for other scams and dangers.
Mixed Signage and Hidden Fees
Most exchange bureaus around the world position the buy/sell rates from right to left on their signage. The buy rate is typically lower than the sell rate. Some companies in Prague are known to switch the position of these rates without travelers realizing it until after the transaction is complete. To avoid this mistake, look for “Koupit” (Buy) and “Prodat” (Sell) before making any money exchange in Prague.
Another common surprise is the high fees that some currency exchange bureaus collect in Prague. These fees are rarely advertised and can be as high as 28 percent. Thus, it’s wise to verify the fees and review the final transaction details before signing and exchanging currency. It’s also advisable to count and recount your currency to ensure that you have received the precise amount of money indicated on your receipt.
Street Scammers in Tourist Areas
It can be tempting for you to accept money exchange services from street vendors in Stare Mesto or around Hlavní Nádraží Train Station who offer exchange rates that are superior to those offered by banks and currency exchange bureaus in Prague. Transfer of counterfeit currency is rare, as is the transfer of old Czech or Hungarian currency that is similar in appearance but far less valuable than Czech Koruna; nevertheless, it has been known to happen and you need to be on the lookout for this currency exchange scam in Prague.
If you use counterfeit currency, the police will arrest you and prosecute you for it; if you try to use Hungarian Forints or old Czech notes, vendors will not accept them. Moreover, some of the people on the street offering money exchange in Prague work with organized gangs of pickpockets and thieves who then target you after the transaction has been completed.
ATMs Are Reasonably Safe
ATMs are everywhere in Prague but should be used with caution. You should always check the machine for the presence of a skimmer before inserting your card and entering your PIN. Similar to currency exchange bureaus in Prague, read the exchange rate and fee details carefully before completing the transaction. Finally, it’s always wise for you to avoid using Prague’s many street ATMs at night as many are poorly lit and provide opportunities for pickpockets and thieves to ambush unsuspecting tourists. If you must use an ATM during the evening hours, it’s best to use one located in a hotel lobby or one that is enclosed and secured within a bank.
Editor’s note: The information contained on this page was compiled using real traveler reviews about money exchange in Prague.