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Cash & ATMs in Hungary: ATMs, fees, limits, FX exchange, cards

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cash currency exchange atms in hungary

Hungary, a country rich in history and thermal spas, provides a distinct combination of cultural heritage and natural beauty. Hungary captivates visitors with its diverse attractions, which range from the architectural splendour of Budapest to the rolling vineyards of Tokaj, the historic castles of Eger, and the serene waters of Lake Balaton. Understanding the local cash, ATMs in Hungary, and payment options is critical for navigating the financial landscape and providing a seamless experience. This guide will provide you with the financial knowledge you need to comfortably and confidently explore Hungary’s enchanting landscapes and vibrant cities, immersing yourself in its rich traditions and culinary delights.

Will I need cash in Hungary or can I use only a card?

In Hungary, urban areas such as Budapest widely accept credit and debit cards, reducing the need for cash. Carry cash for smaller purchases or in more rural areas where digital payments are not popular.

Cash, while less important in cities, is essential for transactions in smaller towns, local markets, or for services such as public transport where digital payments may not be available.

You’ll need cash for:
Purchasing local transport tickets
Traditional markets and small vendors, especially in rural areas and at outdoor events.
Tips
Smaller cafes and eateries, particularly in more remote locations.
Entry fees for many local baths and thermal spas

You can use your card at:
Hotels
Car rentals
Tourist attractions in Budapest and other major cities.
Urban restaurants and bars.
Major retail chains and shopping malls
Cultural sites such as museums, galleries, and theatres.

Please keep in mind that some restaurants in touristy areas require a minimum spend to swipe a card.

What currencies are accepted? Can US dollars, euros, or pounds be used in Hungary?

Hungary’s primary and most accepted currency is the Hungarian Forint (HUF). Note denominations include Ft 500, 1000, 2000, 5000, 10,000, and 20,000.

Euros are accepted in many tourist destinations, large hotels, and some shops, particularly in Budapest. However, for the majority of transactions, particularly in small towns or for everyday purchases, the local currency is strongly preferred. US Dollars and Pounds are generally not accepted.

How to obtain local currency and money in Hungary?

There are three main ways to get cash in Hungary – ATMs, currency exchanges, and money transfers.

Pro Tip: Avoid purchasing Forint in your home country as its not a widely popular currency around the world. So it will be difficult to find at home (outside Europe), and if you do, the exchange rate will be low.

Where can you find ATMs in Hungary?

There are more than 4,800 ATMs in Hungary. More than 15 commercial and specialised banks in Hungary run them. Many of them can be found on main streets in cities, with a few options also available in smaller towns in Hungary.

ATMs are commonly found at:

Major airports
Market and town squares.
Every major town has its main tourist streets.
Shopping malls.
Food lanes.
Bank branches.
Some corporate buildings.

The following are the locations where ATMs will be difficult to find:

Small airports.
Islands.
Regional bus stops.
Interior of the villages.
In small towns, off the main roads.
Remote resorts and retreats.

Currency exchanges in Hungary

You can use these places to exchange money in Hungary:

Authorised currency exchange centres: You will find them in all touristy destinations branded as currency exchanges mainly near the market square in Budapest.
Banks: Bank branches can also easily convert your currency to forint, especially from currencies like US dollars, Euros, Pounds, Japanese Yen, Thai Baht, and Singapore dollars. Expect a pay a commission of 0.5% to 2% per transaction.
Hotels and airports: Airports have lots of currency exchanges and so do many large and small hotels. But the exchange rates are not great.

Pro-tip:
Don’t exchange at airports as rates are poor
Don’t exchange at the black market
Bring new notes as damaged, dirty notes will get you lesser rates or higher fees

Which type of cards are accepted in Hungary?

ATMs in Hungary will primarily accept Visa, Mastercard, Cirrus, Plus, JCB, and UnionPay. Don’t expect them to accept American Express, Diners, Discover, or Rupay cards.

Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted for swipe transactions. You may be able to use your Amex only in a few places.

Currency exchanges prefer hard cash to exchange. If you need to swipe a card, use Visa or Mastercard. Please be aware of the fees you will incur if you use your card at a currency exchange.

Are ATMs in Hungary comparable to other countries?

Yes, very much. The ATMs are modern in appearance and operation, similar to those found in the US, UK, Europe, Australia, and India. Some of them take your card completely inside during the transaction, so remember to take it after withdrawing cash from such ATMs.

ATMs can also offer currency conversion options such as ‘With Conversion’/’Accept Conversion’ or ‘Without Conversion’/’Decline Conversion’. To avoid optional extra fees, select ‘Without Conversion’ or ‘Decline Conversion’.

ATMs in Hungary are most commonly found in the following banks:

Unicredit
OTP Bank
K&H Bank
Raiffeisen
Erste Bank
CIB Bank

Other banks have ATMs that accept international debit and credit cards.

What are ATMs called in Hungary?

The words ‘ATM’ or ‘Bankomat’ are commonly used, or signage displays the bank name without the word ‘ATM’.

ATM PIN types

ATMs in Hungary typically accept 4-digit PINs.

For swiping, Chip-and-PIN cards are common, but merchants also accept magnetic stripe cards.

Languages at ATMs and currency exchanges in Hungary

ATMs and currency exchanges in Hungary offer two language options by default: Hungarian and English. Some provide additional options, such as German and French. You get to select this option at the start of the transaction itself. If you don’t understand these languages, that’s okay. Use Google Translate’s camera function to translate the options on your phone in real-time. Please keep in mind that these translations are not always completely accurate, so don’t rush through the transaction.

You can also interact in the two languages mentioned above at currency exchanges in Hungary to get your money.

ATM fees and withdrawal limits in Hungary

Withdrawal limit: ATMs typically limit withdrawals per transaction to between Ft 100,000 and Ft 200,000.

ATM fees: Here’s some good news. In Hungary, ATM fees range from Ft 0 to Ft 1200. This means that some ATM brands charge no fees!

Find free ATMs, currency exchanges, and money transfers in Hungary with ATM Fee Saver.

The ATM Fee Saver app on your mobile or web can help you find fee-free ATMs in Hungary, as well as currency exchange and money transfer locations. It lists the fees for using foreign cards at these ATMs, as well as the withdrawal limits. Use the app’s simple calculator to determine the exact withdrawal fees in Hungary. Once you’ve selected an ATM, the app’s navigation feature will direct you there. It provides information on 50 countries, including Hungary.

Avoid high fees at ATMs and currency exchanges in Hungary by…

Using fee-free ATMs throughout the country.
Using the ATM Fee Saver app to locate fee-free or low-cost ATMs.
Selecting Decline Conversion or Without Conversion during ATM transactions.
Getting fee-free cards from your home country.

Avoiding no-fee exchange offices at all costs when getting money in Hungary. If they say no fee, it means they factor their fee into the exchange rate. Nothing is ever free in currency exchange.
Avoiding using credit or debit cards for direct transactions.
Not buying Forint in your home country. It is not a popular currency, so you will get poor exchange rates.
Not bringing a lot of Forint back home because the exchange rate to sell will be poor.

Are Hungary’s currency exchanges and ATMs safe to use?

Typically, yes. Many ATMs feature cameras and security guards. Crime rates near ATMs are low. Pickpocketing is more common in touristy areas.

There have been isolated reports of cameras placed near ATM keypads in Hungary to obtain your PIN. So cover the PIN pad when using an ATM in Hungary!

Choose ATMs that are located inside bank branches over standalone machines. These are generally more secure and resistant to skimming devices.
Regularly check your credit card transactions using your bank’s mobile app or online banking platform. Report any unauthorised transactions as soon as they occur.
When accessing online banking or making credit card transactions over public Wi-Fi networks, exercise caution. Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to increase security.
During transactions, keep your credit card in your line of sight. Avoid giving your card to merchants who keep it out of sight.
Carry two cards when travelling. This way, if one card fails, you still have a backup option.

For currency exchanges, only use authorised and registered currency exchange locations.

Safe to carry cash while travelling in Hungary?

Yes, carrying cash while travelling in Hungary is generally safe. Of course, you will need to carry some cash with you at all times because you may need it for the various purposes mentioned earlier in the article. Here are some tips for keeping your money safe while travelling in Hungary:

Instead of keeping all of your cash in one place, spread it out across multiple pockets or wallets.
Consider keeping some cash in a safety belt or fanny pack.
Avoid flashing a lot of cash in public.
When paying, try not to reveal all of your cash.
It is safer to carry your wallet in your front pockets.
Keep your purses, wallets, and bags secure and close to your body in crowded areas such as streets, trains, and buses.

FAQs

Can I withdraw cash in Hungary for free?

Yes, many banks in Hungary provide fee-free withdrawals.

Are US, UK, Europe, Australia, and other credit cards accepted in Hungary?

Definitely yes! ATMs in Hungary typically accept credit cards from the United States, the United Kingdom, Europe, Australia, and other countries.

Are there bitcoin ATMs in Hungary?

Yes, there are approximately 50 Bitcoin ATMs in Hungary.

Are there any Bank of America ATMs in Hungary?

There are no Bank of America ATMs in Hungary.

Are there any Barclays Bank ATMs in Hungary?

There are no Barclays ATMs in Hungary.

Are there any HSBC ATMs in Hungary?

There are no HSBC ATMs in Hungary.

Are there any Standard Chartered ATMs in Hungary?

There are no Standard Chartered ATMs in Hungary.

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