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Money in Ukraine - credit cards, ATMs, foreign exchange, travel checks

Ukrainian money

The official monetary unit in Ukraine is the Hryvnya (official sign UAH). 1 hrivnya is worth 100 kopecks. Banknotes come in 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 denominations.

Currency Exchange

You can exchange currency for Hryvnias at a number of locations in any Ukrainian city. If you are arriving at Boryspil International Airport in Kiev, you will find currency exchange offices located in the airport, but please note that the exchange rate will be less favourable than in Kiev.

Once you are in the city, it is a good idea to change money into local currency at major hotels, or official exchange offices.

Current foreign exchange rates in Kiev:

If you plan to travel only to Kyiv, Odesa, Lviv (and a few other of the largest cities), then exchanging large currency bills ($50 and $100) will be no problem. Smaller cities, however, may be difficult and you may want to take only small denomination bills.

Beware of changing money on the streets or with private individuals. It is illegal, and it can be dangerous.

Credit cards

Ukraine is primerialy a cash economy. Traveler's checks and credit cards are gaining wider acceptance in larger cities. Use of credit cards is limited to the better hotels, Western-style restaurants, international airlines and select stores. Visa and Master card are commonly accepted. American Express is also accepted, but it is not as popular as Visa or Master Card. A passport or diplomatic card may be required whenever a credit card is used.

ATMs in Ukraine

You should have no problem at all getting cash at ATM's in any large Ukraine city. You can check with Visa or Mastercard online to get a listing of all ATM's in the city you plan to visit. You may find ATM's in big hotels, some department stores, restaurants, and just in the streets.

Nearly all ATM machines are offering only Ukrainian currency. In some ATM's in the largest cities (Kiev, Odessa, Kharkiv) you can get USD, but they are very limited. In Kiev, there are a few ATMs offering USA - mostly it is PrivatBank's ATMs.

In order to withdraw money from ATMs one should know their personal identification number (PIN), which must contain numbers only, as Ukrainian keypads have no letters. One will pay a fee for using ATMs but this fee is considerably lower than that for traveler's checks.

Travelers checks

Travelers checks are not easily accepted in Ukraine. It is better not to bring them, since a high commission rate (around 3%) and much paperwork is required to cash the checks. If you still want to take some traveler's checks on your trip, take Thomas Cook or Visa, which are the most common in Ukraine.

To cash traveler's checks you will need your passport and a receipt of purchase.


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