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Practical recommendations on exchanging money in Russia

Practical recommendations on exchanging money in Russia
Are you going to Russia? Do you want to buy some souvenirs? You probably will need Russian currency. Any tourist must learn more about ways of payment and methods of exchange as well as money transfer, banks, and ATMs.

Ways of paying in Russia
There is no need to exchange great sums of money once. Because foreigners don't need much cash. Russia is one of the countries in Europe with the highest acceptance rates of credit cards.

  • Pay by cash for purchases in the markets, fare, and tips in a restaurant or hotel, in small shops and for the street food. It is good to stock up on paper money.

  • Pay by a credit card (Visa or Mastercard) in shops, cafes, and restaurants, for tickets in museums and metro, even in some buses and taxis.

  • Pay with the help of your mobile phone (Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Google Pay) in the metro, in supermarkets, in some cafes and restaurants. Just ask the service staff about the acceptance of mobile payments.

  • In Russia, it's available contactless payments by card or mobile phone. There is no need to enter a PIN code when paying less than 1000 rubles (about $15).

The Russian currency
In Russia, people use Russian Rubles. It's impossible to buy this currency abroad. Remember, that it's illegal to pay with Dollars or Euros.

Essential information:

  • Non-residents of Russian can exchange money at the same rate as the residents and without any restrictions.

  • Tourists may use banks and ATMs for exchanging money. But it's dangerous to change money in the individuals.

  • The procedure of the currency exchange in banks is controlled by the administrative authorities, and it is a secure process.

  • Foreign currency like Euros and US Dollars can be easily changed in any bank's exchange office. But other currency as pounds sterlings, Swiss francs can be exchanged only in some bank's branches in Moscow or St.Petersburg. It will be difficult to exchange other currencies at a favorable rate. That's why it's better to exchange them at home for Euros or US Dollars.

  • The best way to find the nearest exchange office is by using Google maps.

  • The banknotes must be of new sample and don't have tears, writings on them. In another way, the bank doesn't accept them.

The rules of the exchange
The government pays attention to the movement of foreign currency just with economical goals. That's why some rules were formed.

  • Before exchanging currency, you should check whether any extra commission is charged.

  • You may ask a cashier to show you the last sum you will get after exchanging.

  • To exchange Euros or US Dollars you need to show your ID (passport).

  • After exchanging money you will get a receipt where all information is: the amount, time, commission, the current exchange rate.

  • Check the received amount of money near the cashbox.

The best exchange rate
There are a lot of exchange offices in Russia. And all of them have different rates.

  • The easiest way to get the Russian currency is at the airport. But the rate is usually worse there than in the city center. So, if you need money immediately to get to the city, to pay for the taxi, you can exchange $30-50 or use the ATM to withdraw money.

  • It's better to ask Google about the cost of the trip to the center or the hotel.

  • The exchange rate is different everywhere. To check the most favorable rates you may use https://cash.rbc.ru. Here you can compare the rates of different banks. The service works only in Russian.

  • If you exchange a small amount of money you can do it in any bank. The difference is not big. For big amounts, it's better to compare the rate at the service and find the necessary bank.

ATMs and Banks
There are a lot of banks in Russia, But exchanging currency it's better to use Sberbank, Gazprombank, Alfa-Bank, Moscow Credit Bank, VTB. Most of them are controlled by the state. There are no risks but they may take the different commissions.

Think in advance about the sum. Sometimes it's better to withdraw or exchange $100-$200 once than going 5 times and paying for commission 5 times.

Also, there are a lot of ATMs in Russia where you can withdraw the cash from your card without any problems. Most of the ATMs work only with Russian Rubles, but some of them can give you US Dollars and Euro.

You can find the ATMs in supermarkets, in the bank's branches, the metro or at the stations. But we recommend using ATM in the banks because of card fraud devices. They can be installed on the outside ATMs.

Before going abroad you should call your bank and say about foreign transactions and get the information about the commissions from your bank.