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Banks & Currency

The national currency of the Ukraine is the Hryvnia (Pronounced Grivna .Despite the economic problems in the Ukraine, the Hryvnia (UAH) is reasonably stable and as of June 2012 was trading at approximately 12.20 UAH to the British pound/Euro and 8.44 UAH to the dollar. The Hryvnia is the official currency but if you are paying for something privately, U.S. dollars are the preferred currency followed by the Euro.


Money exchange

Exchanging money
Exchanging money in Kiev is easy, especially in the city centre where you will find numerous exchange points. To the uninitiated they look like suspicious holes in the wall, however they are quite safe and generally the most cost effective. Most only exchange US Dollars, Russian Roubles or Euros. Banks will exchange most other European and International currencies but you will not get the same competitive rates. Our advice is that if you are exchanging British pounds or other major currencies then go to Kreschatik Street in the centre of Kiev. Look for the yellow signs displayed outside the kiosks advertising your currency or go inside the larger department stores, most of which provide their own money changing bureaus at good rates.


HOT TIP
Make sure that all of your banknotes are new and crisp. Worn notes that are torn or have writing on them will not be accepted for exchange in the Ukraine.As of 23rd September 2011 a new law has come into force which requires a passport to be presented when exchanging foreign currency.
Always check you have been given the correct amount and count your money at the kiosk in full view of the cashier.
If possible avoid changing your money at the airport. Rates of exchange are poor so if possible take some local currency with you.
Be discreet with your money. Like every big city, tourists are targeted by criminal gangs. Beware of thieves and pickpockets, keep your cash hidden and secure
.

ATM Machines in Kiev
ATM cards are widely used and cash machines are everywhere in the central parts of Kiev. ATM machines dispense money in Hryvnia and some will also dispense dollars for an additional charge. Instructions are generally in Russian, Ukrainian and English.

You will find that every large hotel in Kiev has an ATM machine and they can also be found at most department stores. Usually they are located on the outside of buildings near major streets.

There is a charge for withdrawing money from an ATM but these are considerably lower than the charges for traveller’s cheques.


HOT TIP
Be sure to inform your credit card company before you leave home that you will be using your card in the Ukraine. Make sure you take a mobile phone with you as you may have to contact your bank to authorise withdrawals at an ATM.

Never use a machine that looks like it could have been tampered with, fraud is a major problem in the Ukraine. Always keep a little bit of spare cash in case you are left short for any reason.

Credit Cards and traveller cheques
Visa and MasterCard are accepted in most decent establishments in Kiev, American Express rarely so. Traveller’s checks are generally redundant these days, but if you do have them they can be cashed in branches or affiliates of most major banks. The charges for cashing travellers cheques are usually greater than if you were to use your credit card.

If you intend travelling through the Ukraine then please rely on cash and not cards. The banking system is in its infancy here and outside the major cities and towns you will have a problem paying by credit card.
Beware! Credit card fraud is a major problem in the Ukraine. It is unlikely that you will have a problem paying for your Hotel, but be careful when paying by credit card in restaurants bars and stores. Our advice is to pay by cash wherever possible.

Money Transfer

If you would like to send or receive money in Ukraine we suggest you use Western Union. You will find outlets at Bank’s, the Post office and some exchange kiosks.

Banking in the Ukraine
The economy and banking system is fragile in Ukraine. If you do need to open a Bank account we suggest you only use well known established banks and spread your risk.
To open a bank account in Ukraine, you will need your passport and a documentation to confirm your registration. These can be apartment rental contract or confirmation from the hotel where you are staying. Accounts can be in UAH, USD or EUR.
Internet banking is relatively new in Ukraine but it is certainly possible to find a Bank offering this service.

 

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