Banks and Currency in Kiev
Everything you need to know abut your money in Kiev
The national currency of the Ukraine is the Hryvnia UAH (Pronounced Grivna). It was introduced in September 1996 to replace a temporary currency called Karbovanets, originally called "Kupon", which was introduced after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Hryvnia derived its name from Kievan Rus coins dated from the tenth century. The economic situation in Ukraine has been exceptionally challenging due to geopolitical tensions, excessive corruption, political polarization and instability.
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. You do not require your passport when changing money. Always check you have been given the correct amount and count your money at the kiosk in full view of the cashier.
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
Exchanging money in Kiev (Kyiv) 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 Khreschatik 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.
Cash machines in Kiev
ATM cards are widely used and cash machines are everywhere in 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.
Using Credit Cards in Kiev
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 authorize withdrawals at an ATM. Never use a machine that looks like it could have been tampered with. Always keep a little bit of spare cash in case you are left short for any reason.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 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 card. Beware! Credit card fraud is a major problem in 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.