If you’re planning to visit the Czech Republic, you’ll need to exchange money. Generally speaking, rates are always the best in exchange offices. Some of them, however, are fraudulent and will give you a rate that’s even worse than a loan shark would give you. Don’t fall into the trap by reading our advice below. An alternative to using exchange offices is exchanging your money at a bank. Banks usually have slightly lower rates than exchange offices, but they always charge a commission for the transaction. Therefore, we still recommend exchange offices as the best option.
Official exchange offices are safer
Always go to official, marked exchange offices and avoid “street sellers” that might offer to exchange your money on a street corner. If someone tries to sell you a foreign currency on the street, you’re quite likely to part with a considerable amount of your time and money.
Be careful of more than one exchange rate list
Exchange offices by law must display their exchange rates. Exchange offices often avoid this rule by displaying two lists of exchange rates. Then, they highlight their best rates, which only apply when exchanging large amounts of money. Exchange offices sometimes confuse clients with even three exchange rate lists, adding fine print under the best rates, which states that the list does not contain valid exchange rates.
Count your money on the spot and be careful of incorrect rate calculations
Always exchange a value that is easy to count to avoid the exchange rate being rounded up. When exchanging 100 USD at a rate of 23 Czech crowns, you’ll get 2,300 crowns back. Count up the rate on a calculator.
Beware of hidden fees
The majority of exchange offices attract clients with a “0% commission” sign. However, offices often compensate for this with a bad rate or hidden fees. A dishonest exchange office will have no notices about fees or will have them only in fine print. You’ll be left to pay a high fee that can reach up to 20% of the total exchange.
Check your banknotes for fakes
From time to time, invalid banknotes can appear. If you realize this when it’s too late, the exchange office can claim that they weren’t the ones who gave you the banknotes, leaving you out of luck. Another problem can be receiving a different foreign currency than the one you should be getting. As a foreigner in the Czech Republic, you should be especially careful of receiving Belarusian rubles, which have almost no value compared to the Czech crown. Always look at and check the banknotes first.
Don’t be afraid to return a bad exchange
Always have a receipt of the transaction printed and save it for a possible return, which can be done only shortly after the transaction. According to a bill that is now being drafted into law, clients will have the right to withdraw from the transaction up to two hours after making it. The bill should be passed by the end of 2018.
File a complaint
If an exchange office doesn’t recognize your claim to cancel the transaction, you can file a written complaint with the Czech National Bank by using this form. Unfortunately, though, the form has its limitations. The Czech National Bank may fine the exchange office, but it cannot order it to pay compensation for damages. In these cases, a complaint can be made to a financial arbitrator, who can help solve the dispute between you and the exchange office outside of court. The arbitrator also has the right to rule on compensation for damages.
Where to exchange money in Prague
Our guests have the opportunity to use our exchange office, which is located directly in the HOTEL ROTT. Our hotel is located in the heart of Prague, just a few steps away from the Old Town Square and the main historic center. Our rates are friendly and are some of the best around Prague’s city center. If you don’t have time to exchange money in the hotel and can’t come back to do so, you can use the exchange office in Panská Street next to the Black Rose (Černá růže) Shopping Center, which also offers good rates.