Would you like to pay with Euros in Budapest? Hungary has been a member of the European Union since 2004. Does that mean that the Euro is an official currency for payments in Hungary? No!
When Hungary first joined the European Union in 2004, everyone expected Hungary to quickly introduce the Euro. That didn’t happen. Instead, the economy of the country has become worse and the current politics point more in the direction away from Europe, instead of moving closer and closer to Europe.
What does this mean for you as you come to Budapest? Can you pay with Euros in Budapest?
Is Euro an accepted payment currency in Budapest?
Even though the Hungarian Forint is the official currency of Hungary, most stores and restaurants accept payments by Euro. Many will say that they only accept Euro bills (not coins). But, there are a few things you should be aware of.
If you want to pay in cash.
Euro payments are normally accepted if you pay by cash. This is nice if you have brought Euro bills to Budapest. But, it isn’t always smart to use your Euro bills as you pay with cash in Budapest. Why is that?
Most restaurants and stores calculate with terrible exchange rates. If the real exchange rate of 1 Euro is 410 Forint, you will often see that restaurants and stores calculate with a much lower rate, for example, that 1 Euro is 370 Forint. As a consequence, you will end up paying much more than if you paid with the local currency.
What can you do about this? You can either go to an exchange office and change your Euro to Forint, or you can withdraw Hungarian Forint with an ATM. Would you like to learn more about the Hungarian currency and how you can find the best exchange rates? Click the link.
If you want to pay by card.
If you pay with your VISA or MasterCard, your bank will calculate with the exact exchange rate. But, you better be aware that many terminals will ask you in the payment process whether you want to pay with Euro or with the local currency (HUF). If you get such a question, pay in the local currency because you will end up paying less in this way.
A lot of things have changed in 2022…
The value of the Hungarian Forint has dropped a lot compared to the Euro and the US Dollar in 2022. As a result, prices in Hungary have increased a lot. To secure their income, many tourist companies now fix their prices in Euro instead of having fixed prices in Forint. In such cases, you have to pay the Euro price anyway. But, in most cases, the Forint price is the one that you should be looking for.
You can pay with Euro in Budapest, but you pay less if you use the Hungarian Forint
That is the answer to this question. If you have further comments, or questions, or want to share your experience paying with Euros in Budapest, use the comment field below.