The Travel Money Guide to the Croatian currency.
Croatia has risen in popularity as a tourist destination due to its stunning long stretches of beach, postcard towns and national parks. But it isn’t a budget destination and to get the most out of your trip, it’s a good idea to learn everything you can about the local currency and payment options before you go.
Want to learn more about the Croatian currency and how to get your hands on it for the best value? Read on to find out:
What Currency is Used in Croatia?
The official currency of Croatia is the Croatian Kuna, which has the international code HRK and the symbol kn. Croatian banknotes have 8 denominations: kn5, kn10, kn20, kn50, kn100, kn200, kn500 and kn1000. Croatian Kunas also come in coins, they are kn1, kn2, kn5. Other Croatian coins are called lipas and are: lp1, lp2, lp5, lp10, lp20 and lp50.
Interestingly Croatia is part of the Eurozone however it has not changed it currency to the Euro, similar to Denmark and Sweden, which have kept their existing currency.
How to Buy Kuna Before You Go
There’s a certain reassurance that comes with stepping off the plane (or cruise ship) already cashed up with Kuna.
Buying Kuna before you leave Australian shores isn’t just convenient. It can also save you money. But it all depends on where you get your Kuna in Australia. There are 3 main options:
- Buy HRK online and have it delivered or collect it in-store
- Swap Croatian currency from Australian dollars in a money changer
- Buy Croatian kunas at your home airport
Currency exchange offices at Australian airports are notorious for their poor rates and commissions so we recommend avoiding that option entirely.
You’ll easily find a bureau de change near you; even suburban shopping centres should have at least one. But it’s better to get your money from an inner-city bureau if possible. They have more competition, which is likely to drive their rates down.
If there’s already too much running around to do ahead of your trip, consider ordering Kuna online. You can choose to have them delivered or made available for pick-up at a location near you.
Online orders are often the best value too, especially if you go with S Money, which offers the same rates listed on Google and XE.com.
How to Change Currency When You Arrive
Places like Zagreb, and Split receive great numbers of tourists, so there are facilities to cater to money exchanges. Beyond these major destinations, it’s best to get cash before you venture into remote territory.
Many ATMs are called bankomats in Croatia and they are most towns, cities, small islands, supermarkets, hotels and resorts. Privredna Banka (PBZ) and Zagrebacka Banka provide lots of ATMS to provide a secure way to get Croatian kuna overseas. Normally they dispense 100kn and 200kn banknotes.
Depending on your bank, you may have to pay for overseas ATM withdrawals and currency conversions. To reduce the amount you’ll pay in fees, try to withdraw just the right amount of money you’ll need for the duration of your trip.
Don’t forget: Let your bank know you’re travelling! If they detect a foreign transaction but aren’t aware you’re overseas, they could end up freezing your card.
Currency Exchange in Croatia
You won’t have any problem changing money in the the major cities like Dubrovnik, Zagreb or Hvar. There are plenty of money exchangers, most of them are independently owned so they all look different but most of them have either money or changer in the shop signage.
Money changers tend to offer marginally better rates than banks as many banks charge a high flat fees per transaction. Also, banks only exchange currencies on weekdays.
Not worth the bother! Travellers cheques are so outdated, very few banks even accept them any more.
They can’t be used as direct payment, so the only way to use them once you’re in the country is to swap them for currency at a bank or bureau de change office. Even then, very few banks will accept travellers cheques if you don’t have an account with them. And exchange services apply exorbitant fees and rates to them.
Using Your Bank Card
Most Croatian businesses are well set up to receive card payments. But before you use your bank card willy-nilly, it’s worth reading up on the fees and charges you might incur.
You’ll probably want a debit card if you plan to withdraw money from an ATM. While you may also be able to pay with a debit card in some businesses in the major destinations, you might discover some hefty fees on your account summary.
Depending on your bank, you could be hit with fees for foreign ATM withdrawals or currency conversions. But some banks are better than others; we recommend checking out ING, Revolut, and TransferWise, all of which have travel-friendly debit cards that waive these charges.
Credit cards can come with some enticing perks, including added security, loyalty programs, and even free travel insurance.
But are they worth it?
Major local businesses, including hotels, restaurants, airline offices, and department stores, accept credit cards. But you might have to pay a surcharge.
Mastercard and Visa are widely accepted. You may also be able to use your American Express card, though local ATMs won’t accept them.
Just be aware of additional charges you may incur for foreign transactions. These could include:
- International transaction fees
- High exchange rate margins
- ATM fees
- Potential ‘cash advance fees’ if you use an ATM
If you still prefer credit cards over any other payment, consider going with a company that offers cards that waive certain travel fees. Bankwest Platinum and 28 Degrees both have travel-friendly cards.
Prepaid Travel Cards
The biggest advantages of prepaid travel cards are that you can lock in a favourable exchange rate. You also get a handy back-up card.
Just remember that while they are convenient, you could end up paying a long list of hidden fees. Many travel cards still impose:
- Currency conversion fees
- Uncompetitive exchange rates
- International ATM withdrawal fees
- Initial load fees
- Reload fees
- Inactivity fees