Friday, July 10, 2009

Czech Currency

Even though the Czech Republic is part of the European Union, the Euro won’t be used here until 2015, at the earliest. The local currency is the Czech Koruna (Crown) and it is abbreviated Kč. A single crown is made up of 100 hellar. The funny thing is that they no longer use the 50 hellar coin so it’s just crowns. The coins come in 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, & 50 CZKs and the bills come in denominations of 50, 100, 200, 500, 1000, 2000, & 5000 CZKs. The money gets physically larger as its value increases. Therefore, a 2 Kč coin is larger than a 1 Kč coin and a 500 Kč bill is larger than a 100 Kč bill. Kind of cool. Why is a U.S. dime smaller, but worth more, than a nickel?

Not every place here takes plastic and Czechs don’t write checks so you pretty much pay for everything with cash. Here’s where it gets a little tricky...because the folks in the shops do not like to make change! Especially at the smaller grocery stores. Don’t try to pay for a 235 Kč grocery tab with a 1000 Kč note. You get lots of attitude!!! Restaurants and some of the bigger stores seem to be OK about breaking larger bills.

I try to keep some change on me at all times but sometimes it just doesn’t work out. IBM did give me this nifty little chip thing for my key chain that you can prepay & then just swipe it for drinks at the office vending machines. That way you don’t go through so much change.

Since making change is clearly such an issue here I wonder if the ATMs give out small bills or just large ones? Hmmm…

Update:  The 50 Kč banknote has been retired.

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