russian money exchange

Money exchange in St Petersburg. Insider’s tips.

Money exchange in St Petersburg is an important question for everybody who is coming as a tourist. Can I pay in Euro or USD, are credit cards accepted? Some insider’s tips  that will make you stay in St Petersburg much easier.

1. National currency is Russian rouble, so USD or Euro are not accepted anywhere except for some souvenir shops (exchange rate may be poor though)

2. The majority of shops, museums and restaurants accept credit cards (Visa and Mastercard), you may have trouble with   American express. Pin code is usually required.

3. I recommend to have some cash for small purchases though – for example, a bottle of water when you will walk the streets of St Petersburg.

4. The most common currencies for exchange are USD and Euro, even British pounds are not so common (but you can change them). Bring good notes without any pen marks, stamps, torn pieces, etc. Russian banks are very picky and may not accept them.

5. If you are using an ATM, there may be withdrawal limits for foreign cards that can be quite small (around 6000 rub at a time, but that depends on a bank)

6. If you want to exchange money in a bank, it’s better to have a passport. You can exchange up to 40000 rub (roughly 600    USD) without a passport, but sometimes banks ask for it even if you are exchanging less. It’s not right, but it may happen. If you are exchanging more than 40 000 rub, you must show your passport.

7.  The majority of banks are closed on Sunday. There is a very popular exchange office in St Petersburg city center with good rates that is open 7 days a week:
Bank Avangard (Авангард) — Bolshaya Konyushennaya ulitsa, 2. (“Ulitsa” means “street”). Working hours: Monday-Friday from 09:30 till 20:00, Saturday-Sunday 10:30 – 19:30.  The place may be busy, so don’t come at the last moment. The exchange office is situated at the basement.