If you decide to travel to Hungary, you are choosing a country of the European Union that largely corresponds to the standard that you are used to in Germany. Banks and ATMs can be found in all regions of the country and credit cards are a common form of payment in Hungary – at least in the larger hotels and shops.
Credit card acceptance and distribution
There are ATMs all over the country in Hungary, both in the cities and in the larger towns. In the places where tourists regularly travel, these ATMs are equipped to accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Diners Club as well as Maestro and Cirrus cards. With the usual EC cards from Germany and other European countries you can withdraw money at the ATMs in Hungary.
Since Hungary is known to belong to the European Union, you can now also get cash at many ATMs with the new V-Pay cards. However, this system is still under construction and is not available everywhere. You can use the credit card in Hungary not only to withdraw cash, but of course also to pay with it. Larger shops, especially from international chains, hotels and restaurants, generally accept major credit cards such as Visa or Mastercard .
Fees and other expenses
Regardless of whether you want to withdraw cash at the machine or pay your bill at the hotel with a credit card, you should always inquire in advance about how high the fees may be. In Hungary it is often the case that shops and restaurants charge between 1% and 4%. In this case, it is cheaper to withdraw from the machine and then pay in cash. Depending on the credit card and bank, there are various partner banks in Hungary where you can withdraw money for free. You can obtain a corresponding list from your bank at home. Some banks offer so-called travel credit cards with which you can withdraw money free of charge from ATMs with the appropriate Visa or Mastercard symbol in other EU countries.
In general, Visa and Mastercard are the most common credit cards in Hungary, as elsewhere in Europe. Diners Club and American Express are less common, but are mostly accepted in large hotels. The acceptance of Maestro cards, EC cards and the new V-Pay cards is surprisingly good.
Alternatives to the credit card
If you don’t just want to rely on your credit card and if you want to go to very remote regions and small villages, you should take a little cash with you on your trip to Hungary. USD can be exchanged at all banks and in the exchange offices at tourist locations in Forint. You could theoretically exchange USD for forints at the bank in Germany, but the exchange rate is much better in Hungary. At the end of the trip, it is advisable to estimate your resources fairly realistically and not have too many forints left. It is often more worthwhile to spend the last forints in Hungary than to exchange them for USD, because you always lose a few percent.