A part of the former Yugoslavia, Slovenia’s borders extend from the Mediterranean Sea to the Alps, providing visitors and locals alike with miles of stunning natural scenery. Combine that with charming medieval towns, well preserved castles and an emerging wine region, and you have a relatively untouched destination that’s yet to be truly discovered by tourists.
Whether you’re eyeing Slovenia for a short visit, a longer stay or as a potential new home, there’s one thing that’s important to understand about the Central European country: its money. Read on to learn everything you need to know about managing, spending and saving money in Slovenia.
Slovenia’s currency is the Euro.
|Characteristics of the euro (EUR)|
|Names and Nicknames||Euro, fiber|
|Symbols & abbreviations||€, EUR|
|1 EUR||One Euro is divided into 100 cents|
|EUR coins||Coins are available in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 cents, as well as €1 and €2|
|EUR banknotes||EUR banknotes are available for €5, €10, €20, €50, €100, €200, and €500|
Slovenia joined the European Union in 2004 and adopted the Euro in 2007. Since then, the Euro is the only reliable currency you can use in Slovenia.
Exchanging money in Slovenia is simple and straightforward and follows the same rules you'd expect in most other countries. However, because of the strength of the euro compared to many other global currencies, it’s important in Slovenia to get the best possible exchange rate to make your money go as far as possible.
Finding a fair exchange service can be difficult, though the following options are typically your best bet for getting a good deal:
The first two options will likely have the fairest exchange rates and no upfront fees. The second two are online exchange services that will sell and mail you Euros, but at a poorer exchange rate.
Figuring out what it will cost you to exchange your money takes a little more than just looking at the fees. While many services will advertise no fees, they’re actually making their profit by inflating the exchange rate, and keeping the overage for themselves.
This is mostly unavoidable, but you can find an exchange with the smallest possible markup by using online currency converter before you commit to a service. That will allow you to see exactly what your money's worth, and compare it to what the exchange service is offering you.
Since the Euro is the second most traded currency in the world after the US dollar, you should be able to find it at your home bank with no issues. However, it’ll take some research to know whether your bank will have a better exchange rate than you can get on the ground in Slovenia. Some countries, like the US and UK, will charge 5-10 percent in fees and marked up exchange rates. In Australia, some banks offer as little as 1 percent of the sale amount.
Still, using a local ATM is generally the cheapest way to get Euros in Slovenia, as long as you have a debit card with no foreign conversion fees.
Damaged banknotes probably won’t be a problem is you get your cash from an ATM. But if you get it from an exchange service, inspect your banknotes carefully to make sure they aren’t damaged, since some merchants will turn away even slightly marred bills.
You won’t get a better rate than withdrawing Euros from a Slovenian bank account. If you have a friend or relative in the country, see if they’re willing to help you out with this.
Sending your friend or relative money from your home country with TransferWise means you get the exact mid-market rate — that’s the same rate you’ll see if you Google it, with no markup. All you have to pay is a minimal fee that’s spelled out upfront.
Another option is to open a TransferWise borderless account, where you can hold and manage money in multiple global currencies, including Euros. And this fall, Borderless account holders will qualify for consumer debit cards that they can use while traveling.
Travellers cheques typically come with poor exchange rates – if you can even find somewhere to cash them. Most shops and restaurants in Europe won’t even deal with them anymore. As long as you have a credit or debit card, you’re better off not getting travellers cheques at all.
Most major credit cards will be accepted, though Visa is more popular in Slovenia, and therefore more likely to work in all ATMs (especially older ones) than MasterCard. American Express is also common and widely accepted. Just in case shops don’t accept cards, however, it’s always a good idea to carry a small amount of cash.
If an ATM gives you the option to be charged in your home currency, decline. This seemingly helpful feature is actually probably a Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC) scam, which means the local bank is charging you at a hidden and probably unfair exchange rate. Luckily, you can always choose to be charged in the local currency, which means you have to do more math, but you’ll save money on every transaction.
Make sure your card doesn’t get shut down for suspicious activity by telling your bank before you leave where you’re traveling and for how long. If your card does get shut down, it could be hours before you can reactivate it, so this is extremely important.
AMTs are extremely common in Slovenia, so you should have no problem locating one. If you’re looking for a specific ATM, however, these tools may help:
Remember, while ATMs often offer the best exchange rates, that benefit will be lost if you choose to complete your transaction in your home currency instead of euros.
Slovenia is home to a number of local banks, but not many international banks. It may be a good idea to check online or with a teller to see if your bank operates in Slovenia, but it’s unlikely that it does.
Slovenia is home to several popular local retail banks, like these:
The Slovenian leader in electronic business, Banka Koper is the most technologically advanced bank in Slovenia.
Abanka recently merged with Banka Celje, one of the oldest banks in Slovenia, and provides customers with a wide range of services.
The largest and most used international bank operating in Slovenia is NLB.
Slovenia might just be Europe’s next up-and-coming tourist destination. Before you go, it’s important to know how to manage and protect one of your most important assets: your money. Enjoy your time in Slovenia!
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