If you’re headed to Copenhagen, you may want to understand more about the intricacies of using your money. What’s the exchange rate? Where should you take out cash? Can you spend Euros?
Though Denmark has representation in the EU, it uses its own currency - the kroner (written as DKK). Some shops, hotels, and restaurants accept payment in both Danish Kroner and Euros. As the official currency is kroner, you shouldn’t count on being able to spend Euro freely. Instead, use these tips to find the best way to obtain Danish cash.
There is one true exchange rate - it’s called the interbank exchange rate, or the mid-market exchange rate. This is the midpoint between demand and supply for a currency, which fluctuates frequently.
Not every exchange bureau abides by the interbank rate. The rate gets marked-up to take advantage of you and make an extra profit. Small shops and in-person currency exchange bureaus usually charge more fees and surcharges, labeling them ‘commission’. Worse yet, they won’t tell you they’re charging you extra, they’ll just sneak it in.
You can find what you’re being charged by knowing the mid-market exchange rate. Use an online currency converter to stay up-to-date, or google it on the day you’re planning to withdraw money.
The reason you need to look up exchange rates is because they fluctuate. Exchange rates tend to change a bit on every single minute. Factors such as speculation, inflation, current affairs and political elections can influence rates. Be aware of what’s happening in Copenhagen during your trip. It might make sense to withdraw money at a key point in your trip.
Check to see if your local bank has any partnerships or foreign branches. If you qualify, you may be able to save on ATM money withdrawals or foreign transaction costs. For example, Citibank, Santander, BNP Paribas, The Royal Bank of Scotland, and UBS all maintain branches in Denmark. MasterCard and Visa cards are generally low in fees at ATMs owned by Danish banks.
When you do go to the ATM, remember you want to select ‘charge in local currency’ on the ATM screen if it gives you an option. You don't want to get charged for the transaction in your home currency. This scam known as, ‘dynamic currency conversion' will then arbitrarily inflate the exchange rate you get, costing you more money than you realized.
It may be convenient to exchange currency at the airport or your hotel, but it isn’t cost effective. These exchange vendors are well aware of their conveniency and upcharge for it. In fact, airports are known to charge commission fees of up to 20 percent per withdrawal.
Each hotel will have a different fee and commission structure. This makes it difficult to know whether you’re being fairly charged. Use airport and hotel exchanges only as a last resort if you can.
Plan ahead and spend all of your cash before you leave Copenhagen. You’ll lose money for the second time when you re-exchange kroner back to your home currency. Instead, budget accordingly and find a way to use up your remaining coins and small bills.
Whether visible or not, you should expect extra fees if exchanging your currency at in-person exchange bureaus. Remember to pay attention to the advertised exchange rate, and know the mid-market rate for comparison.
Here are a few in-person options for exchange in Copenhagen:
|Currency Bureau||Address||Contact Information|
|Forex Bank||Nørre Voldgade 90, 1358 København K||+45 33 32 81 00|
|Ria Money Transfer and Currency Exchange||Bernstorffsgade 16, 1577 København V||+45 33 11 51 15|
|Dan Exchange Amager||Amagerbrogade 73, 2300 København S||+45 32 86 18 45|
|Merex International||Vester Farimagsgade 2, 1606 København V||+45 33 32 13 13|
You can travel to Copenhagen knowing you’ve got options for foreign exchange. Advanced research will save you time and money. You can start by knowing the real exchange rate for comparison’s sake to find out what you’re really being charged behind the scenes.
For fast and convenient kroner once you arrive, your best option is likely simply finding an ATM run by a trusted operator. ATMs are usually available 24 hours a day, and the safest ones to use are inside of a bank branch. You may pay a surcharge, but you’ll still save money compared to predatory exchange bureaus or airport exchanges.
When using ATMs, make one large withdrawal every few days, instead of every time you go to dinner or take a cab. That way, you’ll save on transaction fees.
Better yet, if either you or a friend has access to a DKK bank account in Copenhagen, use TransferWise and make the transfer ahead of time. Not only does TransferWise use the real mid-market exchange rate to convert your money (which almost always beat the banks), but since your currency is received and sent via local banking systems in both your home country and in Denmark, all those nasty international bank fees magically disappear.
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