If you’re heading to Croatia, you’ll need to know the essentials about your cash. This guide will help you navigate the financial landscape of the country. For information on Croatia’s currency, banks and other monetary tips, read on.
Croatians use the Croatian kuna, which has been in use since 1994. The word translates to ‘marten’, which is a small animal whose pelts were used as a unit of value during Medieval times.
Croatia is a part of the EU, but the Euro isn't the official currency in Croatia. In particularly touristy areas, you can expect to see prices shown in both kuna and Euro though. Unofficially, the Euro, the US dollar and the Pound Sterling are accepted by some local merchants. However, you shouldn’t rely on the Euro, nor any other foreign currency within Croatian borders. Note also that if your bills are damaged or torn, they may not be accepted by local merchants and bureaus.
|Names & Nicknames||Kuna|
|Symbols & Abbreviations||HRK, kn|
|1 HRK||One kuna is subdivided into 100 lipa (lp)|
|HRK coins||HRK coins are available in denominations of 5,10, 20, and 50 lipa, and 1, 2, and 5 HRK. The 1 and 2 lipa and the 25 HRK coins are rarely used. Coins depict the names of Croatian wildlife in either Croatian or Latin.|
|HRK banknotes||Kuna banknotes are printed in denominations from 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, and 1,000 HRK. The 5 and 1,000 HRK notes are in circulation, but rarely used. Their design features significant Croatian figures on the obverse, and architectural landmarks on the reverse.|
When it comes to exchanging your foreign money into kuna, you have several options. These options include exchange bureau, banks, airport kiosks, hotels and ATMs. The best way to access your money in Croatia is by withdrawing cash from an ATM as you will receive the fairest deal with this option..
In-person exchange bureaus, post offices and banks are your next-best options. Whilst some exchange kiosks don't charge a fee, most tend to charge a commission of close to 3 percent. They may also add on additional ‘service charges’ and fees. In-person bureaus have set office hours that are short and sometimes unpredictable.
As a general rule, exchange money at airports and hotels as a last resort only. Due to their convenient location, these venues can charge extremely high commissions, and their exchange rates are lower than the mid-market exchange rate. You’re almost guaranteed to get ripped off if you choose one of these options.
If you’re trying to exchange money before getting to Croatia, it's possible but not practical. Certain banks and exchange bureaus will provide kuna. However, expect rates in these places to be lower than you could receive elsewhere. You'll find better rates within Croatia’s borders. Until recently, the kuna couldn't even be exchanged anywhere outside of Croatia.
Don't worry if you don’t have traveller’s cheques on hand in Croatia. These days, traveller’s cheques are considered to be outdated. Technology has outpaced this method of carrying cash abroad, and as a result, many banks refuse to process traveller’s cheques. If you eventually find a bank or store that will exchange them, the rates will usually be poor. Instead of traveller’s cheques, consider a prepaid card or a low-fee ATM card.
Cirrus/MasterCard,Visa/Plus, Maestro, and Diners Club are the most commonly-accepted cards in Croatia. American Express may be accepted, although not as frequently as the others. To eliminate unpleasant surprises, carry a small amount of cash on you at all times. Smaller merchants may not always have the option to process cards electronically. Cash is accepted at hotels, markets, restaurants and on all forms of transportation.
Before leaving, tell your card issuer that you’re going abroad. That way, they’ll be aware that the foreign charges you're incurring aren't fraudulent.
ATMs, or ‘bankomats’, are readily accessible in most parts of Croatia, especially tourist centres. Most ATMs have the option to transact in English and will accept international cards. For extra safety, bring two functioning cards with you, in case one isn't accepted. ATMs can be found in supermarkets, airports, posts offices, train stations and banks. Note that you need a four-digit pin to operate an ATM in Croatia.
Depending on your home bank, you might find a partner bank’s ATMs in Croatia. For example, American Express partners with Privredna Banka ATMs. American Express customers can withdraw cash from any Privredna Banka ATM without paying a withdrawal fee. Check with your local bank before you go, to find out if your bank partners with any Croatian ATM networks.
If given the option, always select to be charged in the local currency. Don't select the option to be charged in your home currency when withdrawing money. This is known as ‘Dynamic Currency Conversion’, and it gives the ATM consent to apply a poorer exchange rate to the conversion. Opt instead to be charged in kuna.
Below you can check the list of Croatia’s principal retail banks, both foreign and domestic:
Many foreign banks have branches in Croatia. The largest and most common of these branches are:
- Privredna Banka
- Erste & Steiermärkische Bank
- Imex Banka
- Societe Generale Splitska Banka
- OTP Banka
Alternatively, for simple access to the money you need while you’re abroad - and even better rates - use TransferWise.
If you have a Croatian bank account, or know someone who does, you can transfer money between bank accounts using the real mid-market exchange rate. It's a convenient way to get your cash, with no hidden fees.