Czech money

22/01/2018

General information / The ways of payment / How to recognize fake money / Where to change / Funny facts / The prices of the basic stuff

General information

Even though we are part of EU we still do not have € as the official currency. The official currency is called Koruna Česká (Czech koruna aka Czech Crown). Its abbreviation is CZK.

On January 22nd 2018 the exchange rate was € 1 = CZK 25,4 and $ 1 = CZK 20,75.

One koruna consists from 100 "haléř" (farthings). Even though you can still see most of the prices in shops with these farthings (e.g. CZK 12,90) - physically they do not exist any more. (The last coin of 50 farthings was taken from the circulation on 1st of September 2009.) The prices are so rounded up or down in the total. For instance you buy three items with the prices 25,70 + 17,30 + 14.90 = 57,90 ≐ 58.

The smallest coin is CZK 1. The other coins are 2, 5, 10, 20 & 50. (Few years ago we used to have 50 as a note too, but they say it is cheaper to make them from metal then to print them.) The notes are 100, 200, 500, 1.000, 2.000 & 5.000.

If you want to have all the examples of all the coins and notes you would have CZK 8.888. ("8" is btw, really important date in Czech history.) ;-)

The ways of payment

In every single shop you can pay in cash with CZK. In most of them as well by card. (Visa & Mastercard. Most of the places do not accept American Express.) Sometimes (not really common situation) they have minimal limit for the payment by card (usually CZK 100) or they charge extra fee (+-3%).

In most of the shops in the city centre you may pay with € (but ask for that in advance, you will avoid that embarrassing moment), but most of the cases only with notes and change will be in CZK. And honestly said, their exchange rate is not the best one you can get. (So use this possibility only when you are in need.)

Dollars unfortunately are not accepted in the shops. (Probably there are some exceptions though.)

How to recognize fake money

First of all you can google how do they look like and secondly - the fact you are reading this article means that you are not as naïve that you would ever even think of that, but - do not change the money on the streets.

Our notes have as well 8 (funny, again number eight) different protective elements:  WatermarkWindowed thread with microtextColoured fibresFront-to-back registerLatent imageColour-shifting inkIridescent stripMicrotext. (More details here.)

Where to change

Never change the money on the street with the (weird) people! I think the best way to get the local currency is to use the ATM.  If you have some reason you do not want to use the ATM, there are few good places. I do recommend the place in Jindřišská street 12 or 10 or Kaprova 13, where lots of Czech people change the money (they call themselves Exchange for Czechs). There are lots of other good places. But as well lots of bad places. So just be careful. For example here is one of these you definitely should avoid.

Funny facts

We used to have really strong sugar producer lobby back in time when they were solving the name of Czechoslovakian currency, so one of the suggestion for that was "beet root". So the prices could be here like CZBR. :D

When you turn 200 note, the hands look like bottom and the back. When I was at the elementary school this was really something! 

The word dollar comes from old Czech silver currency (16th century) called tolar.

From CZK 20 to CZK 5.000 they have famous personality on them. What is quite interesting is these personalities are sorted chronologically from the oldest one to the youngest one. The first one is Saint Václav (Wenceslas). - Yes, the one from the Christmas carol. But he was a duke, btw. And the last one the first president of Czechoslovakia Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk. 

All of these personalities (on the notes) were painted by Oldřich Kulhánek, who is a Czech academic painter and a graphic designer. (And all of them have his eyes!) 

Prices of the basic stuff in CZK

In shop: Loaf of bread 14.90 / Milk 18.90 / Butter 49.90 / Potatoes 14.90 / Flour 16.90 / Pilsner beer 25.90

In average restaurant: Lunch 150 / Beer (0,5l) 40 / Wine (2 dcl) 60 / Espresso 40 / Water (0,3) 40 / Dinner 250 /