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Credit Card or Cash in Prague?

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Aug 17th, 2013, 08:32 AM
  #1
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Credit Card or Cash in Prague?

Hi all,
We will be in Prague for 3 days in October.It is increasingly our habit to use our credit cards for everything but the smallest purchases (racking up those points you know!) We've done this at home in Canada as well as in the States and in France. But not having visited the Czech Republic before, don't know if that's feasible. Should we be getting a bunch of Czech cash before arriving in Prague (at the train station?) Or just a little?

I've also heard about troubles with taxis in Prague. Any advice there? I don't want to be hauling luggage on public transit especially when we don't have the language!

Thanks for your anticipated wisdom,
tansay is offline  
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Aug 17th, 2013, 08:42 AM
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Credit cards were widely accepted (shops, museums and restaurants) EXCEPT our hotel (unusual, but they were understanding about my needing to pay cash over several days because of ATM limits) and public transportation.

I pre-booked for an airport transfer from "Prague Airport Transfers" (not sure how the forum feels about commercial links, albeit unsolicited) and they were on time and as advertised, including the flat rate. Our one experience with a taxi rank, from the recommended AAA taxis, was not so good. He ran the fare up about 25 percent over what it should have been by creative routing.
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Aug 17th, 2013, 08:42 AM
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I usually use cash for most expenses. If you're charging a large amount (dinner for 4 people) then use your credit card.

Get cash when you arrive at the station. It costs more to order it from home and many banks will not provide Czech Kroner.

I don't think you need to worry about not speak Czech as most people dealing with tourist speak enough English.

Rather than a taxi (which should be fine if you check the meter upon entering and make sure it was reset) you can use a car service. I used Mike's Chauffeur (and so have several other folks on this board) and was completely pleased with his service. I first emailed my pension and asked what a taxi would charge from the bus depot and then emailed Mike and his rates were about a bit less than a taxi.

I recently recommended Mike to a co-worker for his family trip and he was also pleased with Mike's service.

http://mike-chauffeur.cz/
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Aug 17th, 2013, 08:50 AM
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I've also heard about troubles with taxis in Prague. Any advice there? I don't want to be hauling luggage on public transit especially when we don't have the language!

Agree on a price before you get into the cab -- honest cabbies will have a general idea how much it will cost to get somewhere in town. The more unscrupulous cabbies might decide you want to see take the long way to your destination and see the whole town.

That being said, Prague is great.
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Aug 17th, 2013, 08:55 AM
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I should have mentioned: do not think of trying to get Czech crowns in advance. There are ATMs as you walk to the airport exit (attached to the Travelex exchange booth, among others) and all over downtown.

I did indeed have trouble finding and ATM in rural Moravia, after which I boosted how much cash I was willing to have at one time.
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Aug 17th, 2013, 08:56 AM
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I should have mentioned: do not think of trying to get Czech crowns in advance.

Agreed. ATMs are ubiquitous in Prague.
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Aug 17th, 2013, 12:18 PM
  #7
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Thanks everyone for your advice and so quickly! Question: Czech cash machines...are they also ubiquitous at the train station? (we are coming from Berlin by train.)

I'm thinking of contacting our hotel Vintage Design and asking what the price of a cab SHOULD be from the train station and then check out what Mike's service has to offer.

Again much thanks,
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Aug 17th, 2013, 12:21 PM
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Yes, I do believe that there are ATMs at the train station.

Contacting the hotel is a great idea. They may even offer to send a car for you.
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Aug 17th, 2013, 12:29 PM
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We found that hotels and most restaurants, shops and sights take CCs - although I would not try to use for small amounts - under $20 or so. Definitely have cash as well. And Visa/MC are taken more places than AmEx.

If from the US - Discover is NOT taken in europe.
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Aug 17th, 2013, 02:07 PM
  #10
 
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Ensnared by Canadian credit cards as I am too, I think your strategy is expensive, not just for Prague but for any destination around the world (except the US.) One reason our banking system has remained so sturdy through the financial crisis of the past half-decade is the banks’ ability to bleed their small customers for services.
Using your credit card as you would back home will run up substantial charges. I use PCFinancial and Royal Bank; both credit cards take two and a half per cent above the exchange rate as their transaction fee on every foreign currency transaction. For a $20 purchase (about 14.50 €) that’s 50 cents. Do it enough times a day and you have wasted the price of a cocktail. Or, over a week, a nice bottle of Sancerre, or maybe even a modest dinner.
As well, PCF changes the transaction from euros into American dollars first and then into Canadian. That intermediate process will cost a little extra; every foreign currency swap does. It is practically impossible to know what the banks are charging each other, but it all adds up.
At the end of two weeks you’ve lost enough to notice, if not send you weeping to your accountant. And yes, you are getting awards points but in Canada they are unlikely to surpass 1 per cent per purchase which still leaves you behind on the total.
The alternative is to use your debit/ATM card to withdraw a big wad of cash once. With PCF that will cost $3 whatever the sum. A large withdrawal spreads the transaction fee much more thinly over your purchases. However piddly it seems, the distinction will allow some wiggle room at the end of the vacation.
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Aug 17th, 2013, 03:05 PM
  #11
 
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We're in Prague now. Cash is greatly preferred for less than 20 USD transactions. ATM at train station in underground area near taxi exit (right next to currency exchange center).

Try to get away from the crowds as it is so much more enjoyable!
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Aug 17th, 2013, 03:37 PM
  #12
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WOW! We've never calculated the cost of the use of the credit cards abroad, simply did it. By your calculation Southam we may have frittered away an additional holiday...or 2! We'll have to do more research! Thanks mah1980 for the location, I'll note it on my phone.
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Aug 17th, 2013, 08:12 PM
  #13
 
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In Prague,in the historical area, you can do a great deal of walking. Also the subway system or trolleys are quite good and inexpensive. Use a credit card that does not charge a foreign transaction fee...for example Capital One. It is the Paris of the East. Enjoy! The music is wonderful!
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Aug 18th, 2013, 08:52 AM
  #14
 
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"If from the US - Discover is NOT taken in europe."

This is NO LONGER CORRECT. Discover is now accepted anywhere Diners Club is (the cards have a DC logo on the back), and I used my Discover card for over $1000 in upscale shopping in Prague (also a couple midrange restaurants) earlier this month.
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