Credit Card Usage in Moscow and St. Petersburg
Replies: 8 - Last Post: May 24, 2013 5:29 AM Last Post By: everbrite
May 23, 2013 11:12 AM
Credit Card Usage in Moscow and St. PetersburgI will be visiting Moscow and St. Petersburg next month -part of my three country trip that also includes Lake Baikal, Mongolia and China. I am trying to decide how much cash to carry with me and so I was wondering how widespread credit card usage is in Moscow and St. Petersburg? Do most places of interest in both cities (Hermitage Museum, Kremlin, etc.) accept credit cards for the entrance fee? What about the hydrofoil to Peterhof? Can I pay with a credit card for that? I am just trying to get an idea of whether credit card usage is widespread in Moscow and St. Petersburg.
May 23, 2013 12:09 PM
May 23, 2013 6:55 PM
Just curious - any particular reason you warn against carrying too much cash beyond normal caution when in a big city?? Do the ATM machines in Moscow or St. Petersburg have an english language option??
I'm asking because my wife and I were considering bringing cash in order to avoid logistical issues after arriving. We've made most of our larger purchases, (hotel reservations etc) online with credit cards, so our needs would be mostly food, entrance fee's and miscellaneous shopping.
May 23, 2013 9:21 PM
3You can carry cash if you want. Best to change either 100 usd bills or 100 or 200 euro notes to local currency as places will only accept rubles. But really there is generally the exchange rate is best from an ATM so why carry cash that you then need to worry about having with you?
Travelers are targets for gypsy bands in the metro and buses, particularly in St. Petersburg.
May 23, 2013 11:40 PM
4Virtually all restaurants and most shops accept cards, but card payment is not as common as in the West, so it is always good to have some cash. As stated above, state run entities like museums and public transport are much less likely to accept cards. Small museums definitely will not. ATMs are widespread, so there is no need to carry lots of cash around.
May 24, 2013 4:37 AM
May 24, 2013 4:39 AM
May 24, 2013 5:25 AM
7As far as rates are concered when using an ATM in Russia, that will be set by your own bank, so contact them to see what the rates are and what additional fees there might be.
Generally speaking all ATM's will have an English language option unless you really plan to go off the beaten track, you may though find your card will not work....don't panic just try another bank machine, Sberbank are a good safe bet.
You'll get a lousy rate in the US, but that's your choice..... you can compare them if you like with the banks in Russia http://quote.rbc.ru/cash/
May 24, 2013 5:29 AM
8I never travel with local cash. I take a small amount of cash from an ATM on arrival in the airport and then get more downtown where the exchange rates are usually better. I use a debit card and my bank changes the interbank rate plus 1% which is generally much better than changing money in the US prior to travel and better than using a credit card for purchases. Although one of my cards doesn't charge a foreign currency exchange fee, it's conversion rate never seems as good as my debit card.
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