Money

Currency in Russia

Money is the first thing you think about when you plan your trip to another country. As in any other place, in Russia being cautious will save you from all kinds of troubles. Russian money name is ‘rouble’.

It has had its ups and downs since 1990’s, and nowadays the approximate rates of money exchange in Russia are as follows: 1 EUR = 65 RUB 1 USD = 61 RUB 1 GBP = 77 RUB.

Payment Methods

Payment methods in Russia are cash and credit cards. You can withdraw cash at ATM using your current account, or open an account at any Russian bank and get an ATM card.

You will be charged a couple of dollars for using another bank’s ATM, while using your bank’s machine is free. Besides, you can pay all kinds of utilities and bills using the ATM card.

Credit cards

Are credit cards widely accepted in Russia? Yes, especially in megacities, like St Petersburg or Moscow. Credit and debit cards are accepted in shopping malls, restaurants etc. Keep in mind: small businesses seldom accept credit cards. Why don’t you just contact your credit card company before departure and ask whether your card will be accepted in Russia. You might also need to increase your daily withdrawal amount. Banks and hotels are considered to be the safest place to pay with credit card, though make sure that you keep all receipts when paying, so that you have no problems when you return home.

Cash

Outside of big cities it’s better to have roubles in your wallet, or at least your ATM card, to withdraw cash using ATM in Russia - there are plenty of them even in small towns. If you take your dollars or euros with you, you can exchange them in banks, small exchange offices in the street or directly at the airport.

Did you know that…

…in 1704 Russia was the first country in the world which equated one coin to 100 other coins, by equating one rouble to 100 kopecks (russian money name for coins).Today kopecks cause only irritation. People even refuse to get it in the stores. However, In the XVI century, kopecks were stable currency and you could even buy 3 kg of rye for only one kopeck, and 7 kopecks costed an axe.

What will my money buy?

Prices in Russia vary from city to city, with increase in megacities. Some services, like taxi journeys, might turn out more expensive for tourists than for the locals.

Approximate prices for the most popular expenses in Russia:

  • 1 loaf of bread – 20-35 roubles;
  • 1 bottle of beer – 70-100 roubles;
  • 1 bottle of vodka – 375-500 roubles;
  • A café snack – 700-1000 roubles;
  • A dinner for two in a good restaurant – 3000-4000 roubles;
  • A trip on the metro – 50 roubles;
  • A short taxi trip – 150-200 roubles;

Basically, all prices are indicated in russian money name. In some places they are indicated in ‘standard units’, or ‘У.Е.’, which usually stands for US dollars and seldom – euros.

Do I need to tip?

Tipping has become customary only within the last couple of decades in Russia. It’s common to tip in restaurants and cafes, in luxurious hotels (if the service is good), giving tips to travel guides. The figure is about 10% of the bill. Be sure to tip the exact person who serves you!

You don’t need to give tips to bar tenders and taxi drivers.

How much money can I import and export?

If you cannot sleep before the trip, questioning yourself ‘are credit cards widely accepted in Russia?’ or ‘can I use ATM in Russia?’, stop these worries by getting some cash with you. Money exchange in Russia is much easier for USD and EUR, that for GBP, so it’s better to take dollars or euros with you. You are allowed to "import" to Russia up to $10,000 (or its equivalent), without declaring it at the customs. The maximum “export’ amount is $3,000. A larger sum must be declared at the customs. Ensure that your declaration is stamped by an official at the customs at your port of entry, otherwise it will not be valid.