Compare your travel money options for Croatia and find the best way to access your money abroad.
Sip cocktails at a seaside bar watching the sun dip into the Adriatic without worrying about how you're going to pay for your drink. Compare your travel money options for Croatia to get the best product for your upcoming trip, be it a no-fee credit car, debit card offering rebates or cold hard cash.
There are travel-friendly ways to bring money to Croatia including credit cards with no foreign transaction fees, debit cards that give you rebates on international transaction and ATM fees and pre-paid travel money cards that don't connect directly to your everyday bank account for added security.
We've laid out the options for each below to help you make a decision:
Should I bring a travel card, a debit card or a credit card to Croatia?
You should have little trouble with Visa and Mastercard acceptance in Croatia. American Express is accepted in fewer places than Diner Club. If you want to avoid extra bank fees in Croatia, make use of a variety of cards and use each one for a specific purpose. For example, choose a card that does not charge for currency conversion for over the counter payments and a different card for ATM withdrawals — even better if you can find a card that suits both purposes.
A quick summary of travel money options in Croatia
|Travel money option||Pros||Considerations|
|Debit cards for travel||
|Prepaid travel money cards||
|Credit cards for travel||
This table is a general summary of the travel money products in the market. Features and benefits can vary between cards.
How travel money products work in Croatia
The best way to take travel money to Croatia is to use a card with low or no currency conversion fees and foreign ATM transaction charges fees that allows you to withdraw, spend and use the local currency, Kuna.
Using prepaid travel cards
There are no travel cards on the Australian market which allow you to load, withdraw or spend Kuna. So while your travel card loaded with a major international currency such as euros, pounds sterling or Australian dollars will be accepted in Croatia, currency conversion fees apply (there are a few travel cards which don’t charge for currency conversion). If you’re stuck on a travel card, try to find the following:
- Travel cards which don’t charge for currency conversion charge international ATM withdrawal fees
- Travel cards which give you free international ATM withdrawals charge more than usual for currency conversion
Using debit cards
Travel debit cards allow you to conveniently and securely access your own money in Croatia, minus the extra fees. The Citibank Plus Transaction Account is the leading travel debit account: pay nothing for currency conversion and pay no international ATM fees (local ATM operator fees are unavoidable in Croatia). The Bankwest Qantas Transaction Account is another option. Citibank and Bankwest are the two providers which won’t charge international ATM fees (AUD$5 per ATM withdrawal).
- Tip: When you’re making a purchase over the counter with your card, if you’re asked whether you want to pay in Aussie dollars or kuna, always pay in the local currency. You’ll lose out on the exchange rate otherwise.
Using credit cards
Visa and Mastercard credit cards — the majority of cards issued in Australia — are widely accepted in Croatia. The currency conversion fee (or lack thereof) is what to look for. There are a handful of credit cards which let you spend in another currency without paying the extra 3%. Bankwest are worth mentioning: Bankwest Platinum credit cards don’t charge for currency conversion.
Watch out for cash advance fees and charges if you make a withdrawal on credit, it’s one of the most expensive ways to get cash.
- Tip: Some credit cards offer complimentary international travel insurance when you charge the cost of your travel ticket to your card.
Using traveller's cheques
Don’t concern yourself with traveller’s cheques, this travel money product is more hassle than it’s worth in Croatia. Card payments are the norm in Croatia and card providers offer money back guarantees if you’re the victim of fraud. These features have made traveller’s cheques redundant.
Using an ATM in Croatia
ATMs, called Bankomats, easily found all over Croatia. Croatian ATMs use the 4 digit PIN and chip system so all Australian debit and credit cards will be easily accepted. If you are withdrawing a large sum of money, you may get stuck with large bills. The 500 Kuna, and even rarer 1,000 Kuna will be tricky to change, especially from smaller coffee shops, bakeries and boutiques. If you find yourself stuck with larger notes, try getting them changed at a post office, or in the bank of the ATM you used to make the withdrawal.
Paying with cash in Croatia
Since July 2013, Croatia has been an official part of the European Union, but it’s yet neither a part of the schengen agreement, which allows border-free passage between signatory states, or part of the Eurozone. That means that travellers to Croatia will need to be prepared to spend the Croatian local currency, Kuna, during their travels.
While visitors will find that prices are often quoted in euros, and euros are widely accepted, especially in touristy areas, using euro cash rather than kuna will almost certainly leave you short-changed. Use kuna rather than euros, either by exchanging foreign currency, withdrawing from an ATM or by using credit or debit cards to make purchases.
- Exchanging cash. Exchanging cash is a simple affair in Croatia. Exchange booths (Mjenjacnica), banks and post offices will change euros, American dollars, Australian dollars, pounds, Serbian dinar, Hungarian forint and Swiss francs. Post offices and banks are usually the most dependable places to get your money changed.
- Exchanging currency on the Islands. If you are heading to one of Croatia’s many beautiful islands, it is best to exchange foreign currency into the Kuna on the mainland (or just use an ATM — operator fees apply). Tourist agencies and exchange offices are plentiful on the islands, but the rate is often unfavourable.
- For road-trippers. If you are arriving to Croatia by car, one of the first things you see once you cross the border will be exchange booths. Just change enough to get you to the nearest town unless you are absolutely sure of the exchange rate. Roadside exchange booths at border crossings are notorious for poor exchange rates. Even if you are arriving from neighbouring countries that don’t use Euro, make sure you have Euro to change. It is by far the most accepted foreign currency for exchange. You will be surprised at the unwillingness of exchange booths to accept Serbian Dinar on the Croatian/ Serbian border or Hungarian Forint on the Hungarian/Croatian border, for example. In emergency situations or if you don’t have Kuna, Euro cash always speaks loudest.
- For jet-setters. True for almost everywhere in the world: Do not get your money changed at the airport. If you need cash, and don’t have Kuna, just change a small amount to get you into town.
Why you’ll need a combination of travel money options for Croatia
Travel cards don’t support Croatian kuna, the cards which don’t charge for currency conversion will make up the fee by charging an international ATM withdrawal fee. Note that there are debit cards and credit cards which waive both the currency conversion and international ATM fees. A combination of these products will ensure you have the right card to use for the right transaction as well as access to cash in case one card is stolen or lost.
Since the time of the Roman Empire, the glittering stretch of coastline and smattering of islands in the Adriatic sea have attracted travellers, investors and conquerors alike, all eager to experience this magical part of the mediterranean. Make the most of your trip in Croatia and organise your finances before you go. Compare the travel money products available to you to decide on the best way to take and spend money in Croatia.
|Year||Average annual exchange Australian Dollar (AUD) to Croatian Kuna (HRK)|
*Exchange rates are accurate as of 1 January of each year listed above.
Getting familiar with Croatian Kuna banknotes
Croatia is no longer the super-cheap holiday getaway it once was, but you can still expect to find lower prices than Western Europe. During the summer season, along the coastal stretch, prices are much higher than the rest of the year. This can’t really be avoided, but if you are on a shoestring budget, you can still scrape by saying in hostels and cheap pensions. On the other hand, if you have cash to splash, Croatia is an excellent place to let loose and live a glamorous life, even for just a week.
|Basic costs||Midrange||A royal experience|
Hotel - AUD$120 p.p.
4 Star Hotel - Double AUD$170
|Basic meal at a small restaurant
|Meal at a midrange restaurant
|Walk around the city
|A local city bike tour
|Private sailing trip
*Prices are approximate and subject to change.