Travel Money Guide: Croatia

Rates and Fees verified correct on October 28th, 2016

Find out which cards to use in Croatia so you can have cheap and convenient access to your money.

If you are travelling to Croatia you will be spending in Kuna, the national currency. The exchange rate for the Kuna is fixed to the Euro. The fixed rate allows the Government to make Kuna more expensive during the summer tourist season, which it does every year. ATMs are widely available all over the country and you can pay with your Visa or MasterCard card in most shops, supermarkets, cafes, restaurants, bars, hotels, hostels and when buying transport tickets. All you need is a debit, credit or travel card with a chip, and a 4 digit PIN number.

Which option is right for your next trip?

Bankwest Zero Platinum MasterCard

Bankwest Zero Platinum MasterCard

$0 foreign transaction fee with a $0 annual fee.

  • $0 p.a. annual fee
  • 17.99% p.a. on purchases
  • 2.99% p.a. for 9 months on balance transfers
  • Cash Advance Rate of 21.99% p.a.
  • Up to 55 days interest free

Compare travel cards for Croatia

Rates last updated October 28th, 2016
Foreign Currency Conversion Fee (MC) Foreign Currency Conversion Fee (VISA) Overseas ATM Withdrawal Fee Annual fee
Bankwest Zero Platinum MasterCard
An introductory offer on balance transfers with $0 annual fee. Complimentary travel insurance & 24/7 Concierge service and $0 foreign transaction fees.
0% of transaction value $0 $0 p.a. Go to site More info
28 Degrees Platinum MasterCard
Benefit from no international transaction fees on purchases, no currency conversion fees and no annual fee.
0% of transaction value $0 $0 p.a. Go to site More info
Bankwest Qantas Platinum MasterCard
Receive 50,000 introductory bonus Qantas Points when you apply before 30 November 2016. Earn 0.50 rewards points per $1 spent on eligible purchases.
0% of transaction value $0 $160 p.a. Go to site More info
Rates last updated October 28th, 2016
Monthly Account Fee Debit Card Access ATM Withdrawal Fee Fee Free Deposit p.m. Details
Westpac Choice
$0 Overseas ATM fee when you withdraw from the Global ATM alliance network.
Mastercard $0 $2,000 No ATM fees when using St.George, Westpac, BankSA or Bank of Melbourne ATMs in Australia. Deposit at least $2,000 per month and enjoy no monthly service fee. Open More
St.George Complete Freedom Account
$0 Overseas ATM fee when you withdraw from the Global ATM alliance network.
Visa $0 $2,000 No account keeping fees, if you deposit $2,000 per month plus no minimum balance required. No ATM fees when using St.George, Westpac and BankSA ATMs. Open More
Bank of Melbourne Express Freedom
$0 Overseas ATM fee when you withdraw from the Global ATM alliance network.
Visa $0 $1,000 No ATM fees when you use Bank of Melbourne, St.George, Westpac and BankSA ATMs. No monthly fees if you deposit $1000 into your account each month. Open More
Bankwest Qantas Transaction Account
No overseas ATM withdrawal fees (charged by Bankwest), 3rd party ATM fees and international transaction fees may still apply.
Mastercard $0 $2,000 No monthly fees when you deposit at least $2,000 into your account each month. Free access to Bankwest and CommBank ATMs in Australia. No overseas ATM withdrawal fees (charged by Bankwest) though third party fees may apply. Open More
Citibank Plus Everyday Account
No international transaction fees and no overseas ATM withdrawals fees if you use a Citibank ATM overseas.
Visa $0 $0 No ATM fees using Citibank, Westpac, BankSA and St.George branded ATMs in Australia. Use overseas Citibank ATMs for free. More
Rates last updated October 28th, 2016
Available Currencies ATM Withdrawal Fee Reload Fee Initial Load Fee
Flight Centre Key to the World Currency Card
Flight Centre Key to the World Currency Card
AUD, USD, SGD, NZD, JPY, THB, GBP, EUR, HKD, CAD USD 2.50, EUR 2.50, GBP 2.00, NZD 3.50, THB 80.00, CAD 3.50, HKD 18.00, JPY 260.00, SGD 3.50, AUD 3.50 1.1% of the total amount $0 Go to site More
Travelex Travel Card
Travelex Travel Card
AUD, CAD, EUR, GBP, HKD, JPY, NZD, SGD, THB, USD Travelex does not charge an ATM withdrawal fee when you use your Travelex Multi-currency Cash Passport to withdraw currencies that are loaded on the card at overseas ATMs where MasterCard is accepted. The greater of 1.1% of the initial load / reload amount or AU$15.00 $0 Go to site More

How much money do I need to bring to Croatia?

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 costsMidrangeA royal experience
bldgOne night
Dorm: AUD$29
Campsite: AUD$8.00
One night
Hotel - AUD$120 p.p.
One night
4 Star Hotel - Double AUD$170
utensilBasic meal at a small restaurant
Meal at a midrange restaurant
Fine dining
AUD$60 p.p.
cameraWalk around the city
It’s free
A local city bike tour
AUD$35 p.p.
Private sailing trip
AUD$200 p.p.

*Prices are approximate and subject to change.

Exchange rate history

Over the past 12 months, on average, AUD$1 will get you about HRK5. While it’s extremely difficult to predict where forex rates will move in the future, over the past couple of years, changes in value between the two currencies will have had little or no significance for Australians visiting Croatia (think 0.03 cents).

YearAverage annual exchange Australian Dollar (AUD) to Croatian Kuna (HRK)

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Should it be a travel card, a debit card or a credit card?

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 optionProsConsiderations
Debit cards for travel
  • Protected by PIN security
  • Debit cards are widely accepted in Croatia
  • Access funds from an ATM or pay for purchases over the counter
  • Emergency cash facilities
  • Ideal for managing your travel budget
  • Currency conversion fees on foreign transactions
  • Lost debit cards while overseas can be easily blocked, but not easily replaced
  • No emergency cash
  • No backup cards
Prepaid travel money cards
  • Protected by PIN & chip
  • Pre-load and secure your exchange rate in multiple foreign currencies
  • Accepted worldwide
  • Emergency card replacement and backup cards
  • Ideal for managing your travel budget
  • No travel card allows you to pre-load Kuna
  • Reloading time
  • Currency conversion and international ATM fees
Credit cards for travel
  • Protected by PIN & chip
  • Access to funds up to your credit limit
  • Accepted worldwide
  • No currency conversion/ transaction fees
  • Benefits including rewards points on spending, 0% purchases, frequent flyer perks, complimentary travel insurance
  • Emergency card replacement
  • Can charge high withdrawal and cash advance fees
  • Higher spending limit (depends on your approved credit limit)
Traveller's cheques
  • Secure and can be easily replaced if lost or stolen
  • Photo I.D. needed to cash cheques
  • Can be costly with initial purchase charges
  • Not all merchants accept traveller's cheques
  • Greater payment flexibility
  • Convenience
  • More difficult to manage expenses
  • Higher risk of theft
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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 and also waive international ATM fees (local ATM fees still apply).

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.

Compare credit cards with low cash advance rates here

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.
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An interview with Phil on the Croatian Coast

What cards did you take?

Why did you take these cards?

  • Citibank. Phil applied for the Citibank account before he left because the account doesn’t charge for currency conversion or for international ATM withdrawals. He used the card over the counter where he could and for ATM withdrawals while on he was on the TopDeck Croatian Sailing Cruise. This was his main travel account. He transferred a lump sum to this account before he left.
  • Westpac. Phil originally applied for this credit card to utilise the balance transfer feature. He used this card to pay for his airfare to Croatia because of the complimentary international travel insurance feature.
  • St.George. He didn’t plan on using this debit card in Croatia, and he didn’t, but he took it anyway to use as a backup because “three cards are better than two”. He also thought he may be able to use his St.George Debit Card to make free ATM withdrawals at Westpac Global Alliance ATMs when he left Croatia and headed to France (BNP Paribas).

Did you withdraw from ATMs?

He says he made multiple ATM withdrawals over three weeks and probably paid about $70 in ATM fees. Phil tried to budget, but the lure of cocktails and drinks on the Mediterranean (especially when paying for drinks on the TopDeck boat) blew this out a little so he had to make more ATM withdrawals than he had originally planned. He didn’t have a problem finding an ATM which accepted Visa and gave instructions in English.

Where could you use your cards?

He says he didn’t have a problem when he was shopping at larger establishments such as supermarkets, restaurants and hotels. Phil and his friends did have to pay cash when they rented an apartment in Split. It was a private rental and the apartment owner required cash in hand. The were other times when Phil couldn’t use his card too. He says it’s a common sense thing – markets, small restaurants and bars are cash only.

What do you think is the best way to take money to Croatia?

Phil says a debit card and a credit card combination was a good way to fund his travels. He didn’t bother with applying for a travel card because as he says, “they’re pretty useless to use in Croatia.”

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Getting familiar with Croatian Kuna banknotes

Buying currency in Australia

Croatian kuna is an exotic currency. Foreign cash providers such as Australia Post or Travelex don’t sell kuna as cash to collect before you go. Your bank may be able to help you; however, you’ll pay a commission for the service (you may be able to avoid a commission if you order online). Looking at the Big Four Banks, only the Commonwealth Bank publish the Croatian kuna exchange rate for foreign cash orders. NAB, ANZ and Westpac can supply kuna upon request.

Exchange rates

Credit cards and debit cards use the Visa and MasterCard (etc) exchange rate, which is the most favourable rate everyday consumers can get when dynamic currency conversion takes place (at the time of the transaction). You’ll come out on top using a credit card or debit card which doesn’t charge for currency conversion compared to a travel card.

Find cash and ATMs in Croatia

Why you’ll need a combination of travel money options

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.

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Get travel insurance quotes for your holiday in Croatia

Croatia offers holidaymakers a great chance to look into a world long past. From the seaside castle walls of Dubrovnik (or as it better known these days as the site of Kings Landing in Game of Thrones) to the old world charm of Zagreb, Croatia has a great many sights for tourists to see.

However, just like travelling anywhere Croatia presents a unique set of risks, which is why every travellers needs travel insurance. Travel insurance for Croatia covers:

  • Repatriation
  • Resumption
  • Cancellation
  • Lost luggage
  • Missed connections
  • Personal liability

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This page was last modified on 23 June 2016 at 11:20.

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