Destinations > Europe > Bulgaria

Currency, Exchange, Credit Cards, ATMs in Bulgaria

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Currency

Bulgaria's currency is Lev (BGN, symbol лв), divided into 100 stotinki. Available denominations of notes are лв100, 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1. Coins come in denominations of лв1 and 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 stotinki. Notes from 1997 and older are not in circulation.

The lev is pegged to euro at rate 1.95583 = лв1.0

Foreign Currency Exchange

Foreign currency can be exchanged in banks or at money exchange offices (marked with 'exchange' sign). Make sure that the notes you're changing are in good condition - very worn, torn, dirty or old notes may be refused. Travelers are also strongly advised not to try exchange money out on the street, if approached by someone offering 'very good' rates.

Best rates are offered for euros, US dollars and pounds sterling. Other currencies may be difficult to change in smaller cities. Some money changers don't show that they charge additional fees or commissions, or post misleading rate quotations, so be sure you check the amount of leva you're about to receive before you finalize the transaction.

Foreign currency won't be normally accepted as payment in retail stores.

ATMs

Automated Teller Machines (ATM's) are widespread in Bulgaria. Most ATM's accept VISA/Plus, Visa Electron, MasterCard/Cirrus, Maestro, American Express and Diners Club. Note that most banks limit the daily withdrawal to only 200 leva.

According to the U.S. Department of State, travelers to Bulgaria should exercise caution when using ATMs due to numerous incidents of stolen card numbers and PINs by skimming devices attached to the machines.

Credit Cards

The use of credit cards in Bulgaria is not common and the country operates mostly on cash. Major credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, American Express) are accepted in larger cities, in larger hotels, car rental offices, some restaurants and shops, but travelers should not rely entirely on using their credit cards. Some hotels or retailers will also charge additional fee when paying by credit card.

Due to high risk of potential fraud, the U.S. Department of State recommends that travelers to Bulgaria use their credit cards sparingly and with extreme caution.

Traveler's Checks

Traveler's checks are accepted in major hotels, some major restaurants and in banks. Commissions from 2% to 5% will normally apply for cashing the check. For best exchange rates travelers should have the checks in US dollars, pounds sterling or euros.

Banking Hours

Banks are typically open from 9.00am to 4.00pm Monday to Friday.

Taxes

Prices normally include the value-added tax (20%). Some restaurants have a service charge of 10%.


Current Bulgarian Lev Rates

For other currencies or conversion amounts go to Currency Converter





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