|Money in Greece|
|Yes they have money in Greece. And more services than you would expect. Greece is not a third-world basket case; it has a functioning banking system. As you get into the rural areas there will be all sorts of adventures with odd closing hours and small shops that don't take credit cards.|
Can I use credit cards? Yes. They are widely accepted. Alsmot all stores selling high-ticket items take the usual credit cards, as do hotels (the absolute cheapest ones may not).
Can I use travelers checks? Yes. But you may not need so many of these as previously, given the credit cards and ATM machines.
Are there restrictions on moving money in and out? Some countries do this, but there are no restrictions for Greece that would apply to the average tourist. There are restrictions on Americans bringing large amounts of cash into the US; consult the appropriate authorities for specifics.
Is there a black market in currency exchange? Probably, but it would be pointless to use it. The official exchange rate floats and is reasonable. I've never heard of tourists seeking this out and I would certainly recommend against it.
Can I get the VAT tax back? In theory yes, but everyone says it is hard. In theory, if you are not a citizen of an EU country, you can ask for a form at the time of purchase and submit it somewhere to claim a refund. Not worth it, the guidebooks say unless it is a really expensive item.
What about the old notes? For a story about the Corfu museum and its history of Greek banknotes, go here.
How can I change money?
What does this look like? Yes, its an ATM machine (on Myconos, 1998). Note all the various networks it is part of.
Insert your bank card. Pick English off the menu, unless you like adventure. Withdraw money. No muss, no fuss. And you get a good conversion rate as well. Indeed, ATM machines are generally thought to give you the best conversion rate of all - much better than using a hotel.
These ATM's are pretty common around Greece. Even in rural areas, I find one in the town center of medium sized places. You can depend on them in urban areas.
You can also change money at banks and special money change places. Hotels generally give the worst rate.
And this is a money changing machine. Insert bills of one nation, get bills from Greece.
Below, the older Drachma note.
|Last modified 9/10/07; posted 3/2000; original content © 2007, 2000 John P. Nordin|