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currency rip off, a guide from a recent visitor

Kingsteignton...
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currency rip off, a guide from a recent visitor

Having just returned, the booth at the Airport gave 78 lats, the exchange shops in Riga gave 76, the best of all was 86, yes over 10% more, this was the currency exchange opposite the National Opera house, went three times, it wasn't a mistake.

Good Luck and be careful

Wigan
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1. Re: currency rip off, a guide from a recent visitor

we've been to riga many times now and the exchange rates do vary quite a lot but you can still get a much better rate than you do in the UK. we always look around but have tended to use the same place for the last couple of years now. at the far end of the central market on gogola iela (ajoining a clothes shop)

Winona, Minnesota
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2. Re: currency rip off, a guide from a recent visitor

I just went to my local bank to get some Lats, kind of nervous to see what I get for what I spent. My guess is it won't be much.I thought I had some from my 2009 trip, but must have exchanged it before leaving Europe. I know that it'll be a bit cheaper there no matter what compared to other places in Europe right now. That's the one bright spot, I think.

San Diego
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3. Re: currency rip off, a guide from a recent visitor

Can't you just use the ATM?

Jim

Vejen, Denmark
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for Riga
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4. Re: currency rip off, a guide from a recent visitor

I always use ATM (for more than 8 years now) - ofcourse they can variate also but I can see from last visit exchange is between 85-88 LAT for 100 £ (calculated from danish kr).

Then your own bank will charge you a fee for cash withdraw depending on your agreement, but think about the freedom never have to run around and compare rates and to be able to cash out when and what you need 24/7 !

San Diego
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5. Re: currency rip off, a guide from a recent visitor

Hi Eastwood,

We travel a lot too and rely exclusively on ATMs, wherever we go. The only place we ever have problems is in South America where ATMs can be broken or out of money.

I don't know about Denmark, but in the U.S. we have banks owned by the brokerrage firms, who do not have physical offices, like Schwab Bank or Fidelity Bank. They pay any fees charged by the ATM.

Jim

Portland, OR
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6. Re: currency rip off, a guide from a recent visitor

Yes, I highly recommned the use of ATMs to get local currency. I've done this in every foreign country I've visited (about 15) and it's always been by far the way to get the best rate.

A bit of advice though, check your banks charge policy because it can vary and may make a big difference as to how you withdraw cash. For instance, one of my banks charges 1% while the other charges $5 flat.

Frankly, Im not sure why anyone would use those currency exhange joints. Think about it this way... those places exist solely to make a profict from currency exchange. So, of course they are going to try and stretch things as far as they can in order to make the most profit. The one of these that I ever used (in Prague last summer when i got stuck with too much local currency before returning to the US) was a joke. Not only was the rate pretty lame, but then they added a rediculous transaction fee on top of it. I've also seen customers at other locations go insane and practically threaten physcial violence!

Contrast this to a bank, whose main source of revenue is most certainly not customers (even foreign ones) taking out cash from their ATMs. That's why you can always get the best straight rate here and typically even the small addiitonal fees imposed by your bank will not even come close to those charged but the currency exchanges places.

Kingsteignton...
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7. Re: currency rip off, a guide from a recent visitor

It is very interesting to see that it is Americans who are advocating ATM's. The point I was making was there is a currency exchange in Riga that doesn't rip you off, in the UK we do have banks that charge you high fees for using an ATM, and I was suggesting finding a good exchange locally to save feeding our rapacious banks.

Wigan
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8. Re: currency rip off, a guide from a recent visitor

Devonroamer i totally agree, the reason we use currency exchange is because if you spend 30 mins checking a few out you can save yourself money. i usually exchange £500. in a UK post office at the moment i will get 0.83lts to the £. in Latvija Banka i get 0.89. but if i use my debit card i get charged 1.5% or £1.95 each time its used. the exchange rate i use is usually a couple of centimes better than the banks. so if i exchanged £500 in the uk i would get 415lts, if i exchange in Latvia i get 448lts!!!....33lts!! thats a good meal and a round of drinks in a decent restauraunt! plus if i dont use debit i have no 1.5% fees(some banks over here charge up to 3%)

Portland, OR
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9. Re: currency rip off, a guide from a recent visitor

Apparently banks in the UK charge more than those in the US becasue even with what my banks charge to withdraw from ATM's, none of those Fx places can even come close. Still, the last thing I want to while visiting a foreign city is waste time trying to decipher which one of those places will rip you off the least lol.

Saint Paul
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10. Re: currency rip off, a guide from a recent visitor

Ok,

so as I see it, if you are US, take your debit card, use it in an atm to generate cash for yourself.

If you are GB, take a pile of cash along, and use a currency exchange.

Problem solved.