In Russia we use our national currency called “Ruble”. One ruble is 100 kopecks (“kopeyka”). Denomination values are the following: notes — 10, 50, 100, 500, 1000, and 5000 rubles; coins — 1, 2, 5, and 10 rubles. Kopeck coins are rarely used due to their low value.
In Russia you cannot pay for goods and services in any currency other than rubles, so you have to exchange money.
You can exchange money in a bank or any special exchange office. Usually exchange offices take euro and US dollars. The rates are very pleasing now, so if you want to carry cash, bring it in any of these currencies then. It could be difficult to exchange any other currency.
As in most countries, the worst exchange rate you can find at the airport, the best – in the center of the town. Try not to exchange your money on the street, it could be unsafe.
If you visit any big city like Moscow or Saint Petersburg you can withdraw money using ATM machine. Over the last few years number of ATM machines in our country has increased amazingly. They are usually located in lobbies of most big hotels, in trade centers, at metro stations, and, of course, next to banks. Cashpoint charge fee is rather small, and the exchange rate is reasonable usually.
Cards are widely accepted in most shops and restaurants, but you’d better inquire before ordering. Visa and Mastercard are accepted everywhere, while Diner’s club and American Express are not so popular.
I do not recommend you to take travellers cheques as it could be difficult to exchange them outside Moscow.
Cards are very popular in big cities, but you could have problems paying card if you go to any place located inside the country far from Moscow. You would better take cash.
I know that due to high expansion of credit card fraud in Russia, some Western banks block card automatically if it is used in Russia without prior notification. Thus I recommend you to consult your bank before the trip.4 030