St Petersburg Practical Information: Money
Russian currency, as you all know, is called the rouble and there are 100 kopecks in one rouble. Roubles are issued in coins in amounts of one, two, five and ten roubles, and bank notes come in values of ten, fifty, one hundred, five hundred, one thousand and five thousand roubles. You can also find five rouble notes, so don’t be too surprised if you receive one in a shop!
Kopecks come in coins as well, worth ten, twenty and fifty kopecks: the ten kopeck coins are tiny so try not to lose them! In reality, kopecks aren’t worth very much, so don’t panic if a shop assistant doesn’t give you back your kopecks in change- this is quite common in St Petersburg, at least.
Remember that small shops, kiosks and other vendors have difficulty changing large notes like the thousand and especially the five thousand note, so save the smaller ones!
There are ATMs all over the city, and using your debit or credit card, you will only receive roubles. Most ATMs won’t charge you for withdrawing cash, but if you have a foreign bank card, your bank at home will charge you for the conversion rate, so find a bank with a decent rate. It is often worth taking out larger sums of cash than you actually need, as most banks are limited on how much they can charge you for the conversion fee, so you will save yourself a lot of money this way. Just be extra careful when walking around with a lot of money in your pockets!
US dollars and euros are really easy to change in St Petersburg, but other currencies will often be more hassle than they’re worth. Remember that whatever currency you bring has to be in pristine condition: any torn, tatty or otherwise damaged notes will not be accepted by any banks or money exchange places. This also applies to your rouble notes: often shops and vendors will not accept damaged notes. When you visit the exchange offices, be prepared to show your passport.
Credit cards are widely accepted but travellers checks aren’t worth the effort and aren’t commonly accepted in restaurants, hotels or stores. It’s a lot easier to just use your debit or credit card to pay by card or to withdraw cash.
The rouble is relatively stable and the exchange rate hovers around these:
1 USD = 35 roubles
1 GBP = 60 roubles
1 EUR = 50 roubles