How to keep your money safe during a trip to Ukraine
It is probably the main fear of any traveler to be left without money in a foreign country. Wherever you go and whatever kind of money you use, there is always a chance to lose it in the most inappropriate moment: an ATM or a bank might block your credit card, you might become a victim of a fraud or you might accidentally lose your traveler’s checks. The described scenario is quite probable in Ukraine, and therefore, it is better to follow several important rules in order to avoid being left without the means and ways, getting into a trouble and spoiling your vacation.
Cash is still the most widespread way of payment in Ukraine, therefore, foreigners prefer to provide themselves with solid money, when traveling to the country. The main rule is not to keep all cash at the same place, because in case of robbery or loss of luggage you might lose everything at once. For example, it is convenient to use special travelling cash-boxes or belts for concealed carrying of money.
Don’t carry all your cash with you. Calculate how much do you need for a day and leave all extra money in hotel’s safe. In addition, always take some foreign currency (US Dollar or Euro) with you. In case of necessity you can easily exchange it for Ukrainian grivna at any bank or exchange point.
In addition to cash, you can pay with virtually all basic credit cards in Ukraine: Visa, Mastercard, Cirus, Maestro. Nevertheless, preparing to a trip, it is better to check all information about your credit or debit card and to find out what commission will be applied for card payment and for cash withdrawal. It is also advisable to call your bank and to tell where and when you are going to travel. Otherwise, the bank may block your card at the first attempt to pay with it in Ukraine.
Never let your card out of sight: do not give it to hotel staff, shop assistant or waitress, and require that all transactions are made at your presence. In dubious places, it is better to play it safe and to pay with cash from an ATM. Be sure to have a phone number of the bank to which you could turn in case of card’s loss or theft.
Ukrainian cash machines are somewhat different from those in other countries. Thus, before confirming any operations on the screen, carefully examine peculiarities of keyboard. In addition, pay attention to suspicious elements. Ukrainian swindlers often install so-called skimmers on ATM’s keyboard. These illegal devices pick up personal information from banking cards.
Be careful, when withdrawing money from an ATM: enter your PIN-code in a way that no one can see it and don’t leave receipts in cash machines. If possible, use ATMs located in crowded places.
The main difference of traveler’s checks from the cash and their major convenience is that they can’t be wasted: in case of a loss, a bank will refund your money, if you provide proof of purchase. However, these advantages have little use in Ukraine: traveler’s checks are not as common as in the USA or in Europe and it might be problematic to cash them, let alone the recovery procedure.
Nevertheless, even if you are left without cash and for some reason can’t pay with a credit card, you can always use the services of money transfer systems, such as Western Union, and ask your friends or relatives to send you money. However, in this case, they will have to pay rather large transaction fees – sometimes up to 30%.