The most spread form of payment in Ukraine is cash. At the same time, practically all basic credit cards - Visa, Mastercard, Cirus, Maestro - are widely accepted for payment. Nevertheless, there might be problems when paying with American Express and Diners Club cards, while these paying systems are not spread enough in Ukraine. In many shops (in particular, of large distribution networks), restaurants, hotels, on petrol stations, etc. you will be able to pay with credit card.
There will also be no problem with cash withdrawal, especially in large cities. Cash machines are installed in the airport terminals, at the railway stations, in the foyers of many hotels, in supermarkets and just in the streets. Most ATMs are designed for Ukrainian national currency - grivna. However, in big cities, such as Kyiv, Odesa, Lviv, Kharkiv, there are cash machines, where you may withdraw necessary sum in US Dollars. But it is more beneficial to withdraw money in grivna. Banking fee in so doing will be up to 3% of the amount.
Be careful when withdrawing money at the ATM in the street, if possible use ATMs located in crowded places.
Prices of catering in Ukraine depend on city and region. For example, in large regional centers - Kyiv, Odesa, Donetsk, Kharkiv - they are somewhat higher than in small towns in the west of the country. In Crimea catering traditionally goes up in price in summer season. But in a whole its cost in Ukraine remains quite democratic.
At fast-food restaurant or bar you may eat for 4-6 €. Dinner at the cafe with national cuisine will cost 5-10 €, including beverages. Average bill at the economy-class restaurant makes up 20-30 €, at the middle-class restaurant - 30-50 €. The cost of dinner at the elite restaurant will be higher - from 60 € up to several hundred Euros.
Alcoholic drinks in Ukraine are much cheaper than in Europe. At the same time, locally produced alcoholic products pleasantly surprise not only with price, but with high quality as well. The cheapest alcoholic drink is beer - one litter of 'foam drink' costs 0,8 €. Average bill at the beer bar makes up 8-15 €.
National currency of Ukraine is grivna, UAH (original abbreviation is grn.). One Ukrainian grivna equals 100 kopecks. There are coins at par value of 1, 2, 5, 10, 25 and 50 kopecks in circulation. Less common are coins at par value of one or two grivnas. Banknotes at par value of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 grivnas are in free circulation and are issued. At that, banknotes of both new and old model are in circulation.
In Russian speaking regions (south and east) local residents often call grivnas roubles out of habit.
When traveling to Ukraine, we recommend not using traveler's cheques. It might be problematic to cash them, because just very few Ukrainian banks accept these payment documents. Moreover the process of exchanging of traveler's cheques for cash may require a lot of your time and efforts.
If you still decide to take traveler's cheque with you, we recommend choosing Thomas Cook, Visa or American Express issued in US Dollars. In order to exchange them, it is better to turn to large banks, such as Raiffeisen Bank Aval and UKRExim Bank. Using traveler's cheques in Ukraine might also not pay, because of pretty high banking commission (up to 3%).
You may exchange currency for Ukrainian grivnas at any bank or currency exchange office. US Dollars, Euros and Russian roubles are accepted for exchange virtually in all cities. In the west of Ukraine you may also exchange Polish zlotys and Hungarian forints without problems. On the other hand, some problems may arise with exchange of British pounds - they are accepted just at few banks, predominantly in Kyiv. The same situation is in regard of other currencies. Moreover, you must consider that, as a rule, old and damaged banknotes are not accepted for exchange.
In private exchange offices exchange ratio is usually more than in banks, as well as at the airports, at the railway stations and in popular tourist centers. Be careful and don't exchange money in the streets and with individuals: firstly, it is illegal, and secondly, there is a high probability to swallow the bait of swindlers.
The standard world practice to leave tips in restaurants, bars and hotels isn't wide spread in Ukraine yet. It's up to customer whether to tip service personnel - for instance, at the restaurant, - or not. At that, the common level of compensation is from 5 to 15 % of the check amount. Consider that in some establishments tips might be included in the bill (in most cases - 5% of the check amount). Tips are generally uncommon in taxis and hairdresser's.
An average tariff for taxi services within the town is 2-3 UAH (0,2-0,3 €) per kilometer. At that, the minimum sum of order is 20 UAH (2,5 €, up to 5 km). The cost of taxi ride outside the town is 4 UAH (0,4 €) per kilometer. An auto with air-conditioner will cost 15 UAH (1,5 €) more.
We exhort you to use only legal taxis and not to get in car to private carriers, as it's not just a question of money, but of your safety, too. As a rule, there are more illegal drivers in the international airport Borispol, so you should be especially careful, when choosing a taxi here. Also always keep in mind the tariffs and don't allow short-changing you. The cost of taxi ride from the airport Borispol to the center of Kyiv is 20-25 €, and if you order a car in advance - 16-18 €.
The cost of living in Ukraine differs depending on the region. In Kyiv and Crimea, as well as in some large cities in the east of the country, the prices for accommodation are somewhat higher than in other regions. The prices also differ depending on the season. Thus, the cost of accommodation at Crimean resorts is significantly higher in summer period. In Western Ukraine, on the contrary, the cost of living in hotels goes down in this period. Generally the accommodation rises in price here in the period from November till April, when skiing-lovers gather at the Carpathian resorts.
Hostels. One day stay in a hostel will cost 8-20 € in large cities and popular tourist centers. In small towns you may find even more democratic options.
Hotels. Double room with breakfast in middle-class hotel costs 60-100 € per day, in high-class hotel - from 130 €. At the same time you should consider that the cost of living in a hotel of the famous international hotel chain in Ukraine may be higher than in the similar hotel in Europe.