The three best ways of getting your foreign money changed or moved to Vienna are:

  1. Cash
  2. Traveller's checks
  3. Withdrawls with a credit card or bank card.

Don't plan to open a bank account and deposit your dollar checks. The fees for transfer of that sort are very high and you will lose a good deal of money.

Banks are normally the best places I've found to change money. However, they have quite limited hours. Usually:

There are, however, "change" places all over the inner-city (first district) and at the airport and major train stations. These are open all days of the week and much later hours. However, they do not give a good a rate as banks do.

The best way I've found to get from dollars to Austrian Schillings is to use an ATM machine. They are all over town, hardly any few block are doesn't have one. I recently did a test:

  1. I went to a bank and from their outdoor, 24 hour machine, withdrew 3000 S (roughly $200.
  2. Then I went INSIDE the same bank, two minutes later and changed $200 of American cash for Schillings.
  3. By later than afternoon my internet banking in St. Louis had posted my ATM charge.
  4. I compare the two transactions and I go more Schillings for my money from the ATM machine than I did cashing dollars in the bank.
  5. My conclusion is: It's not worth getting traveller's checks or bringing large amounts of cash. Plan to use your credit card wherever you can, and when you need Schillings, use a U.S. debit card on your home bank.
  6. Most ATM cards do have a limit of around $500 a day maximum you can take out.
  7. By the way, credit cards may be used at many restaurants, nearly all hotels (but not at many youth hostels and the like), at most larger shops and many, many places of every sort which cater to tourists. The rate of exchange with a credit card purchase is one of the best you will get. Using the credit card is wise.
  8. Many banks in virtually every part of the city, have 24 hour ATM machines from which you may withdraw money directly from your U.S. or other foreign bank. There are literally thousands of these machines around.
  9. The bank of Austria has one such 24 hour machine just a few blocks from Webster University. I've seen dorm students race out very late at night to get money for a pizza or party beverages. :)

Keep an eye on the rate of exchange  This site is more for comparative info than on actual rates of exchange. It is ALWAYS a good deal higher than what they actually put into your hand when you exchange. This rate must be some premium rate of high rollers. I have always gotten a lesser rate, even when I waste time shopping around (for just a few cents usually), and then on top of the lesser rate the bank or change bureau will be likely to charge a fee. But the Yahoo site will at least let you know if the Euro is going up or down against the dollar.

THE EURO IS LEGAL CURRENCY. I was writing all the above in the year 2001 and now, just one week from the beginning of 2002, the Euro is about to become the currency for much of Europe, including Austria. Nothing of the above changes at all, except you'll no longer be getting Austrian Schillings at the banks and ATMs, but Euros. All else will work just as stated above.


Bob Corbett