MONEY


Rubles - Dollars - Credit Cards

The currency is ruble, but everything and everybody counts in U.S. dollars. The rate now is 30.99 for $1, and it's always increasing. The Russian Central Bank sets the official exchange rate daily. Big prices, including prices in restaurants and shops, are often listed in $ (so called '..' - base units). If they listed the prices in rubles, they would have to change price tags quite often. Anyway, they take mostly rubles. Credit cards are only useful in Western hotels, high-end restaurants and some supermarkets.

Changing Money - Banks - ATM's

  • To get rubles you should change U.S. dollars (or other currency - in major cities). Exchange booths 'obmen valyuti'- are numerous, especially in the center of Moscow. Their rates are usually better than in banks, and the closer to the center, the better.

  • DO NOT change money on the street - you can be robbed or swindled! Be sure to count your money before walking away from the window of a booth or in a bank.

  • When paying or getting rubles, Traveler's Checks are good for the regions, and ATM cards are better for Moscow and St. Petersburg - the ATM machines are most widely available there. In fact, you can use the ATM's for any local or foreign credit and bankcards.

  • About two years ago frauds happened, some accounts were cleaned out in the ATM machines. Some steps to increase security have been taken, but still - take care. The most reliable are ATM's operated by Alfa Bank, American Express, Sber Bank, and Raiffeisen Bank. Look at the list at the end of the article. These banks and ATM operators are recommended, however it doesn't mean that you shouldn't use caution and check the information by monitoring the latest local news. In the same way, the ones that are not in the list did not optionally experience credit card fraud problems or were engaged in something bad.

  • If you don't want to use ATM machine, you can take your ATM card to a teller window and get a cash advance. For this you'd better find banks that charge little or no commission (there are some).

  • You can use a foreign bank with a retail branch in Moscow: Raiffeisenbank Austria (Romanov Pereulok, 4 - m. Biblioteka imeni Lenina; tel. 745-98-20, fax 745-98-21), Bank Austria Creditanstalt (Bolshaya Dmitrovka, 10/2 - m. Teatralnaya,; tel. 933-63-00/01, fax 933-63-02).

    You can use American Express (Sadovaya-Kudrinskaya, 21A - m. Barrikadnaya; tel. 755-90-24, fax 755-90-04; I-net: www.americanexpress.com) or Western Union (call 797-21-94 to find out which branch is the closest; I-net: www.westernunion.ru/eng/root.htm). Note, that their services are a bit pricey.

  • You may open ruble and hard currency accounts in Russian or foreign banks. Then you can get money by transfer from abroad and obtain a debit card from your account allowing you to use ATM's. However, as Russian economical situation is not stable, you might have reasons to worry about the money in your account.

    The banks with consumer banking in Russia are the Bank of Austria, ABN Amro, Development and Reconstruction Bank (a Russian bank with American management).
ATM Operators Recommended
  • American Express 24 Hour ATM
    US Dollars and Rubles
    Cards Accepted: American Express
    Sadovo-Kudrinskaya 21, Metro Mayakovskaya.

  • Alfa Bank 24-Hour ATM's
    US Dollars & Rubles
    Cards Accepted: Visa, Union Card, EC/MC, Plus, Cirrus.
    Metro Arbatskaya (blue): Arbat 4
    Metro Barrikadnaya (violet), Krasnopresnenskaya (brown): Krasnaya Presnya, 12
    Metro Kuznetsky Most (violet), Lubyanka (red): Kuznetsky Most, 9/10,
    Metro Mayakovskaya (green): Marriott Grand Hotel, Tverskaya 26
Other Centrally Located Alfa Bank ATM's
  • Metro Pushkinskaya (violet), Tverskaya (green), Chekhovskaya (gray): Actor Gallery Business Center, Tverskaya 16/2,
    8.30 to 19.30 M-Sa, 9.00 to 15.00 Sun.

  • Metro Polyanka (gray), Oktyabrskaya (orange, brown): Bolshaya Yakimanka, 19 (Across from the President Hotel),
    8.30 to 19.30 Mon - Sat., 9.00 to 15.00 Sun.

  • Metro Kitai Gorod (orange, violet), Lubyanka (red): Pokrovka, 3, Bld. 7,
    8.30 to 19.30 Mon - Sat., 9.00 to 15.00 Sun.

  • Raiffeisen Bank's 24-hour ATM's
    Cards Accepted: VISA
    Metro Sukharevskaya (orange) or Tsvetnoy Boulevard (gray): Troitskaya, 17/1 (Head Office of "Raiffeisenbank Austria")

  • Metro Taganskaya (violet): Nikoloyamskaya, 13/2 (Business Center "Forum-3")

  • Metro Biblioteka im. Lenina or Okhotny Ryad (red): Romanov Pereulok, 4/4 (Business Center "Romanov dvor")

  • Metro Prospect Mira (orange): Olimpijsky Prospect, 18/1 (Hotel Renaissance Moscow)

  • Metro Paveletskaya (green): Shluzovaya Nab. 6/1 (Hotel "Katerina")

  • Metro Mayakovskaya (green): Gasheka, 7 (Business Center "Dukat-2") (Attn: for employees of the tenants of business center only)

  • Metro Paveletskaya (green): Paveletskaya Ploschad, 2/1 (Business Center "Paveletskaya Plaza") (Attn: for employees of the tenants of business center only)

  • Metro Marksitskaya (yellow): Taganskaya, 17/23 (Business Center "Park Towers") (Attn: for employees of the tenants of business center only)

  • SBERBANK 24-Hour ATM's