Cash or Card in Budapest in 2024

Are you coming to Budapest this season and thinking “Is it best to use card or cash.”
You would be wondering that What is best currency to take to Budapest?
Can I use Euros in Budapest?

You must be aware that majority of places in Budapest accept cards and HUF in cash.
Despite the fact that cards are accepted, it is still a good idea to have cash on any foreign trip.Not only cash,but also make sure you have comfortable shoes and quality luggage when traveling to Budapest as you will walk a lot.

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If you are bring Euros with your trip to Budapest, while have additional debit or credit cards, you will be pretty OK.In such case you may not even need to use Hungarian currency in cash form and not care about currency exchange in Budapest.

Shops and restaurants around city center accept Euros but the exchange rate may be not the best.
Using Euros in cash in Budapest for a couple of purchases may not be very detrimental in terms of money exchange rates as you will be able to use your card.

Where is cash a must in Budapest

There are few places and instances where cash is a must have if you are in Budapest.
These occurrences may not be very frequent but still worth knowing before you visit Budapest.

Usage of cash for tip in Budapest

If you are in a cafe,restaurant or in a Budapest bar, payment of the bill can be definitely done via cards.
Some restaurants and cafes do include the service charges in the final bill,in such case you may skip the tip.

However,if there are no service charges in the bill,you may want to tip the waiter.
In such cases, using cash to tip the waiters in Budapest is a good idea.

Even if you do not have HUF, 1 to 5 euros, depending upon how bigger you bill is, you can tip the service person in cash.

Budapest Cash acceptance for ticket buying in Bus

If you are buying a ticket from a Bus driver in Budapest,you definitely need cash as card is not accepted by bus drivers. You will even need Hungarian forints in coin forms,as bus drivers don’t have return coins if you give Hungarian currency bills.

You cannot use any foreign currency in cash form for buying bus tickets in Budapest.
Is is better to buy these from BKK machines,a single ticket,or Budapest travel passes,as these are cheaper and also can be bought with debit/credit cards

Cash in Budapest for Paying the parking fees

If you are coming by own car,renting a car in Budapest and are parking in the streets, it is better to have Forint coins to buy the parking tickets.Hence cash in the form of Hungarian coins is a must for Budapest visitors by car.

There are some apps which may be used to pay online fees,but some require either a Hungarian sim card, or registration with an online app. For Budapest online parking payment app, there is also requirement of internet. Hence, the best is to bring cash Huf if you are coming with car.

Cash requirement in Buying food items from Budapest festivals

During the summer time in Budapest,every second week there is something happening in city center,around Buda Castle,and Heroes Square.

If you happen to visit these festivals by accident or by plan, it is strongly advised to get some cash in Hungarian currency.Either you should exchange some money before or get out of ATMs.

The reason is that majority of food sellers accept only cash,and paying them in foreign currency will turn out pretty expansive for you.

Buying Budapest souvenirs with cash

If you are buying Budapest souvenirs from the Great Market Hall, it may be a good idea to have some cash in HUF.
In Budapest Great Market Hall, majority of souvenir sellers accept debit/credit cards.

However, if you are buying expansive Hungarian souvenirs,you may get a discount if you pay with cash.
There is definitely an option to bargain for right prices for the needed souvenir.

Buying items from Budapest street hawkers with cash

While walking on Budapest Vaci street,fashion street,Andrassy Avenue and Jewish quarter of Budapest, you will be interrupted by street hawkers. These people will try to sell you fake iPhone,perfumes or scarfs on cheap rates.

Although it is not advised to buy anything from these hawkers,but if you plan to buy, make sure to have cash in Hungarian Forints.

Although these hawkers can identify the tourists and tell you the price in Euros. Even if you have cash in Euros, you can still buy the goods.

Budapest Taxi fare payment in cash

It is not advised to on board a private taxi while on the Budapest streets as these will ask for cash payment.
You should always order Budapest taxis by calling the special phone numbers for booking.

There are many registered taxi companies in Budapest,which are charging the standard rate.
The rate of normal taxi companies is still not comparable,if Uber in Budapest was operational.

Taxi scams in Budapest are quite common,where someone just found a random taxi on the road,and he had to pay almost double the price,what a normal taxi would charge.Additionally he/she had to pay in cash.

Cash payment in Budapest Mobile repair shops

If you happen to visit any mobile repair shop in Budapest,many will ask for payment in cash.
Either you want to buy a mobile batter,cover,screen protector or repair a mobile phone in Budapest.

There are some smaller shops,which may say their card payment system is down,and will ask you to pay in cash.
In such cases, you may need HUF cash.

Cash requirement for Budapest free walking tours

Do you plan to take any free or paid walking tours in Budapest?
Make sure you have cash either in the form of HUF or Euros.

As at the end of any walking tour in Budapest, the followers of the guide are paying some tip,which can be paid either in HUF or Euros.

Charity payment to beggars on streets

In some areas of Budapest,at the underground stations and under some bridges, you may encounter beggars,who will ask for money. Not sure about the law, but some people do give charity in cash form even in foreign currency to the beggars.

Buying fireworks on Budapest new year

If you happen to visit Budapest at the new year, you will find many hawkers selling food and party items around the city center. The stalls on Vaci Street,and Fashion Street and along Danube river are arranged by freelancers who are there for the new year night. If you want to buy anything from these sellers, you will need to pay in cash as they do not accept cards.

Buying balloons in Budapest City Park

If you happen to visit Budapest city park with children,there are certain hawkers selling balloons right next to playground area.The balloons are priced around 3000 HUF which is approx 10USD/EUR/GBP. You will need to pay them in cash as they do not have card facility.Some may accept money in Euros.

Getting some repair work done in Budapest

If you want to get anything repaired either in your car, or in the apartment in Budapest, assuming you are here for longer time. The person repairing anything in the flat will ask for cash payment. These include electricians,chimney checkers,heating system repairmen and plumbers.If you do not have HUF in cash, paying in Euros is there other option.

Budapest Rental payments in cash

Even with the introduction of so many online hotel and home booking websites, there are certain apartment owners,who will convince you to pay your rent in cash by cancelling your online booking which was done through the website.

Such flat owners are basically trying to save taxes as payment in cash cannot be detected in any books.
If you happen to have such flat owners, you may need to consider bringing cash on Budapest trip.

Cash payment in Budapest secondhand book shops

In some areas of Budapest,there are carts where you can buy second hand books.
These second hand bookshops can be located near Keleti Station,Corvin stop,Kalvin ter and closer to Oktogon stop.
As majority of these books may be in Hungarian and not of much use to foreigners but some might find gems on good rates. You can buy second hand books from these book carts with cash.

Buying items from Budapest farmer markets

Just like the central market hall of Budapest,there are markets halls in each district.
These market halls are also called PIAC (read as P-yats) and also have smaller farmer markets inside.

You can buy cheese,butter,milk,eggs,vegetables and fruits from the farmer markets in Budapest.
If you want to buy anything from the farmers market, you will definitely need some cash in HUF,as some may not accept foreign currency.