The currency of Ukraine is the hryvnia (UAH), pronounced gryvnya. There are 100 kopecks in a hryvnia.
Notes come in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 50, 100, 200, and 500 hryvnia. There are 50, 25, 10, 5, 2 and 1 kopeck coins. There is also a 1 hryvnia coin.
The Ukrainian hryvnia exchange rate is no longer fixed to the dollar or any other currency.
Current exchange rates (last updated Thursday 13th of December 2018 at 7:17 am GMT) with major currencies are:
- Eurozone – 1 euro (EUR) = 31.576 UAH
- Russia – 1 Russian ruble (RUB) = 0.419 UAH
- UK – 1 British pound (GBP) = 35.046 UAH
- USA – 1 US dollar (USD) = 27.77 UAH
A more comprehensive list of exchange rates can be found here.
Contrary to popular misconception you can’t use foreign currency for most transactions in Ukraine.
You will need to change your money in hryvnia to pay for most goods and services. Some private apartment owners will accept (or even insist) on being paid in dollars or euros. However, you’ll definitely need Ukrainian currency to pay for almost everything else. This would include food and drinks in restaurants and bars, admission to tourist attractions, purchases from shops etc.
Ukrainian currency is almost impossible to obtain from banks and exchanges outside Ukraine/Eastern Europe. A handful of establishments in Western Europe offer it but the rates are extremely poor.
There’s no need to panic though. It’s almost impossible to walk down any street in Kiev without stumbling across a currency exchange. All will accept euros, sterling, dollars, and rubles. Your notes will need to be in pretty good condition. Worn and tattered ones will usually not be accepted. Don’t bother trying to change coins.
Exchange rates are clearly displayed on a board outside the exchange. The spread between buying and selling rates is fairly narrow.
There are currency exchanges at Boryspil International Airport and Kyiv International Airport. Exchange rates are usually better at the exchanges in the city centre, but they’re a good option if you need to some currency for a taxi or bus.
You can bring the 10,000 euros in cash (or equivalent) into Ukraine without making a formal written declaration to customs officials.
ATMs (known locally as bankomats) are commonplace throughout Kiev and the Ukraine. As with money exchanges you don’t have to walk far before coming across one. If you’re not having any luck, head for the nearest McDonald’s or Metro station. Most will have a cash machine near the entrance.
There are ATMs at both of the city’s airports.
All cash machines in Ukraine have an English language option and accept foreign debit and credit cards. Cards are occasionally rejected, though in our experience this seems more likely to be down to anti-fraud measures taken by the card issuer. It’s a good idea to telephone your bank/credit card company before travelling. Inform them of your trip and intention to use your card in Ukraine.
MasterCard and Visa are widely accepted at most hotels and restaurants in Kiev. In smaller/budget establishments you should be prepared to pay in cash.