Foreign money and euros can be brought into Austria without any restrictions. There is no restriction on taking foreign money out of the country, either.
The euro (€) is the single European currency of Austria and other participating countries. Exchange rates of participating countries are locked into a common currency fluctuating against the dollar.
For more details on the euro, check out www.europa.eu.int/euro.
Conversion ratios between the U.S. dollar and other currencies fluctuate, and their differences could affect the relative costs of your trip. The figures reflected in the currency chart below were valid at the time of this writing, but they might not be valid by the time of your departure. If you're planning on any major transactions, check for updated rates prior to making any serious commitments.
For American Readers At the time of this writing, US$1 was worth approximately .625 Eurocents. Inversely stated, 1€ was worth approximately US$1.60.
For British Readers At press time, £1 equaled approximately US$2, and approximately 1.25€.
For Canadian Readers At press time, CD$1 equaled approximately US$1 and approximately 1.60€.
Emergency Cash -- The Fastest Way -- If you need emergency cash over the weekend, when all banks and American Express offices are closed, you can have money wired to you from Western Union (tel. 800/325-6000; www.westernunion.com). You must present valid ID to pick up the cash at the Western Union office. However, in most countries, you can pick up a money transfer even if you don't have valid identification, as long as you can answer a test question provided by the sender. Be sure to let the sender know in advance that you don't have ID. If you need to use a test question instead of ID, the sender must take cash to his or her local Western Union office rather than transfer the money over the phone or online.
To get the best rate of exchange, use your credit cards whenever possible. They virtually always offer the best exchange rate, and there's no accompanying service charge. Credit cards are widely accepted in Austria; American Express, Visa, and Diners Club are the most commonly recognized. A EUROCARD or ACCESS sign displayed at an establishment means that it accepts MasterCard.
ATMs are prevalent in all Austrian cities and even the smaller towns. ATMs are linked to a national network that most likely includes your bank at home. Both the Cirrus (tel. 800/424-7787; www.mastercard.com) and the PLUS (tel. 800/843-7587; www.visa.com) networks have automated ATM locators listing the banks in Austria that will accept your card. Or just search out any machine with your network's symbol emblazoned on it.
Important note: Make sure that the PINs on your bank cards and credit cards will work in Austria. You'll need a four-digit code (six digits won't work); if you have a six-digit code, you'll have to go into your bank and get a new PIN for your trip. If you're unsure about this, contact Cirrus or PLUS (above). Be sure to check the daily withdrawal limit at the same time.
You can buy traveler's checks at most banks. They are offered in denominations of $20, $50, $100, $500, and sometimes $1,000. Generally, you'll pay a service charge ranging from 1% to 4%.
The most popular traveler's checks are offered by American Express (tel. 800/528-4800 or 800/221-7282 for card holders; this number accepts collect calls, offers service in several foreign languages, and exempts Amex gold and platinum cardholders from the 1% fee); Visa (tel. 800/732-1322; AAA members can obtain Visa checks for a $9.95 fee [for checks up to $1,500] at most AAA offices or by calling tel. 866/339-3378); and MasterCard (tel. 800/223-9920).
American Express, Thomas Cook, Visa, and MasterCard offer foreign currency traveler's checks, which are useful if you're traveling to one country, or to the Euro zone; they're accepted at locations where dollar checks may not be.
If you carry traveler's checks, keep a record of their serial numbers separate from your checks in the event that they are stolen or lost. You'll get a refund faster if you know the numbers.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.