Although Denmark is a member of the European Union, the Danes rejected the euro as their form of currency. They continue to use the krone (crown), which breaks down into 100 øre. The plural is kroner. The international monetary designation for the Danish kroner is "DKK." (The Swedish currency is the kronor, but note the different spelling.)
At this writing, in the wake of some of the most unpredicted economic swings since before World War II, $1 US = 5.85 kroner, or 1 DKK = 17¢; £1 = 10 DKK, or 1 DKK = 10p; and one Danish krone = 13 europence, or 1€ = DKK7.5.
It's a good idea to exchange at least some money -- just enough to cover airport incidentals and transportation to your hotel -- before you leave home (though don't expect the exchange rate to be ideal) so that you can avoid lines at airport ATMs. You can exchange money at your local American Express or Thomas Cook office or at your bank. American Express also dispenses traveler's checks and foreign currency via www.americanexpress.com or tel. 800/807-6233, but they'll charge a $15 order fee and additional shipping costs. American Express cardholders should dial tel. 800/221-7282; this number accepts collect calls, offers service in several foreign languages, and exempts Amex gold and platinum cardholders from the 1% fee.
PLUS, Cirrus, and other networks connecting automated teller machines (ATMs) operate throughout Denmark. The easiest and best way to get cash away from home is from an ATM. The Cirrus (tel. 800/424-7787; www.mastercard.com) and PLUS (tel. 800/843-7587; www.visa.com) networks span the globe; look at the back of your bank card to see which network you're on, and then call or check online for ATM locations at your destination. Be sure you know your personal identification number (PIN) before you leave home, and be sure to find out your daily withdrawal limit before you depart. Also keep in mind that many banks impose a fee every time a card is used at a different bank's ATM, and that fee can be higher for international transactions (up to $5 or more) than for domestic ones. On top of this, the bank from which you withdraw cash may charge its own fee. To compare banks' ATM fees within the U.S., use www.bankrate.com. For international withdrawal fees, ask your bank.
You can also get cash advances on your credit card at an ATM. Keep in mind that credit card companies try to protect themselves from theft by limiting the funds someone can withdraw outside their home country, so call your credit card company before you leave home. And keep in mind that you'll pay interest from the moment of your withdrawal, even if you pay your monthly bills on time.
Important note: Make sure that the PINs on your bank cards and credit cards will work in Denmark. 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 . 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.
Credit cards are a safe way to carry money. They also provide a convenient record of all your expenses, and they generally offer relatively good exchange rates. You can also withdraw cash advances from your credit cards at banks or ATMs, provided you know your PIN. If you've forgotten yours, or didn't even know you had one, call the number on the back of your credit card and ask the bank to send it to you. It usually takes 5 to 7 business days, though some banks will provide the number over the phone if you tell them your mother's maiden name or some other personal information. Keep in mind that when you use your credit card abroad, most banks assess a 2% fee above the 1% fee charged by Visa, MasterCard, or American Express for currency conversion on credit charges. But credit cards still may be the smart way to go when you factor in things like exorbitant ATM fees and higher traveler's check exchange rates (and service fees).
In Denmark, the most commonly accepted credit cards are MasterCard and Visa. Of secondary importance are American Express and Diners Club.
Bank Fees for Charge Cards -- For all restaurants in Denmark, there is an assessed bank fee from 3% to 7% on charge cards if the card is not a Danish card.
Banks offer the best rates for performing currency exchanges. Most hotels will exchange money but usually at an unfavorable rate.
Many hotels in Denmark simply do not accept a dollar- or pound-denominated personal check; those that do will certainly charge for making the conversion. In some cases, a hotel may accept countersigned traveler's checks or a credit or charge card.
If you're making a deposit on a hotel reservation, it's cheaper and easier to pay with a check drawn from a Norwegian bank. This can be arranged by a large commercial bank or by a specialist such as Ruesch International, 700 11th St. NW, Fourth Floor, Washington, DC 20001 (tel. 800/424-2923 or 202/408-1200; www.ruesch.com), which performs a wide variety of conversion-related tasks, usually for about $15 per transaction.
If you need a check payable in Danish currency, call Ruesch's toll-free number, describe what you need, and write down the transaction number. Mail your dollar-denominated personal check (payable to Ruesch International) to the Washington, D.C., office. When it's received, the company will mail you a check denominated in the requested currency for the specified amount, minus the $3 charge. The company can also help you with wire transfers, as well as converting VAT (value-added tax) refund checks. Information is mailed upon request.
In England, contact Ruesch International Ltd., Lower Cookham Road, Maidenhead Berkshire SL6 8XY (tel. 0845/880-0400).
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.