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Banking and currency


Exchanging money:
Few stores and restaurants accept traveler's checks or credit cards, though the number is steadily increasing every year.

Travelers should bring foreign currency, either US dollars (more widely accepted) or Euros. Exchange kiosks also accept Russian Rubles.


Exchange Sign, if it is posted outside, it is the low exchange rate

Many other photos need to be done, below

The number of currency exchange kiosks Ab-man Val-yat (Обман Валот) in Odessa is immense. The exchange rate is suspiciously the same throughout the city. If traveling through Kiev to get to Odessa, it is advised to exchange money in Kiev, as the exchange rate is usually much lower in Odessa.

Exchanging kiosks at bus stations, airports and train stations often offer a worse exchange rate.

Exchange kiosks often give a receipt for money exchanged. Exchange kiosks that do not automatically give a receipt will give a receipt if asked. Exchange rates by law are always posted above the kiosk window with an official Ukrainian stamp (Ukrainians have a passionate infatuation with "official" stamps) There is never any extra commission charge for exchanging money.

Getting a better exchange rate:
Currency exchange kiosks / Ob-man Val-yat (Обман Валот) that do not have a post board on the street or simply say "Работа"(working), or that do not have a post board, have better exchange rates.

Many of the shops on Sadovaya (Садовая) sometimes have non-posted better rates than the rest of Odessa. Refan, a small store at Preobrazhenskaya 46 (Преображенская) near to Centralnaya (центральная) hotel also sometimes has a better exchange rate. Refan is open 10am - 7 pm Monday - Saturday and 11 am - 6 pm on Sunday.

Vendors in the bazaar explain the reason why money exchangers with higher rates do not post those rates is to try and avoid taxes, if the aggressive Ukrainian tax police see the higher rate posted, they will demand more money.

Warning: NEVER exchange money with someone on the street, the number of scams with these transactions are huge. Counterfeit money is very common problem in Ukraine.
Grecheskaya Ploshat (Square) (Греческая Площадь) Book Bazaar:
The book and CD bazaar on Grecheskaya Ploshat (Square) (Греческая Площадь) has many vendors with huge fistfuls of rubber banded Hryvna. These vendors exchange money at a much more favorable rate (around 10 kopecks better on the dollar). Though technically illegal, like many things in Ukraine, it is not enforced. The police turn a blind eye because the moneychangers pay regular bribes.

Unless you are able to spot counterfeit money or are with a native Ukrainian who knows how to spot counterfeit money, do not risk exchanging money at the bazaar.
If you do decide to exchange money at the bazaar, Valery, at stall 28 is an honest money exchanger.

Bank hours tend to be from 10 am to 3 pm, often with a one hour lunch. Banks are closed on Saturday and Sunday.

There are dozens of ATMs located around the center of Odessa. Many are located in hotels and restaurants.

Many ATMs give both Dollars and Hryvna.

The average service charge for using an ATM is between $6-$12, in addition to your home bank service charge.

Strangely, service charges vary widely at different ATMs owned by the same company.

The cheapest ATM we have found is the Prevat Bank (Приват Ванк) ATM, inside the Galeria Vop-on-tsov Restaurant/Bar (Бар-Галерея Воронцов) Deribasovskaya 24 (Дерибасовская), for $6 service charge.

Travelers Checks
Londonskaya (Лондонская)
Primorsky Boulevard 11 (Приморский Бульвар)
Tel: 37-14-51
Londonskaya hotel accepts both American Express and Thomas Cook Traveler's checks, the service charge is 2-3%.

Western Union
The number of Ukrainians that live abroad has skyrocketed since the fall of the Soviet Union. This can be seen in the number of Western Union offices throughout Ukraine, because many family members abroad have family that have stayed behind in Ukraine.

Cash may be directly transferred to or from Western Union to an office outside of Ukraine. Most US and major European cities have a Western Union office.

The commission charge for using Western Union, paid for by the sender, is often very expensive. See examples of some of the prices below.

Within Ukraine (from a Ukraine location to another Ukraine location) a customer may transfer Hryvna, which is significantly cheaper, than transferring dollars.

Locations are listed below.

Post Office money transfers in Ukraine:
Post office money transfers within Ukraine are available at all post offices. Fill out a special form, listing recipient's name, address, and telephone. The service charge in nominal. Transfers are in Hryvna only. Money transfers take less than a week to arrive.

The basic unit of currency in Ukraine is the Hryvna. The Ukrainian Hryvna is divided into 100 kopecks

Coins come in denominations of 1,2,5,10,25, and 50 kopecks. Though most Odessites seldom use the 1 and 2 kopeck, prices are usually rounded up to reflect this.

Banks come in denominations of 1,2,5,10,20,50,100, and 200. The 200 Hryvna bill is rare.

The Hryvna was introduced in September of 1996. The actual bills were printed in 1991-92 but was not introduced until mid 1996 because of high rates of inflation and a general lack of stability. Prior to the Hryvna, Ukraine was using "Coupon" as the national currency, which was just a stage in transition from Soviet Ruble to Ukrainian Hryvna. Because of hyperinflation the bills became so useless that some Ukrainians used them as toilet paper.

In 1996 a new design was developed with watermarks and a metal strip on each bill. Currently, both kinds of bills are used, but the old currency is being phased out by the newer currency--similar to the policy the United States now has for its newer bills.

1 Hryvna
FRONT Vladimir the Great, one of the princes of Kievan Rus.
BACK The Southern Ukrainian city Hersones, founded by the Greeks in 350 B.C.

2 Hryvnas
FRONT Yaraslov the Wise, leader of Kievan Rus
BACK St. Sofia Cathederal, Kiev
5 Hryvnas
FRONT Bogdan Hmelnitsky, Cossack leader,led a revolt against the Polish from 1648-1653, gaining independence from Poland.
BACK Church in the small village of Subotovo, Ukraine
10 Hryvnas
FRONT Ivan Mazepa, Cossack Leader
BACK Kiev-Perchersk Lavra, a monastery founded in the 12th century
20 Hyrvnas
FRONT Ivan Franko, a famous Ukrainian writer
BACK Lviv Opera Theater, western Ukraine
50 Hryvnas
FRONT Mikhail Grushevsky, Early twentieth century Ukrainian Historian
BACK Verkhovnaya Rada, Ukraine's parliament in kiev
100 Hryvnas
FRONT Taras Shevchenko, the famous poet
BACK St. Sofia Cathedral in Kiev, built in 1040 AD
200 Hryvnas
FRONT Lesia Ukrainka, Ukrainian poet and dramatist
BACK Gate tower of Lutsk Castle

Please note:

  • It is advisable to always carry lower denomination notes for taxis.
  • Many shops never have enough small change, and will often ask customers for change. Many grocery stores ("store" is "magazine" in Russian) offer small candy or gum in lieu of exact change.
Counterfeit money
There is an immense problem of counterfeit money in Ukraine. A good rule of thumb is to always accept only newer larger bills (10's and 20's) since they are harder to counterfeit. After a sale, any business or kiosk will trade older bills for newer ones if asked.

Newer Ukrainian bills have several features to assure that they are not counterfeit:

  • The portraits, emblems, and some inscriptions are printed in relief, and can be felt with the fingers. This is especially prominent on the 50 Hryvna gold seal.
  • Embedded in every note is a metal strip, which says the denomination, this is especially prominent on the 20 Hryvna bill.
  • The bills are printed on special paper with portrait watermarks. These portraits can be seen when put against the light. (this can be forged though)
  • The writing on the bills changes if you hold the money at different angles.

Also pay careful attention that you are not given torn or heavily worn money, especially dollars, because many businesses will not accept this.

Admiralsky Avenue 1
(Адмиралский проспект)
Photo Shop Fotomagazine (Фотомагазин)
Prevat Bank (Приват Ванк)
Akademeka Glushko Avenue 17
(Академика Глушко проспект )
Le-Gion (Легион)
Grocery Store Uni-versam (Универсам)
Prevat Bank (Приват Ванк)
Akademeka Koroleva 120
(Академика Королева)
Grocery Store Uni-versam (Универсам)
Prevat Bank (Приват Ванк)
Deribasovskaya 13 (Дерибасовская) Irish Pub (under stairs)
(Ирландский паб)
Prevat Bank (Приват Ванк)
Deribasovskaya 14 (Дерибасовская) UkrExim Bank ATM
(Corner Deribasovskaya and Ekaterininskaya)
Deribasovskaya 16 (Дерибасовская) Morskoy Transportny
(Морський Транспортнйи)
Deribasovskaya 24 (Дерибасовская)
(lowest exchange rate)
Galeria Vop-on-tsov Restaurant/Bar
(Бар-Галерея Воронцов)
Prevat Bank (Приват Ванк)
Deribasovskaya 25 (Дерибасовская) Uker Bank (Укр банк)
Dobrovolskaya 72 (Добровольского) Zveozdy (stars) Movie Theater
(Кинотеатр "Звездный") Prevat Bank (Приват Ванк)
Dobrovolskaya 112 (Добровольского) Severnehye Ryenok "Northern Bazaar"
(северный рынок) Nadra Bank (Надра Банк)
Ekaterininskaya 15/17 (Екатерининская) Club Pee-lot (Pee-lot Клуб)
Prevat Bank (Приват Ванк)
Generala Bocharova 30
(Генерала Бочарова)
Photoshop Kodak Express
(Фотомагазин "Кодак Экспресс")
Prevat Bank (Приват Ванк)
Generala Bocharova 53
(Генерала Бочарова)
Arlekino (Арлекино)
Grocery Store Uni-versam (Универсам)
Prevat Bank (Приват Ванк)
Genuesskaya 1 (Генуэзская) Chas Peak Bar (Бар "час Пик")
Prevat Bank (Приват Ванк)
Kanatnaya 112 (Канатная) Nadra Bank (Надра Банк)
Mayakovskava 7 (Маяковского) Nadra Bank (Надра Банк)
Nikolaevskaya Doroga 299 (Николаевская дорога) Luzanovsky (Лузановский)
Grocery Store Uni-versam (Универсам)
Prevat Bank (Приват Ванк)
7 kilometers bazaar 7-й км Промрырок
Ovidiopolskaya (Овидиопольская)
Prevat Bank (Приват Ванк)
Odariya 1 (Одария) Nadra Bank (Надра Банк)
Polskaya 13 (Польская)
(Bowling Club) Боулинг клуб
Prevat Bank (Приват Ванк)
Primorsky 11 (Приморский Бульвар) Londonskaya (Лондонская) hotel;
Prevat Bank (Приват Ванк)
Kimpinski Hotel
Primorskaya 6 (Приморская)
Nadra Bank (Надра Банк)
Primorskaya 6 (Приморская) Passenger Terminal of the Odessa Sea Port
Prevat Bank (Приват Ванк)
Rekordnaya 23 (Рекордная) Grocery Store Uni-versam (Универсам)
Prevat Bank (Приват Ванк)
Semaforny 4 (Семафорный) "In Srednefontanskoy" ("На Среднефонтанской")
Prevat Bank (Приват Ванк)
Troitskaya 50 (Троицкая) "Ogapt" (Огапт)
Nadra Bank (Надра Банк)
Varnenskaya 2 (Варненская) Grocery Store Uni-versam (Универсам)
Prevat Bank (Приват Ванк)

To withdraw money on a MasterCard or Visa (American Express is not accepted throughout Odessa), or:

  • if you forgot your ATM card number or
  • want a normally 3% flat finance charge on Visa or MasterCard Bankcards,
    many of Odessa's banks offer cash withdrawal.

Not all bank branches offer this service so it is better to call ahead.
This service is also available at Londonskaya (Лондонская) Hotel Primorsky Boulevard 11 (Приморский Бульвар), 24 hours a day, with a 3% service charge.

Listed here are some of Odessa's banks:

Address, head office
Email and/or web page:
Aval (Аваль) Sadovaya 10
Odessa bank
(Одесса Банк)
Knyazjeskaya 32 (Княжеская)
30-51-01 odbnk@odtel.net
Nadra Bank
(Надра Банк)
Kosmonavtov 36 (Космонавтов) 66-20-05 Office@unt.Odessa.ua www.nadra.com.ua
Morskoy Transportny bank
(Морской Транспортный Банк)
Rishelevskaya 28 (Ришельевская) 30-13-01 office@mtb.com.ua www.mtb.com.ua
Ukrsots Bank (Укрсоц Банк) Primorskaya 49 (Приморская) 22-45-27 upca@usb.odessa.ua www.usb.odessa.ua usb.com.ua
Imex bank (Имэксбанк) Shevchenko Avenue 8a (Шевченко проспект) 68-49-00 imexnet@imex.Odessa.net www.imex.odessa.net
Western Union prices and offices/kiosks in Odessa
This list is from the web page. This lists only Western Union offices in the immediate center. More offices are available on the Western Union web page: www.westernunion.com
Amount Transferred Service charge Amount Transferred Service charge
Up to $50 $13 $300-$400 $34
$50-$100 $15 $400-$500 $40
$100-$200 $22 $1000-$1500 $75
$200-$300 $29 $2000-$2500 $110
Location Telephone Bank
Airport Central 347155 Aval Bank
Bazarnaya Street 17 (Базарная) 346282 Oschadbank
Bazarnaya Street 64 (Базарная) 7155074 Ukrainian Financial Group
Bolshaya Arnautskaya, 92/94
(Большая Арнаутская)
2373346 Fui Bank
Bunina Street 40 (Бунина) 269684 Oschadbank
Deribasovskaya Street 10 (Дерибасовская) 348318 Ukrainian Financial Group
Dobrovolskogo Avenue 125 547056 Oschadbank
Ekaterininskaya 4 (Екатерининская) 2347362 Pravex-Bank
Ekaterininskaya Street 31/33 (Екатерининская) 241056 Ukrainian Financial Group
Ekaterininskaya Street,7 (Екатерининская) 347437 MTB
Ekaterininskaya Street 7 (Екатерининская) 372924 Aval Bank
Filatova Street 1 616074 Ukrainian Financial Group
Filatova Street 40 7772124 Ukrainian Financial Group
Fontanskaya Doroga Street 33 (Фонтанская дорога) 634251 Ukrainian Financial Group
Fontanskaya Doroga Street 2,
apartment 2 (Фонтанская дорога)
633180 Ukrainian Financial Group
Frantsuzsky Blvd, 10
(Французский Бульвар)
2255338 Pivdenniy Bank
Frantsuzsky Blvd, 49/51
(Французский Бульвар)
342360 Ukrainian Financial Group
Grecheskaya Street 15 (Греческая) 7314081 Premierbank
Grecheskaya Street 36 (Греческая) 252998 Ukrainian Financial Group
Malinovskogo Street 16-A 342359 Ukrainian Financial Group
Primorskaya Street 6 (Приморская) [Morvokzal] 218099 Aval Bank
Pushkinskaya Street 72 (Пушкинская) 250059 Imexbank
Rishelevskaya Street 12 (Ришельевская) 222752 Oschadbank
Sadovaya Street,10 (Садовая) 347287 Aval Bank
Shevchenko Avenue 8-A
(Шевченко проспект)
686595 Imexbank
Sofievskaya Street, 32 (Софиевская) 219488 Aval Bank