The money used in Hungary, the Hungarian Forint.
The money used in Hungary, the forint.

Everything you need to know about the money in Hungary, the so-called Hungarian Forint

If you are coming to Budapest, you cannot avoid having some forint in your wallet.


Have you ever wondered what money is used in Budapest? If you are planning a trip to the capital of Hungary, Budapest, you will definitely meet our currency, the so-called Hungarian forint (abbreviation: Ft. or HUF).  There are still a lot of shops and places in Budapest that do not take credit cards and you can only pay in cash. How much do you need? What should you watch out for when it comes to HUF? We have collected all the details that you should know about the money of Hungary and about paying in HUF. 

History of the money in Hungary in a nutshell

1 HUF coin from 1946
1 HUF coin from 1946

The first forint was introduced after the II. World War in 1946. It was a gold-based currency. The name of the currency of Hungary that is “the forint” is originated from the city of Florence, where gold coins called fiorino d’oro were minted from 1252. The original value of 1 forint was: 0,0757575 grammes of gold. The value, the use and the design of forint have changed since then, but it is still the official currency in Hungary. Although Hungary is part of the EU, the euro has not been adopted yet. 

Important note

In Budapest and in Hungary as well, forint is the official currency!

Exchange place in Hungary
exchange shop in Budapest

If you want to change your money, you can do that in four different ways:

  1. at the airport,
  2. in banks,
  3. via ATMs,
  4. .via currency exchange shops

It is always worth checking the value of forint against the euro, because some money exchange places work with very bad rates and super high commission.

Good to know

The smallest value of the money of Hungary is the 5 forint coin and the highest is the 20 000 Ft. banknote.
Coins: 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 Ft.
Banknotes: 500, 1000, 2000, 5000, 10 000, 20 000 Ft.

Useful tips & tricks

  • Always have some forint in your wallet because you never know when you might need it. 
  • The biggest note is 20 000 HUF (~55 euros), should you use an ATM to have your HUF, be careful when you break it.
    • smaller or less busy shops are very unhappy about taking a 20 000 huf banknote, have some change and smaller notes ready as well. 
    • when you change money in money exchange shops, ask for smaller banknotes too.
  • Should you receive a banknote that is not valid anymore, go to the nearest bank, where they will replace it for you.
  • Never take a torn or missing banknote, because they will not be accepted and they are not valid. If you receive one, take them to the nearest bank, where they will be replaced.
  • If you have a car and you will be parking in Budapest, you will need coins to feed the parking meter.  If you are staying in the city center, it is more likely that you will have to pay a parking fee.
  • Vending machines accept only coins too.
Parking meter
Parking meter

Take forint home as a souvenir

There are some unique coins, like the “50 forint coin series”, that has got different designs on the backside. If you check your change in your purse, you might find a special one that commemorates an important sports event, a historical event or just something that matters in Hungary. A new design is being minted every year. 2 million pieces of each are being produced. If you are vigilant enough you might find one, and if you do so, hold on to it and put it in your wallet as a lucky coin.
What designs you can find:
For example: 

  • 2019 FIE World Fencing Championship,
  • 2018 The Wrestling World Championship,
  • 2017 Year Of Families and so on.
50 forint coin made on the occasion of the 2019 World Fencing Championships
50 forint coin made on the occasion of the 2019 World Fencing Championships

Make your own souvenir

souvenir coin press in Hungary
souvenir coin press in Hungary

There are some typical “money pressing machines” at popular sights in Budapest where you can have a selected picture pressed on your coin. You just need to insert your coin, turn the wheel and off you go. You will have a flattened and re-printed 20 or 50 forint coin as a nice memory about Budapest.


It is always very exciting to get familiar with the currency of a foreign country. Their unique money makes them even more special and it is so much fun to work out which money is worth what. Do not get embarrassed if you need to rummage in your purse to find the perfect amount. Take a deep breath, smile at the cashier lady and you will be fine. Check out the grocery shops where you can do food shopping to spend your last coins left.

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