Do not buy Hungarian Forint (HUF) from a street vendor. No matter what.
Hungarian Forint Banknotes (photo by Leandro Demori)
Currency Exchange, i.e. buying Hungarian Forints should not be a problem at all in the capital city of Hungary. Downtown Budapest is full of legal and quite fair-priced exchange offices. You can also use the ATM at Budapest Airport.
On the other hand, rarely though, but there are still a couple of street vendors selling Hungarian banknotes, and promising a better exchange rate than official vendors. This is not only illegal but also dangerous, or at the least absolutely not cost-efficient. If you fall for some unreliable guys, you may end up with fake banknotes, or banknotes that are not in use any more at all.
We recommend using ATM machines by day, official currency exchange vendors (abundant in the city) and lastly, banks.
Exchange rates fluctuate of course, so you may need to test what is better for you: maybe you can save some money by withdrawing cash from the ATM rather than buying Hungarian Forint at an exchange rate office. Several stores accept bank cards (Visa or MasterCard is a sure bet).
Anyway, there are several acceptable exchange rate offices in a distance of about 5 minute walks in the city center. No need to rush to the pricier airport exchange rate offices, and forget street vendors.
Our experience is that banks in Hungary are more expensive than exchange rate offices.
Check out Budapest FAQ for more useful tips!
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