Moscow is a fast-moving megapolis all major Western cards can now be used to pay in hotels, restaurants and stores. However, at times it is still more convenient to pay in cash as some small shops, restaurants and museums accept cash only. Rubles are the only legal currency.
There are numerous exchange offices around the city including at airports but the exchange rates are not profitable there. You can convert your money at banks, exchange points and large hotels. Popular tourist spots like Tverskaya Street and Red Square offer multiple exchange opportunities.
USD and EUR are now widely accepted at exchange offices around Moscow. Other currencies will undoubtedly cause more hassle than they are worth. Whatever currency you bring make sure it is in pristine condition. Banks and exchanges do not accept old, dirty bills with rips or tears. For US dollars make certain that they were issued after 1990. A passport has to be shown when changing money. On completing a currency transaction, an exchange receipt is given. All receipts should be kept as they must be attached to the customs declaration filled in on the arrival in Russia and presented at customs on leaving the country.
It is now possible to obtain cash (RUR/EUR/USD) with a credit card through the large banks and from ATM machines at some banks and in major hotels. The local commission is between 2 and 5 per cent, plus whatever your card company charges.
Lost or stolen cards should be reported immediately to the credit card company in the home country. No local security service is offered.
Travelers' cheques are the less convenient way to take money with. Few banks, such as Alfa-Bank and Sberbank, offer this service and it is time wasting. Banks charge at least 3 per cent to cash travelers' cheques. The alternative is American Express cheques, with 2 per cent commission if cashed at the American Express office.
If you have any questions regarding money matters feel free to turn to your Moscow tour guide.