Croatia: The Euro replaced the Kuna overnight

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Traditionally, there is little traffic on the streets of the Croatian capital Zagreb between Christmas Eve and Epiphany. Only in the bank branches, it jams here and there. “That’s how we Croats are,” smiles bank manager Matilda Aljinović, who comes from Split. “Everything that goes, we put off until the last deadline.”

Since January 1, 2023, precisely zero o’clock, it is now possible to pay with euros in the youngest EU country.

Croatian credit institutions prepared for the change of currency earlier than the citizens. “As a bank, we started preparing for this more than a year ago,” explains Aljinović at the Raiffeisen Bank headquarters in Zagreb’s Magazinska cesta.

Four out of five employees at the headquarters across from the West Railway Station are involved in the Euro project. The IT specialists have adapted 80 applications. As a result, all kuna accounts were converted to euros overnight. 257 of the 429 Raiffeisen ATMs distributed throughout the country had been filled with euros before the end of the year – all of them went into operation on New Year’s Day.

What tourists from Austria should know: They can still pay in both currencies everywhere in Croatia until January 15, and Croatia’s banks will continue to accept kuna until December 31.

Fearing that they will be abused as exchange offices in the coming days, some businessmen and traders have decided not to open their doors until January 15 as a precaution and stay on vacation.

Matilda Aljinović, however, expects calm to return everywhere by mid-January. In any case, she is delighted with the work of her colleagues. “We have also benefited greatly from experiences in Austria and other eurozone countries.”

The banker is not afraid of the euro. The changeover has cost the banks a lot of money, but it should also open up new business areas.

What also makes her confident: “We are pleased that our Croatian customers voted us the best bank in the retail sector. Our work on customer satisfaction doesn’t stop there because we believe we can always do a little better.”

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