American Express Cards in Lithuania | True Lithuania
True Lithuania

Money and Bank Cards in Lithuania

Lithuania uses Euro (Lithuanian: Euras (singular), Eurai (plural)), symbol €, as its currency. Euro is divided into 100 Eurocents (eurocents, eurocentai). There are banknotes of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and coins of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 Eurocents and 1, 2 Euro. Euro is used in many European countries and the banknotes are similar everywhere, lacking any Lithuanian details. Locally-minted coins have Lithuanian coat of arms (Vytis) on them, but the coins with details of other European countries also circulate within Lithuania. There are commemorative 2 Euro coins issued every year by Lithuania and the other countries that use the Euro.

The original Lithuanian currency Litas (plural forms: Litai, Litų), abbreviation Lt, is no longer accepted since 2015 but may be exchanged or added to the collection. It was subdivided into 100 Centas (Centai, Centų). Banknotes of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, and 500 Litas existed, with 100 being the most common and 500 the rarest. 1, 2 and 5 Litas banknotes had been replaced by coins in 2000s meaning that they are also scarce. Additionally, there were coins of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 contain. There were many special editions of 1 Litas coins commemorating various historical events.

Other currencies are not used but are possible to exchange at many banks. Bank wards in the major shopping malls are open longer and do not close on Sundays. It is easy to exchange US Dollars and British Pounds. Currencies of neighboring countries (Polish Zloty, Russian, and Belarussian Roubles) are also exchanged. As for the rarer currencies, they often may be only exchanged at some particular currency exchange offices, and they command a bad rate.

Credit/debit cards are widely but not universally accepted in Lithuania. They are less popular in smaller towns and are never used in traditional marketplaces. Chain stores and restaurants are more likely to accept cards than independent alternatives. There are a few businesses operating on a card-only basis. ATM machines are readily available, especially near main supermarkets. Visa and Master Card are the most common cards; acceptance of American Express is more limited.

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  1. Am Kingsley from Nigeria I want to visit Lithuania city and from their I would like to visit my brother in France than come back to Lithuania for my business how can I get Lithuania visa and is the city save for a visitor

  2. Hi, last month I had briefly visited Vilnius, and to my surprise could not use my AmEx card ANYWHERE. Has it left Lithuania completely? Or are there still ATMs (where?) that still accept it?

    • American Express is indeed very unpopular in Lithuania.

      American Express takes a larger percentage of selling price than does Master Card or Visa, making it very unprofitable for sellers. The only reason why it is popular e.g. in the USA is because many people have American Express and businesses just do not want to lose these customers completely.

      In Lithuania, where AmEx was never popular, though, few people have it (why to have it when you couldn’t pay for it), making businesses even more disinterested to accept it (as it would add few if any additional customers). Even if somebody has it, that is definitely not his/her only card.

      There are few places that accept AmEx, many of them are high-end places where profit margins are huge (e.g. maybe you can get it accepted at some expensive international chain hotel where international tourists often visit) but that’s about it. In Lithuania AmEx is just something “rare, strange and foreign”, in the same fashion as Chinese UnionPay for example – whereas Visa and MasterCard are seen as cards locals use.

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