Sunday, August 7, 2022

Money & Shopping in Finland

EuropeFinlandMoney & Shopping in Finland

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Currency

The euro is used in Finland. It is one of many European nations that utilize the Euro. All euro banknotes and coins are legal tender across the EU.

One euro is made up of 100 cents.

The euro’s official sign is €, and its ISO code is EUR. The cent does not have an official symbol.

  • Banknotes: Euro banknotes are designed the same way in all nations.
  • Normal coins: All eurozone nations issue coins with a unique national design on one side and a standard common design on the other. Coins, regardless of design, may be used in any eurozone nation (e.g. a one-euro coin from Finland can be used in Portugal).
  • Commemorative two euro coins: These vary from regular two euro coins solely on their “national” side and are freely circulated as legal currency. Each nation may make a specific number as part of their regular coin manufacturing, and “European-wide” two euro coins are sometimes minted to mark exceptional occasions (e.g. the anniversary of important treaties).
  • Other commemorative coins include: Commemorative coins of larger denominations (e.g., ten euros or more) are considerably uncommon, feature completely unique designs, and often contain significant quantities of gold, silver, or platinum. While they are legally legal currency at face value, their material or collector value is typically considerably greater, and as a result, they are unlikely to be in real circulation.

In Finland, 1 and 2 cent coins are not used in monetary transactions; instead, all amounts are rounded to the closest 5 cents. However, the coins remain legal tender, and there are even tiny amounts of Finnish 1c and 2c coins, which are highly prized by collectors. Prices are often written without cents or the euro symbol, and the comma is used as a decimal separator: “5,50” indicates five euros and fifty cents, while 5,– means five euros.

When using a credit card, however, the payment is fulfilled to the penny.

Banking

In cities, getting or exchanging money is seldom an issue since ATMs are widely available and may be used with foreign credit and debit cards (Visa, Visa Electron, MasterCard, Maestro). ATMs are more difficult to locate in rural areas. Some stores accept credit cards to get cash.

Other currencies besides the euro are usually not accepted, but the Swedish krona may be accepted in land and northern border towns like as Tornio (and Norwegian crowns likewise in the extreme north). Stockmann accepts US dollars, pound sterling, Swedish krona, and Russian rubles as exceptions. Many currencies may also be accepted on the boats from Sweden and Estonia.

Credit cards are generally accepted, however if you spend more than €50, you will be asked for identification (and may be asked to show it even for smaller purchases). Because Visa Electron and Visa Debit card readers can be found at all big and small retailers, carrying significant quantities of cash is seldom required. Have cash or a cheque on hand for open-air marketplaces, small lodging companies, purchasing handicrafts at the workshop, and other such transactions.

Exchange bureaux may be located in larger cities and near borders, and they usually provide better rates, longer hours of operation, and quicker service than banks. It should be noted that not all bank branches accept cash.

Even for minor transactions, many Finns now use a card, and the usage of cash is quickly declining. If you do not use a chip-based card, using a foreign card may become a problem. PIN is required by many suppliers. Don’t be surprised if Finns pay modest 1-5 eur sums using cards, even if there’s a long line behind them.

Tipping

Tipping is virtually never required in Finland, since restaurant bills already contain service costs; tipping is completely voluntary and extremely unheard of outside of specific industries. Tipping is very prevalent at restaurants. Taxis and other bills paid in cash are sometimes rounded up to the next suitable number. Cloakrooms (narikka) at nightclubs and nicer restaurants often have non-negotiable costs (generally well marked, €2 is typical), and hotel porters will demand about the same per bag in the few hotels that use them. When exiting a bar, customers may pay the bouncer in exchange for overall good service. As a result, tips are often pooled. A brass tippikello (tip bell) beside the counter is common in bars. When a tip is received, the service worker strikes it with the highest denomination of coin provided in the tip.

Tipping government and municipal employees for any service will not be allowed since it may be seen as a bribe.

Costs

Declared the most expensive nation in the world in 1990, prices have subsequently moderated slightly but remain high by most measures. Traveling at rock-bottom costs at least €25/day if living in hostel dormitories and self-catering, and it’s better to estimate double that amount. The lowest hotels cost about €50 per night, while more expensive hotels start at €100. Instead of hotels or hostels, search for vacation cottages, particularly if you’re traveling in a group and during the off-season; a fully furnished cottage may be found for €10–15 per person per night. Camping costs between €10 to €20 for tent or caravan, plus about €5/2 per person.

Museums and tourist sites charge admission fees ranging from €5 to €25. Depending on the city, using public transportation costs a few euros a day. One-way rail or bus travel between large cities costs between €20 and €100, depending on distance. Children, according to various definitions, often pay half the fee or less (young children are free), except at children’s attractions.

A VAT of 24% is levied on almost everything (the major exception being food, which is levied at 14%), although this is required by law to be included in the advertised price. Non-EU citizens may receive a tax refund on purchases of more than €40 at selected stores; just search for the Tax-Free Shopping emblem.

Shopping

Souvenir buying in Finland is not inexpensive, as one would anticipate considering the overall price level. Finnish puukko knives and handmade ryijy carpets are traditional purchases. Look for the “Sámi Duodji” mark, which guarantees genuine Lappish handicrafts. Every conceivable component of a reindeer, lye-soaked lutefisk (lipeäkala), and pine tar (terva) syrup are popular delicacies to eat or bring home to wow your friends. If you can’t bear the thought of terva on your pancakes, you can buy it perfumed soap at almost any supermarket or pharmacy shop. Tar-flavored sweets are also available, the most popular of which are the Leijona Lakritsi candies.

Marimekko clothes, Iittala glass, Arabia ceramics, Kalevala Koru jewelry, Pentik interior design, and, if you don’t mind the shipping charges, Artek furniture by famous architect and designer Alvar Aalto are all popular names for contemporary (or timeless) Finnish design. Moomin figures, which cover souvenir shop shelves, are popular with both children and adults, while Angry Birds items have spread across the nation.

Be aware of the restricted shopping hours in Finland. Smaller businesses typically operate from 9 a.m. to 5 or 6 p.m. on weekdays, although most shut early on Saturdays and are closed completely on Sundays. Larger retailers and department stores are often open until 9 p.m. on weekdays and 6 p.m. on weekends and holidays. Small grocery shops in cities often offer extended hours. Almost all shops are closed on national holidays. Shopping hours for tiny and specialty shops in small towns and the countryside are often considerably shorter than in large cities, although most national chains maintain consistent hours throughout the country. The restriction of opening hours was abandoned in 2016, with larger lines at major shops being the first response, but the long-term consequences remain unclear.

Convenience shops, such as the omnipresent R-Kioski, maintain somewhat longer hours, although they are nevertheless often closed when you need them the most. Gas station convenience shops are typically open on weekends and until late at night if you are in urgent need of essential goods. Some gas station convenience shops, especially the ABC! brand, are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Supermarkets at Helsinki’s Asematunneli, under the Central Railway Station, remain open until 10 p.m. every day except Christmas Day (December 25). Regardless of the shop’s hours of operation, the sale of alcohol is always limited to 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Most items must be imported, which is reflected in the product selection and price. It is fairly unusual to see the same product at the same price at various stores. When purchasing consumer electronics, keep in mind that the shelf life of the goods may be very lengthy, particularly if the store isn’t specialized in consumer electronics. There is a danger of purchasing an expensive product that has already been discontinued or replaced by a newer one.

While merchants may fiercely deny it to a foreigner, pricing in smaller shops are far from set. It is fairly unusual to get a 30% discount when purchasing hobby equipment (hint: find the international price level from a web shop and print it out). The greater the difference between Finnish and foreign pricing, the greater the savings via mail order. When a package is stopped by customs (which is uncommon for physically tiny goods), the buyer is informed and has the option of picking it up from customs or having it forwarded to the nearest post office after clearing. Bring a copy of the order, which is then signed by the buyer and archived, as well as VAT and potentially import tax if the purchase exceeds a particular amount.

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