We have written this guide for those who want to accept the challenge and dare to spend a weekend in Prague without any cash
The capital of the Czech Republic actively uses state-of-the-art technology to improve the lives of the Czech people. Within the concept of Smart City, the government installs interactive benches, smart car parks, and the most advanced payment ways.
PaySpace Magazine spent a weekend in Prague (it was a part of the MasterCard press tour) and is ready to offer you some tips on how to travel without cash.
Now, you are in Prague. Regardless of where you arrived from (airport, railway or bus station), you can reach a hotel and pay further fares with your bank card. The easiest, yet not the cheapest way to reach the place you plan to stay in, is to call a taxi. Cars in Prague are endowed with payment terminals. It is enough to put your card or smartphone with NFC to the POS-terminal and enter your PIN to pay your fare.
Uber and Taxify are also available.
Public transport in Prague is also card-friendly. You can buy a ticket right in the bus, special ticket machines, subway box offices, tourist offices, or with the help of the particular app.
A tourist should know that there is a unified fare system in Prague. It means you can use different modes of transport with one ticket. The most important thing for a tourist is to precisely calculate the time to the destination since ticket prices are based on the amount of time you spend on public transport. There are 30 and 90-minute tickets, but you can also buy a one-day or three-day travel card.
How to buy a ticket?
There are different ways to buy a ticket. For example, the bus №119, which goes from the airport to the nearest subway station, is endowed with a special card reader terminal. So you’ll just have to put a bank card to this terminal to pay a fare.
Similar systems are launched in trams № 18 and 22. These trams are useful if you need to reach the historical center of the city.
Another way to buy a ticket is from a ticket machine. You can find them at the airport, central railway station, and nearby public transport stops. You can see the complete list of Prague ticket machines on the website of the local authority.
You can also find tourist information offices near the city’s most important sights, and you can buy tickets there using a card.
You should remember that most ticket machines accept coins only, so if you happened to be in a subway, for instance, without cash, it is better to head to the subway ticket office. However, offices are run intermittently and close at 8 pm.
Nevertheless, there is one more option. You can solve all transport issues by buying the Prague Card, which is a tourist pass to the city transport, sightseeing, and attractions.
The most convenient and modern way to pay the fare is an official Prague transport app PID Lítačka (for both iOS and Android). We strongly recommend to download it beforehand.
How to buy a ticket in the app: a step-by-step guide
- STEP 1: Select A (point of departure) and B (destination);
- STEP 2: Check out the suggested route and transfer points;
- STEP 3: Choose “Payment card” option;
- STEP 4: Enter your card details;
- STEP 5: Activate the ticket 2 minutes before departure.
A journey by car
If you decided to take a trip on your own car, you need to know that you can find a car park and pay for it in Moje Praha app (available for both iOS and Android). This app is available on Czech language only, but it is user-friendly enough, so you’ll have no problems with it.
The virtual parking clock online payment service is another option to pay for parking. It is enough to enter the parking lot number in the form to pay the service. If you don’t want to use data roaming, you can use parking machines, which are located around the city.
Attractions in Prague
If you desire not to use conventional means of transport, you can rent an electric scooter.
In this case, you’ll need to download the Lime app (Android, iOS) in advance, and top-up it by entering your credit card details. The app will tell you the location of the nearest e-scooter stations. The service is handy, so you can block and leave a scooter wherever you want and not need to bring it back to the station.
Thus, it is quite easy to move about in Prague. You’ll also be able to pay with a card in hotels and restaurants.
Street fairs are the places where you’ll probably need bills and coins. Salespersons accepting cards are extremely rare there. Therefore, if you desire to taste traditional Czech sausages or sweets, you’ll have to find the nearest ATM.
The Manifesto street fair is probably the only exception to the rule. It offers cuisines from around the world, and you can purchase dishes with a banking card only. Anyone who comes there without a plastic card can draw up (and top-up) a card right there.
The fair also organizes different cultural events and activities several times a week. Passing by, find some time and check out local DJs.
But still, you’ll have to leave a tip in cash. The same rule applies to most restaurants and diners around the city.
What’s more? Prague is also famous for its cryptocurrency fans cafe.
Paralelni Polis sells coffee for Bitcoin and Litecoin only.
Tips for travelers
In addition to local characteristics, it is worth recalling some points from a so-called «basic cash-free-traveler checklist»:
✔ Get all the features of your card before the commencement of travel: ask your issuing bank about the insurance status and specialized services for travelers. For example, if you have a Premium MasterCard card, it will give you special bonuses in airports, like rapid customs control passing and Fast Line option, and access to VIP waiting rooms.
✔ Let your bank know about your forthcoming journey. Thus, operators will not consider your transactions suspicious.
✔ Make sure that your online banking feature is enabled. This is how you can track all transactions, or freeze your card in case of loss.
Now you know that you can come to Prague without cash, and pay in hotels, public transport, diners/restaurants, and many other places with your card. If you need to purchase some souvenirs for gifts, you can always use an ATM to get some cash (or bring along a small sum beforehand).
Travel cashless and be happy!