Opening a Bank Account
Opening a bank account in Latvia is quite fast and simple. All you need to do is go to a bank branch of your choice and bring with you your passport/ID document. Then you have to file an application and choose the type of services you will want from the bank. Return to the bank three days later to pick up your credit card. Some of the most popular banks in Latvia are:
Note that banks are generally open on workdays from 9:00 until 17:00, although some banks provide extended opening until 18:00, and some branches are even open on Saturdays. This is another reason why internet banking is very convenient.
The official currency in Latvia is the euro, abbreviated as EUR (symbol: €). 1 euro is divided into 100 cents, and euro banknotes are issued in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500. Coins come in eight denominations of EUR 2, 1, 0.50, 0.20, 0.10, 0.05, 0.02, and 0.01.
ATMs and Payments
There are more than 1,350 ATMs in Riga, in Latvian called 'Bankomāts'. Most of them are located in shopping malls, close to bank branch offices, on street corners, near office buildings and petrol stations. There is one ATM just outside the main building of RSU and plenty of those in the Old Town as well, all available 24/7.
Credit cards and debit cards are widely accepted for making payments, and are safer than carrying cash with you. In addition, internet banking is widely used for paying bills, recharging phones, buying e-tickets, shopping on the internet and using many other services. Therefore, we highly recommend that you open a bank account at one of the many banks in Riga and obtain a debit card.
You may need to exchange money at the beginning of your stay. Banks ensure the exchange of currency, but you will also find that there are many private currency exchange offices. These stay open much later than banks and sometimes offer better exchange rates than banks. In either case, you should check and compare rates before undertaking any transactions. You can check the official rates at the Bank of Latvia.
As in any European city, you will find a wide variety of places to go shopping. There are several food store chains, among them:
For buying other necessary items, such as clothing, shoes, furniture, electronics etc., the most popular shopping centres in Riga are:
- Alfa Parks 372 Brīvības gatve
- Domina Shopping 3 Ieriķu St.
- Galerija Centrs 16 Audēju St. (Old Town)
- Mols 13 Krasta St.
- Olimpia 5 Āzenes St. (Pārdaugava)
- Origo 2 Stacijas laukums
- Riga Plaza 71 Mūkusalas St. (Pārdaugava)
- Spice 29 Lielirbes St.
- Galleria Riga 67 Dzirnavu St.