Hungarian currency is called Hungarian Forint, or Forint (Ft) for short. As a general rule, students should not carry much Forint in cash, as there are many ATM’s in the city (a few of them directly on the Campus). They also give a very good exchange rate. You can exchange dollars or travelers checks to Forints at the airport, rail station, or any of the hotels or banks in Budapest. There remains a currency black market in Hungary, but there is also a good deal of counterfeit currency in circulation; students are strongly advised not to trade currency with strangers.
Major international cards (in particular, MasterCard and Visa) are accepted at many places, including most restaurants, bookshops, and food stores. Further information is found in the Budapest Users’ Guide. Personal checks, cashier checks, money orders, etc., cannot be readily exchanged. International banking is quite slow. Although you may deposit a personal check at some banks, it may take several months until the check clears. It is a good idea to bring some personal checks along in case you have to mail away for something like a GRE registration.
It is not a good idea to exchange all your money at once. The bank will convert Forints back to dollars but will charge you again for the transaction.