The currency in Poland is the Polish złoty international symbolisation: PLN, often abbreviated locally as "zł" placed after the amount. The złoty is divides into 100 grosze. Poland is expected to adopt the euro € sometime after 2020, but those plans are still tentative.
Private currency exchange offices Polish: kantor are very common, and offer euro or US dollar exchanges at rates that are usually comparable to commercial banks. Be aware that exchanges in tourist hot-spots, such as the train stations or popular tourist destinations, tend to overcharge. Avoid "Interchange" Kantor locations, easily recognised by their orange colour; the rates they offer are very bad.
CashLinguistic note: Polish has two types of plural numbers, which you are likely to encounter when dealing with currency. Here are the noun forms to expect:
Singular: 1 złoty, 1 grosz
Nominative plural: 2 - 4 złote, grosze, then 22 - 24, 32 - 34, etc.
Genitive plural: 5 - 21 złotych, groszy, then 25 - 31, 35 - 41, etc.
There is also an extensive network of cash machines or ATMs Polish: bankomat. The exchange rate will depend on your particular card issuer, but usually ends up being pretty favourable, and comparable to reasonably good exchange offices. Many banks will charge fees for using the card abroad, though, so check your fine print beforehand.
A word of warning: You will be offered the "service" of having your card billed in your home currency almost everywhere. This option gives you a very unfavourable exchange rate including up to 7% commission, even if it says "no fees". Always insist on paying in złoty when using your card - you always have the right to do so. On automated machines, hit the "cancel" button if it mentiones your home currency; you can then proceed to pay in złoty.
Credit cards can be used to pay almost everywhere in the big cities. Popular cards include Visa, Visa Electron, MasterCard and Maestro. AmEx and Diners' Club can be used in a few places notably the big, business-class hotels but are not popular and you should not rely on them for any payments.
Cheques were never particularly popular in Poland and they are not used nowadays. Local banks do not issue cheque books to customers and stores do not accept them.
Many towns, and larger suburbs, hold traditional weekly markets, similar to farmers' markets popular in the West. Fresh produce, baker's goods, dairy, meat and meat products are sold, along with everything from flowers and garden plants to Chinese-made clothing and bric-a-brac. In season wild mushrooms and forest fruit can also be bought. Markets are held on Thursdays / Fridays and/or Saturdays and are a great way to enjoy the local colour. Prices are usually set though you can try a little good-natured bargaining if you buy more than a few items.
super and hypermarkets
Hypermarkets are dominated by the western chains: Carrefour, Tesco, Auchan, Real, Biedronka, Lidl, Netto. Some are open 24 hours a day and they are usually located in shopping malls or suburbs.
However, Poles shop very often at local small stores for bread,meat, fresh dairy, vegetables and fruits - goods for which freshness and quality is essential.
Prices in Poland are some of the lowest in the EU.