Currency Exchange, Saint Petersburg
A trick the staff seem to use here is when charging you in Rubles at hotels they make the exchange rate 27 instead of 25 to the dollar. They said all hotels do this when I queried them.
I can't believe that they prefer to have $$ to rubles so to save a bit of money pay in dollars!
NEVER, EVER CHANGE MONEY ON THE STREET!!!
People on the street outside a bank or exchange (obmen) may ask you to change money with them, as may a security guard inside. You would be best advised not to change money with anyone not behind an official bank window. One trick used by people on the street is for one person to show you their rubles and take your 50 or 100 dollar bill. Another man comes over, pushes him and yells at him for transacting money on the street. He grabs a bill pushes it into your hands, and then both take off, leaving you with a $1.00 bill. Use your best judgement (maybe it is someone just trying to make a few extra rubles by selling dollars to the banks), but you're better off being safe than sorry.
Unique Suggestions: It's always worth waiting in lines (even long ones) to change money!
Dispite of Moscow, it's difficult to change dollars to rubels on the night. Please change money daytime in the center (there are many of exchanges on Nevsky prospekt). Be ready to sign up to 5 different forms. They open an account for this operation to save on taxes.
You will obtain better exchage rate if you go to the private exchage office.
I noticed that BANKS OFFER lower rates than private exchange offices.
You must also know that it is common to paid a commission of app. 0,5 USD for every currency for exchanging money.
You will be also offered a better rate if you exchage 100 USD or more.