Many a foreign tourist, especially at Bulgaria’s seaside resorts, has complained about being ripped off at currency exchange offices. To cut down on fraud, the Finance Ministry is drafting amended regulations, reports in Bulgarian media have said.
The approach is two-pronged – first, to cut down the variation band around the daily rate set by the central bank, within which the currency exchange bureaus are allowed to operated, from 20 per cent to five per cent, and second, to introduce a location requirement for the bureaus.
In particular, this second proposal envisions that currency exchange offices will have to be in permanent buildings, rather than temporary constructions. This alone would put nine out of 10 exchange offices in Bulgarian seaside resorts out of business, according to the association of currency exchange bureaus, quoted by news website dnevnik.bg.
The association opposed the draft regulation and has threatened to sue the ministry if the new requirements are made into law.
Separately, a new regulation that has already entered into force earlier this month allows banks and currency exchange offices to set up automated currency exchange machines. These would have to be registered with the National Revenue Agency and their owners will have to provide paperwork guaranteeing that the machines cannot be used to perpetrate currency fraud.
The machines are only allowed to exchange foreign currency into Bulgarian leva, but no other operations with foreign currency.