Polish Zloty (PLN)

What Is the Polish Zloty (PLN)?

The term Polish zloty (PLN) refers to the national currency of Poland. The currency is issued and managed by the country's central bank. The zloty is abbreviated in the foreign exchange market as PLN and is represented by the symbol zł. A single zloty is divided into 100 groszy. Banknotes are issued in values ranging from zł10 to zł500. Coin values range from one to 50 groszy and zł1 to zł5. The zloty is a free-floating currency, which means it isn't pegged to any other currency and nothing is pegged to it.

key takeaways

  • The Polish zloty is the official currency of Poland.
  • It is abbreviated as PLN and is represented by the symbol zł.
  • The country's central bank, the National Bank of Poland, is responsible for issuing and maintaining the zloty.
  • Banknotes come in values from zł10 to zł500 and coins are minted in both groszy and zloty denominations.
  • The currency dates back to the early 20th century but has gone through several iterations as the political economy of the country has shifted.

Understanding the Polish Zloty (PLN)

The Polish zloty is the official legal tender of Poland. Although it wasn't circulated until 1924, the modern zloty dates back to 1919. The country's central bank, Narodowy Bank Polski (or the Central Bank of Poland) is responsible for issuing and maintaining the currency. As of 1997, it holds the exclusive rights to produce the zloty. The bank is also responsible for implementing fiscal and monetary policy to ensure the economy runs smoothly.

Banknotes are issued in denominations of zł10, zł20, zł50, zł100, and zł200. There are also coins minted in values of zł1, zł2, and zł5. A single zloty is divided into 100 groszy, of which one, two, five, 10, 20, and 50 groszy are minted.

The zloty free floats in the forex markets, which means it isn't pegged to any currency. No other currency isn't pegged to the zloty. The most common pairings for the zloty in currency trades tend to be the U.S. dollar (USD), the euro, the Swiss franc (CHF), the British pound (GBP), and the Australian dollar (AUD).

Since the early 2000s, the PLN exchange rate has typically traded between two PLN to one U.S. dollar to over 4.5 PLN to one U.S. dollar. However, it has not traded at two PLN since the Great Recession in 2008 and for the past several years has ranged between three to four PLN to the dollar. As of Aug. 3, 2022, US$1 was equal to about zł4.63.

The word zloty is the masculine version of golden.

Special Considerations

The NBP bears responsibility for maintaining price stability in Poland. The central bank strived to limit inflation to a target rate of 2.5%, plus or minus 1% since 2004. The country experienced 3.4% annual inflation when COVID-19 hit in 2020. That annual rate increased to 5.1% the following year. It had a gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate of 5.7% in 2021 with GDP hitting $674.05 billion that year.

Poland became a European Union (EU) member state in 2004. One of the requirements was its eventual adoption of the euro but there is no target date for conversion to the euro. The rise of euro-skeptic political parties in parliament appears to make such a move unlikely in the near term. Central bank Governor Adam Glapinski said Germany has been pressuring his country to adopt the euro and "vowed to prevent it" as long as he’s in charge of monetary policy.

History of the Polish Zloty (PLN)

The Polish zloty traces its existence back to the Middle Ages. The current zloty marks the currency’s fourth iteration. 

  1. During the first zloty period of the 14th and 15th centuries, the word zloty initially indicated any gold coin. The zloty became the official currency in 1528 and remained legal tender until 1850. At this point, it was replaced by the Russian ruble and then the Polish marka. 
  2. The second zloty was introduced in 1924. Years of hyperinflation after World War I caused the conversion rate of a single zloty to 1,800,000 markas. The PLN was pegged to the U.S. dollar. Ongoing economic crisis and inflation continued to haunt the Polish currency. The country continued to print and use the zloty through World War II and later the Soviet occupation.
  3. In 1950, the replacement of all existing Polish zloty began the third zloty period. Hard financial times continued for the country, forcing Poland into debt lasting until 1994. These notes carried the symbol PLZ. As Poland transitioned away from the Communist party with the collapse of the Soviet Union and into a free market economy, inflation soared. For a brief time in the 1990s, there were denominations of 500,000 and one million zloty. Once inflation subsided, the larger denominated notes were no longer needed and were converted into smaller denominations.
  4. During the fourth zloty period, the government exchanged new banknotes for the existing currency. However, the early issued new notes were easy to counterfeit. In 1995, the redenomination of all money happened and the old PLZ ceased to be legal tender.

What Is the Polish Currency to USD Exchange Rate?

The Polish currency to USD exchange rate is over zł4 to $1.

Is the Polish Currency Strong?

Poland's currency weakened as of the end of 2021 due to a strengthening dollar. In general, the Polish currency is a strong one as the economy of Poland is strong, improving significantly since the end of the U.S.S.R. It is also one of the most resilient economies in Europe and has the 21st-highest GDP in the world.

Do They Accept Euros in Poland?

The official currency of Poland is the zloty. As such, it does not use the euro. Euros are accepted in certain tourist areas but the exchange rate is not favorable. It is recommended to convert euros to zloty at official exchanges.

How Much Is US$100 in Poland?

One hundred U.S. dollars is equal to over zł460.

How Do You Exchange Currency in Poland?

You can exchange currency in Poland at a bank, automated teller machine (ATM), or at currency exchanges.

Article Sources
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  1. Financial Observer (Poland). "The History of the Polish Zloty Began Almost 500 Years Ago."

  2. Narodowy Bank Polski. "Banknotes and coins: General information."

  3. Narodowy Bank Polski. "ABOUT NBP: Activities of Narodowy Bank Polski."

  4. Narodowy Bank Polski. "Banknotes and coins: Banknotes issued by the NBP."

  5. Narodowy Bank Polski. "Banknotes and coins: Coins issued by the NBP."

  6. OANDA. "Polish Zloty."

  7. Narodowy Bank Polski. "Statistics: Exchange Rates."

  8. XE.com. "1 USD to PLN - Convert US Dollars to Polish Zlotych."

  9. Narodowy Bank Polski. "Monetary Policy."

  10. The World Bank. "Inflation, consumer prices (annual %) - Poland."

  11. The World Bank. "GDP growth (annual %) - Poland."

  12. The World Bank. "GDP (current$) - Poland."

  13. European Commission. "Poland and the Euro."

  14. Federation of American Scientists. "The European Union: Ongoing Challenges and Future Prospects," Pages 2 and 14-16.

  15. Bloomberg. "Poland's Central Bank Chief Alleges German Pressure to Join Euro."

  16. Narodowy Bank Polski. "The History of Central Banking in Poland."

  17. The World Bank. "GDP (current$)."

  18. World Population Review. "GDP Ranked by Country 2021."

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