Polish Zloty (PLN)

What Is the Polish Zloty (PLN)?

The Polish zloty (PLN) is the national currency used in Poland. A single Polish zloty is subdivided into 100 groszy and is often represented by a symbol that looks like the lowercase Latin letters "zl" with a stroke about halfway up the "l." It is a freely floating currency that trades on forex markets.

key takeaways

  • The Polish zloty (PLN) is the official currency of Poland, issued by the National Bank of Poland.
  • The currency dates back to the early 20th century but has gone through several iterations as the political economy of the country has shifted.
  • Breaking away from communism in the 1990s caused rampant inflation in Poland, making only denominations of 500,000 and 1 million usable.
  • As of December 2021, the exchange rate of PLN to USD is roughly 4-to-1.
  • Only the Narodowy Bank Polski (NBP), the Republic of Poland’s central bank, may issue the PLN.

Understanding the Polish Zloty (PLN)

The modern Polish zloty dates back to 1919 but was not circulated until 1924. Banknotes of the currency are issued in denominations of 10, 20, 50, 100, and 200, while coins circulate in denominations of 1, 2, and 5.

Only the Narodowy Bank Polski (NBP), the Republic of Poland’s central bank, may issue the PLN (Polish zloty). In addition to banknotes, the NBP also mints coins for both general circulation and collectors. The regulations stipulating the release of coins and notes are laid out in the Monitor Polski, a publication of Poland’s prime minister.

The NBP bears responsibility for maintaining price stability. Since 2004, the central bank strived to limit inflation to a target rate of 2.5%, plus or minus 1%. According to the World Bank, in 2020, a year marred by the outbreak of COVID-19 and related lockdown measures, Poland experienced 4.1% annual inflation and had a gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate of -2.7%.

The conditions of Poland’s entry into the European Union (EU) in 2004 required the eventual adoption of the euro. However, the country still has not set a target date for conversion to the EU's currency and the rise to power of euro-skeptic political parties in the Polish parliament appears to make such a move unlikely in the near term.

PLN in Forex Markets

In forex markets (FX), the most common pairings for the Polish zloty in currency trades tend to be the U.S. dollar (USD), the euro (EUR), the Swiss franc (CHF), the British pound (GBP), and the Australian dollar (AUD).

The word zloty is the masculine version of golden.

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.

History of the Polish Zloty (PLN)

The Polish zloty’s name comes from zloto, the Polish word for gold, and traces its existence back to the Middle Ages. The current Polish 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 it remained legal tender until 1850. At this point, the Russian ruble then the Polish marka replaced the zloty. 
  2. 1924 saw the introduction of the second zloty. Years of hyperinflation after World War I caused the conversion rate of 1 zloty to 1,800,000 markas. The PLN had pegged to the U.S. dollar. Ongoing economic crisis and inflation continued to haunt the Polish currency. Through World War II and later the Soviet occupation, the country continued printing and using the zloty.
  3. In 1950, the replacement of all existing Polish zloty (PLN) 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. As a result, for a brief time in the 1990s, there were denominations of 500,000 and 1 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 approximately 4 PLN to 1 USD.

Is the Polish Currency Strong?

As of the end of 2021, the Polish currency has weakened 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 and it does not use the euro; however, in some tourist areas, euros are accepted by the exchange rate is not favorable. It is recommended to convert euros to zloty at official exchanges.

How Much Is $100 U.S. in Poland?

One hundred U.S. dollars is equal to approximately 400 Polish zloty.

How Do You Exchange Currency in Poland?

You can exchange currency in Poland at a bank, ATM, or at currency exchanges.

Article Sources
Investopedia requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy.
  1. OANDA. "Polish Zloty." Accessed Dec. 24, 2021.

  2. XE.com. "1 PLN to USD - Convert Polish Zlotych to US Dollars." Accessed Dec. 24, 2021.

  3. Financial Observer (Poland). "The History of the Polish Zloty Began Almost 500 Years Ago." Accessed Dec. 24, 2021.

  4. Narodowy Bank Polski. "General Information." Accessed Dec. 24, 2021.

  5. Narodowy Bank Polski. "Issue of Currency." Accessed Dec. 24, 2021.

  6. Narodowy Bank Polski. "Monetary Policy." Accessed Dec. 24, 2021.

  7. World Bank. "DataBank | World Development Indicators." Accessed Dec. 24, 2021.

  8. European Commission. "Poland and the Euro." Accessed Dec. 24, 2021.

  9. Federation of American Scientists. "The European Union: Ongoing Challenges and Future Prospects," Pages 2 and 14-16. Accessed Dec. 24, 2021.

  10. Narodowy Bank Polski. "Exchange Rates." Accessed Dec. 24, 2021.

  11. Narodowy Bank Polski. "The History of Central Banking in Poland." Accessed Dec. 24, 2021.

  12. World Population Review. "GDP Ranked by Country 2021." Accessed Dec. 24, 2021.

Take the Next Step to Invest
×
The offers that appear in this table are from partnerships from which Investopedia receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where listings appear. Investopedia does not include all offers available in the marketplace.
Service
Name
Description