What Is the Polish Zloty (PLN)?

The Polish zloty (PLN) is the official currency of Poland, with PLN being the currency abbreviation—akin to the U.S. dollar and its abbreviation USD. The zloty is issued and managed by the National Bank of Poland.

The Polish Zloty Explained

The Polish zloty dates back to 1919 but was not circulated until 1924. The Polish zloty comes in denominations of banknotes that include 10s, 20s, 50s, 100s, and 200s, as well as coins.

Key Takeaways

  • The Polish zloty (PLN) is the official currency of Poland, issued by the National Bank of Poland.
  • Breaking away from communism in the 1990s caused rampant inflation in Poland, making only denominations of 500,000 and 1 million usable.
  • The typical exchange rate of PLN to USD is 2-to-1 to 4.5-to-1, although the current rate as of May 2019 is roughly 4-to-1.


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.

The Polish Zloty (PLN) is not pegged to the USD and is a free-floating currency.

Real World Example of Polish Zloty

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.

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The value of 1 PLN bought in 1990 and held until May 2019.

For example, if you were converting 1,000 U.S. dollars to PLN at an exchange rate of 3.5, you would receive 3,500 Polish zloty. Today the exchange rate of PLN to USD is 0.26. That is, for every 1 PLN you’d receive 0.26 USD or roughly 4 PLN for 1 USD.