You plan to travel to Iran, and you are dreaming about its beauty and great people who welcome you with their generosity. You probably have booked your hotel, flight and got your visa. Even you may also decide about the attractions you wish to visit. Now it is time to know more about your destination. Having information about Iran’s currency and choosing between cash or credit helps you to have a more comfortable trip to this legendary land.
Today, most of us are accustomed to paying with credit cards. Do you prefer to take your money out of your wallet or pay with your credit card? As one of the safest countries that you have ever traveled to, you can decide to use cash or credit in Iran according to your personal preferences. So read on!
Read also: Travel to Iran: Tips for First Travelers
What is the currency in Iran?
First of all, to choose between cash or credit, it is better to know about the Iranian currency. Rial (IRR) is the official currency in Iran. However, in everyday life, ‘toman’ is what you repeatedly heard about. But what is the difference?
One toman equals ten rials. It means that you should drop a zero of the rial to understand the price in toman! Most of the time, Iranians verbally communicate prices in tomans. However, if a price does make sense for you, you can ask about the currency they mean.
Another point you must know about Iran’s currency is that people mostly do not mention thousands and millions in their conversations. For example, if a book is 50, it means that it is 50,000 tomans. If a car is 120, it means that it is 120 million tomans.
Notice that Persian numbers are Eastern Arabic Numerals. However, the figures on banknotes and coins are in English, and as we mentioned before, they are in rials.
These are the principles that you must know about Iranian currency. Of course, Iran has one of the friendliest people in the world, and most of the time helps you as a foreign traveler to understand the exact figure of money you should pay.
Read also: How Much Money Do You Need to Travel Iran?
How to exchange money in Iran?
Whether you bring cash or credit to Iran, you should know that there are two different exchange rates in Iran. One is the official rate, and the other is the market rate. You, as a tourist, deal with the latter.
Like many other countries, the exchange rate is not fixed in Iran. It depends on the date and place you want to exchange your money. The Central Bank of Iran announces the market rate daily, and it may vary a little in different exchange offices. You can check the exchange rate on bonbast.com
Remember that dollar and euro are the best currencies you can bring to Iran for exchange. Since you can easily exchange these currencies with better rate. Besides, the large banknotes in euros and dollars are exchanged with a better rate in the country.
If you arrived at an airport in Iran, the exchange offices can be your first choice. All Iranian international airports including Imam Khomeini International Airport (Tehran), Shahid Dastgheyb International Airport (Shiraz), Shahid Beheshti International Airport (Isfahan), Tabriz International Airport and Shahid Hasheminejad International Airport (Mashhad) have 24/7 exchange offices.
It is good to change your money into rials before taking a taxi since the drivers may exchange your money at a lower rate.
If you plan to enter Iran crossing the borders, the case may be a little different. Iran shares borders with Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan & Nakhchivan, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Turkmenistan. Not in all these borders, you can find exchange offices.
At the borders and in some tourist spots, there are dealers on the streets who exchange money. Be careful if you want to exchange money and trust them, since they may give you counterfeit banknotes. Always exchange at the offices.
Read also: A Complete Guide to Iran Currency
where you can find exchange offices?
You can find exchange offices in most big cities. The main place for exchange in Tehran is at Ferdowsi Street. The exchange offices in Shiraz are mostly located at Karim Khan square and Mali Abad Boulevard. In Isfahan, the exchange offices hub is located on Hakim Nezami Street, and Sepah Street. In Yazd, Imam Khomeini Street, and in front of Yazd’s fire temple are the places you can exchange your money.
At the exchange offices, you can check the exchange rate on a billboard in their windows. Take notice that the exchange rate may be a little different at the offices. Hence, check some exchange offices before you make a decision.
You can also exchange your money at hotels. However, the rate is lower in comparison to the exchange offices in the cities.
Cash or credit? If you decide to bring cash to Iran, remember that there is no currency exchange booth across the cities. Besides, the exchange offices are open only in business hours, and they are closed on bank holidays and weekends.
With bringing cash, you may be more confident about your money management or may feel more comfortable with the banknotes in your pocket during a trip.
However, as you know bringing a large amount of cash during any travel may lead to several problems for you. First of all, you may lose your money and endanger your safety. Second, you should have a correct estimation of the money you need during your travel.
So read on about the other alternatives you can have during your travel to Iran to have a better decision!
Bank and credit cards in Iran
None of your bank cards and also credit cards like VISA, Amex, or MasterCard are valid in the Iranian network of ATMs (cashpoint machines). There are no international ATM transactions due to decades-long sanctions against Iran.
Hence what are the alternatives for you if you want to choose between cash or credit?
In recent years, there is an option for tourists in Iran using Iranian debit card. The POS terminals are available in most Iranian shops and retailers. With an Iranian debit card, you can do your interactions via POS terminals and ATMs like locals. Bringing cards instead of cash is safer and more convenient for you as a traveler.
What are Iranian debit cards?
Iranian debit card is a great option, which helps you to choose between cash or credit. Iranian debit cards are short term cards provided for international tourists to make their trip safer in Iran.
With a debit card, your money is protected and is accessible all the time via ATMs. Besides, you can load your card again and again when you are in Iran. Hence, you do not worry about the shortage of money anymore. Besides, you can refund your remaining balance.
With an Iranian debit card, you can save your time as well. There is no need to exchange your money at the offices, and if you care about money management when you are on a trip, you can check your balance with an app on your cellphone or via ATMs.
Last but not the least
Credit or cash? May this article helps you to make a decision before you travel to Iran. We, at Exotigo, provide you with an Iranian debit card. You can instantly add funds to your debit card in your preferred currency and convert it to Iranian rial (IRR), and you can quickly refund your money.
To know more about our travel services, feel free to contact us at [email protected]. We are with you to make your travel to Iran a great experience!