Iran debit card, a good replacement for your cash money!
The first thing you should keep in mind is that Iran is disconnected from the international banking system. Once you come here, the ubiquity of banks and ATMs will probably surprise you. The banking system in Iran is quite modern and efficient; most people have Debit Cards, which they use for online payments; they are also accepted in almost all of the retail stores. However, international sanctions render impossible any non-domestic transactions.
Iran is, unfortunately due to monetary sanctions, not directly connected to the global money circulation procedures. So, you will not be able to use your credit card system to pay for your purchases. Thus, you have to calculate in advance, how much money you need to spend and bring it in a common international currency and exchange it here. You can easily exchange US dollar and Euro, as well as the British Pound, the Australian and Canadian dollar. The currencies of the neighboring countries are easy to swap as well: Turkish Lira, Emirati Dirham, etc.
The good news that you’ve probably heard about a lot, is that Iran is a very affordable country to visit nowadays. That’s because Iran currency has been losing its value against the dollar for years. The bad news is that Iran is still disconnected from international payment systems, and you have to pay for everything in cash. Most of the shops accept U.S dollar or Euro, but it’s better to change a part of your money to have more convenient payments.
You can change your money at the airport on arrival, banks with a foreign currency office, and the private exchange bureaus throughout the country.
Exchange Stores in Iran
Once you get to Iran it is recommended to change your currency to Iranian Rials to get the best value. But quite often you will find retailers willing to take US Dollars, Euros and GBP, although the exchange rate will not be favourable. Therefore, once you arrive it is best to exchange enough money for the next few days to avoid carrying large amounts of cash. Also remember only to use reputable offices when exchanging your currency, these are often found in Airports or exchange agencies around the country.
As other countries, do not exchange a lot of money at the airport– maybe enough for your cab fare. Exchange bureaus are found everywhere; often, however, they are clustered in a hub not far from the town’s center.
In Tehran: You will find dozens of them at Ferdowsi Square (Ferdowsi Metro Station, Line 4). If you need to ask for directions, the keyword would be Sarrafi.
In Isfahan: You can find some stores around Naqsh-e-Jahan Square.
Asking People: Another way to find exchange stores in Iran is to ask the hotel reception if you’re staying at the hotel or ask your host if you’re staying at their place.
Ask Google: Although in general, you can normally locate exchanges in downtown of cities. The ultimate solution is, wherever you are open google map app on your cell and search the word “Exchange” and it’ll show you nearby exchanges.
Changing money on the street is illegal and as long as exchange shops are allowed to trade money at market rates it makes little sense to do this. That said, the volatile state of the Rial means there will be plenty of people prepared to buy your foreign exchange on the black market.
Tourist Debit Cards in Iran
If you are uncomfortable with carrying a lot of cash, you can go to a bank and ask for a prepaid debit card, in Iran known as cash gift-cards or kart hadiye. Keep in mind that at the international airports of Iran, the possibility of having a credit card is also provided for the foreign guests. This will give you pretty much all the functionalities of a debit card and you can travel with more ease of mind. Three banks, which are Mellat bank, national or Melli bank, and tourism bank are responsible and authorized for issuing credit cards specifically for tourists. These cards are connected with the nationwide banking network of the country and you can use them to receive cash from all the ATM's throughout the country. In fact, these credit or, to be more precise, debit cards, are good replacements for your cash money. These cards are also rechargeable.
The amount of money you would like to have in your account depends on you and your request. The only required documents you will have to present are your valid visa and passport. You can deposit cash as Iranian Rial currency, Euros, Dollars, etc. In your account. Your card’s expiry date depends on the expiry date of your visa. Overall there are more than 50’000 automatic telling machines from which you can get money to spend in Iran and of which more than 10000 ones belong to Melli Bank of Iran.
Are Tourist Debit Cards Accepted in All Shops in Iran?
Almost all stores and shops in Iran accept tourist cards. It is highly recommended to change your password as soon as you receive your card from the bank through the ATM.
Iran with Two Currencies, Rial or Toman?
The currency is probably the most confusing thing when you visit Iran. The official unit of currency is the Iranian Rial, (IRR) but in everyday life people use Tomans. The money itself is the same one but the value varies. Toman is simply one tenth of the Rial price. To make it even more complicated even toman can have different value. Sometimes 1 toman is 10 rials and sometimes it’s 10.000 rials– it all depends on the person you’re talking to.
Prices written on the items in the bazaars, stores, or restaurants could be in Toman or Rial. So if you are not sure about the price, ask the shopkeeper whether the price is in Rial or Toman.
Currency Rate in Iran
Since IRAN has entered a recession due to an increase in US sanctions, currency rate is changing rapidly; meaning that it changes hourly. Thus, do not exchange your money before leaving your country to Iran.
You can get awareness of Iran currency rate, simply from searching the Internet. Another way to know the recent currency rate, is an electric board which is hanged or fixed in an exchange store. You can rely on this Information too.
Common Banknotes and Coins in Iran
Common bank banknotes people use in Iran is published with the value of 5.000, 10.000, 20.000, 50.000, and 100.000 Rials. and coins are 500, 1.000, 2.000, 5.000 Rials.