Saturday, September 18, 2021

Money & Shopping in Iran

AsiaIranMoney & Shopping in Iran


Iran’s currency is the rial (IRR). Coins are available in denominations of 50, 100, 250, 500, 1,000, 2,000, and 5,000 rials. Banknotes are issued in denominations of 500, 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000, 50,000, and 100,000, while “Iran Cheques” are issued in quantities of 500,000 and 1,000,000.


Confusion with the money is normal for a visitor at first, not just because of the high numbers, but also because of the shorthand that is often utilized. Prices for products may be conveyed or written in toman rather than rial. One toman is worth ten rials. There are no toman notes; prices are stated as such as a convenience. If it is not apparent, provide the currency in which the price is stated.

Exchanging money

Due to the sanctions, ATMs and businesses in Iran usually do not take international (non-Iranian) cards, so carry all of your cash, preferably in US dollars or Euros.

Currency exchange agencies like banknotes in excellent shape as well as big bills ($100 or €100). Minor denominations may be helpful for making tiny purchases before visiting an exchange office, but many exchange businesses will not exchange small notes. The maximum amount that may be exchanged at night at Tehran International Airport is €50 per person.

The finest locations to convert money are the private exchange offices (sarfi) that can be found in most major towns and tourist areas. Their prices are often 20% lower than the official rates provided by banks, they are more faster and need no paperwork, and, unlike their black market counterparts, they can be tracked afterwards if anything goes wrong. Exchange offices may be located in large cities and are typically open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. from Sunday through Thursday. Please keep in mind that most are closed on Fridays and holidays. There’s no sense in putting yourself at danger by using black market moneychangers who hang around outside big banks and only provide slightly better rates than the institutions.

A list of all licensed sarraafis in the nation may be found here, in Persian (Farsi). This list contains phone numbers, addresses, license numbers, and dates.

The most often used currencies are the US dollar ($) and the euro (€). Other major currencies, such as the Australian Dollar and the Japanese Yen, are accepted by many, but not all, money changers. Non-major currencies are often not exchangeable. US$100 and big euro unfolded bills tend to get the best conversion rate, but any old or torn notes or lesser denomination notes may be given lower rates or rejected.

Foreign credit cards are only accepted by certain businesses with foreign bank accounts, such as Persian rug merchants, and they nearly always demand a fee for paying with a credit card rather than cash. Most of these shops would gladly send you some cash on your credit card together with your purchase. If you are in a need, you may try asking these businesses to extend you the same courtesy without purchasing a rug or memento, but expect to pay a charge of about 10%.

Traveller’s checks: Cashing travelers cheques may be hit-or-miss, and it is not recommended to depend on travelers cheques issued by American or European businesses.

Prepaid debit cards are available in Iranian banks and are a viable alternative to carrying huge amounts of cash throughout the nation. Check that the card you purchase has ATM withdrawal capabilities and that you are aware of the daily withdrawal limit. Because Iran’s ATM network is prone to disruptions, make sure you withdraw your full amount before leaving the country.

Bank-e Melli-ye Iran (National Bank of Iran), a government-owned bank in Iran, offers an ATM debit card service (plastic magnetic card) to visitors to the country. Tourists just need to go to the closest branch of this bank. This service’s details may be found here. Sepah Bank, also known as Bank -e- Sepah, is a governmental bank that offers a current account service for foreigners, as well as an ATM debit card and a cheque writing option. Another method to avoid having your money taken is to go to your closest bank and get a gift card (Kart-e Hadiyeh). They function just like regular ATM debit cards, except they cannot be refilled after they are depleted. The first two options are preferable. A list of Iranian banks that are authorized may be found here.

Bank-e Melli-ye Iran (BMI), Bank-e Sepah, Bank Mellat, Bank-e Saaderaat-e Iran (BSI), Bank-e Paasaargad and Bank-e Saamaan (Saamaan Bank), and Beank-e Paarsiaan all have branches outside the nation, which may be found on their websites. Before you arrive, you may establish a bank account in another country. This may be feasible in certain European nations. You may discover the URLs of these banks’ websites by utilizing popular search engines; next, click the link to the English part of their websites, which is typically indicated by the word English or the abbreviation En.’

Bazaars and bargaining

While the stores provide a broad range of high-quality products, local things may be found at the many bazaars. Hand-carved and inlaid woodwork, painted and molded copper, carpets, rugs, silks, leather products, mats, tablecloths, gold, silver, glass, and ceramics are among the items purchased. There are limitations on what things may be carried out of the nation, and many countries limit the quantity of commodities that can be brought in owing to sanctions.

When purchasing handicrafts, carpets, or large priced goods, bargain fiercely; when hailing private cabs, bargain moderately. Prices are set in most other areas of life.


Tipping is not customarily required, although locals will usually round up the cost in cabs and add about 10% in restaurants. Porters and bellboys may expect to be paid 5,000 rials. A little donation of a few thousand tomns may assist oil the gears of Iranian society while also thanking a particularly kind local.

Foreigner surcharges

You won’t be able to avoid the government-mandated dual pricing system that applies to lodging and certain tourist sites in Iran; foreigners often pay up to five times the amount given to locals. Prices, on the other hand, are often quite affordable by Western standards.


Because of the highly fluctuating currency rate and significant inflation, many guidebooks and travel companies’ projected costs are quickly out of current.

If you are willing to stay in the cheapest guesthouses, travel solely by bus, and eat only at fast food restaurants or kabbi, you may get by in Iran on a daily budget of about 500,000 rials. A more reasonable budget is about 1,000,000 rials if you want to dine at a good restaurant once in a while and stay in mid-range accomodation. You may easily spend 3,000,000 rials per day if you want to dine and sleep in luxury and travel between key attractions.