In Iran, you need to get used to carrying a lot of cash with you! However, most international visitors from around the word who use credit card for everyday purchase may find it weird. But, the fact is that credit cards cannot be used in Iran.
Certainly, the banking system is nationalized in Iran, and, due to the international sanctions, it has few connections to the world out there; thus, MasterCard like VISA is useless in Iran, thanks to the sanctions.
Therefore, you need to take all the money you need, in cash with you on your visit to Iran, or, as an alternative, you can use Iran Tourist Cards, the new service recently provided for the tourists to Iran.
Iranviva group wants to assure you that it’s completely secure to carry cash on you in Iran, and it’s no challenge to get used to the currency differences and currency conversion in Iran.
If you need more information in this regard, don’t miss this article.
Carrying Cash in Iran
As we mentioned previously, using your credit card is not possible in Iran and you may need to carry around a large sum of cash. This might be intimidating. But, don’t worry! Iran is one of the safest countries to travel to.
You’d better carry your money with you all the time in a “secret wallet”, for instance. This way, you wouldn’t be worried anymore. There are lockers in most of the hotels, too. However, if this is not a convenient way for you, you may like to use Iran tourist cards.
Iran Tourist Cards
To solve this problem, a new service has been provided for tourists to Iran to pay by a debit card, called tourist card, instead of a credit card.
It is a prepaid debit card you can recharge everywhere anytime. You can do it either online or by a POS terminal or an ATM with no additional fee.
Iranviva will help you to get your Iran tourist card with no problem.
Currency Exchange in Iran
It’s not possible for tourists to buy the Iranian currency, rials, from other countries, so you need to bring your money in cash, either in euros or in dollars before travelling to Iran. In Iran, you can exchange your money easily in all the exchange offices. Just be cautious! Don’t exchange your money on the street. It is illegal.
There is an exchange office on the first floor of Imam Khomeini Airport (IKA) in Tehran; you can exchange your money there on your arrival. It’s open 24 hours a day. Many moneychangers are also found downtown, on Ferdowsi Street, or on Valiasr Street, near Tajrish Square. However, these shops are closed during the weekends, on Thursdays and Fridays. It’s no challenge to find exchange offices in all big cities of Iran. Due to the instability of the currency rate in Iran, you’d better check the precise exchange rate online before exchanging your money to rials.
Iran Currency, Tomans vs. Rials
While the official currency of Iran is the Rial, Iranians use the monetary unit “Toman” in everyday life, the colloquially used term which is equivalent to 10 Rials. For example, a 20,000-rial bottle of water is about 2,000 tomans. Also, in spoken language it is 2 tomans, just removing the “thousand!
Let’s have a look at this example:
When the seller asks you for 10 tomans, he means 10,000 tomans which equals to 100,000 rials. Or, when something costs 95000 rials or 9500 tomans, they may say it’s nine and five hundred or nine and a half!
Managing Your Budget While Visiting Iran
Before travelling to Iran, you need to know how much you should budget for your trip. Due to the fluctuations of prices in Iran, it is difficult to manage your budget on your trip to Iran. Travelling expenses fall into 5 categories: accommodation, food & drinks, transport, activities and “others”.
Cost of Accommodation in Iran:
- 4-5 star hotels per night: 50€-100€ per night
- 2-3 star hotels: 30€ or less per night
- Hostels: from 4€ for a bed in a shared room up to 40€ for a private family room
Cost of food in Iran:
- In a luxurious restaurant: not more than 20€ per person
- In an average sit-down restaurant an average sit-down restaurant: about 7-10€
- In a fast food restaurant: around 3€ at most
- A cup of coffee: not more than 1.5€
- A bottle of water: 10 cent
- Fruits and vegetables: so cheap that you can buy them in kilos
Cost of Transportation in Iran:
- Domestic flights: 7€ Tomans to 35€
- VIP Buses: 4-10 trips, one-way tickets 2-4€ up to 10-13€
- Taxi in Tehran: 1-3€
- Metro: 30 cents for a one-way ticket
Cost of entrance fees in Iran:
- Most of the main tourist attractions in Iran cost about 2-7€. These costs might be higher for the foreigners.
To sum up, here are some tips about money and currency of Iran, you need to know on your trip to Iran:
- You can’t use your credit card in Iran, so you need to bring your whole budget in cash or use a Tourist Card as a safer and more convenient alternative.
- Euros and Dollars are by far the best currency you can take to Iran because they are much easier to be converted to the Iranian currency.
- Iran is one of the safest countries to travel to, so don’t worry about carrying large amounts of money while visiting Iran.
- Finally, get a little bit more familiar with the currency in Iran used in everyday life.