Tips for Cash and Credit Cards In Iran

Iranian Rials:

Cash and credit cards in Iran is one of the most challenging issues for traveler in Iran. Iranian Rial is a little confusing for foreigners especially for those traveling to Iran for the first time.  first of all, there are two expressions for Iranian currency, one is the official one which is called “Rial”, the other one is informal expression of the Iranian currency which is “Toman” or “Tuman”.  During Qajar dynasty (1789-1925), by introducing banknotes, Toman became the official currency of Iran but during Pahlavi dynasty (1925-1979) Reza Shah the first of Pahlavi started huge reforms on Iranian society and economy, Iranian currency of course was one of the first things that he changed. So, Rial (originally from Spanish Real) became Iran’s official currency in 1929 but local businesses didn’t like it and they continued to express currency as Toman. so, unofficially, every 10 Rials became 1 Toman since then.

Toman or rial ?

Although today Toman is not Iran’s official currency but still every 10 Rials is considered as 1 Toman. Nowadays, 10 Rials is too small and you will not find anything worth than 10 Rials!  In official transactions, online purchases and price tags on any product you will see the amount in Rials. But if you are going to take a taxi, the taxi driver will tell you the rate in Toman. But how you can understand the difference between Toman and Rial and how you can convert them?  the easiest way to convert Rial to Toman is that every time you see a banknote or a price tag in Rls (Rial) you just need to divide that number to 10 or in the other words, you need to remove one zero from a note to convert it from Rial to Toman.
But remember! Whenever you want to buy something or pay someone, always ask: Is this price in Toman or in Rial?

credit cards in Iran

Well, because of US sanctions Iran is disconnected from international credit systems. so, you cannot use any sort of international credit cards within Iranian borders. So the cash is the only option you have right now. You can easily exchange in the airport or in official exchange offices in each city. Exchange is illegal in black market, so please make sure you are exchanging in an exchange office, not with black market dealers in the street. Black market dealers might even offer you a very tempting rate to exchange, but there is always a huge risk of exchanging your currency with fake money. In every city you can find lots of exchange offices, especially when you are travelling to big cities like Tehran, Shiraz or Isfahan.

Exchange rates

since credit cards in Iran are not working, you need to bring cash with you. Currently there are two different exchange rates in Iran, one rate applies to official governmental transactions and the other one is exchange office rates. In reality you have nothing to do with official exchange rate (in the banks) which is far less than exchange offices rates. The reason for two different exchange rates is Iranian government subsidizing imports by a very low exchange rate. However, government recognize official exchange rates based on import exchange rates. Also if you are using international exchange rate website, you’ll see that Iran’s official exchange rates have been set based on import exchange rates. There are couple of website like Bonbast.com or Sarafibazar.com which gives you live exchange rates in Toman

which currency is better to exchange in Iran

USD and Euro are the most popular curries in Iran. however, other currencies like GBP, Turkish Lira, Canadian Dollar are possible to exchange in exchange offices.

How much cash you need to bring for your trip to Iran

Well it’s a million-dollar question! it is completely depending on your tour package. Our tour packages are all-inclusive tour packages so our travelers do not need to bring extra money with them to Iran. we cover almost every expenses during your tip in Iran so the only reason you might probably bring money with you is to buy souvenirs or extra food or beverages. So to give you an approximate estimation, we prepared a sample price list for some famous handicrafts.

Please remember these are not the exact prices and the artist may offer a different price based on the dimension, weight and also skills used for that handicraft:

credit cards in Iran

Khatam Kari, Isfahan. Small Khatam Box $10

credit cards in Iran

Turquoise inlaying (Firuzehkoobi/ Firouzeh Koobi) for a normal size pot: $120

Mina Kari

Minakari (Metal Enameling / Enamel-ware / Vitreous enamel) for a normal size plate: $12

Persian Hand-Made Carpet

Persian handmade 8.5 square-meter carpet, silk: $8500

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