So you’ve decided to take a trip to Iran! Afarin, as they say in Persian, which means something like, good on you!
Because Iran is a bit cut off from the international world, there are some additional considerations to ponder and decisions to make before you set out. Don’t panic, Iran’s isolation is largely diplomatic and political so unlike other countries that suffer major sanctions, in Iran, you will always be able to find decent food, healthcare, transportation, English speakers and hotels.
As well as deciding whether to pre-arrange your visa or go for a visa on arrival, you’ll need to consider how you are going to manage your money and budget.
Also, read about our top tips before going to Iran.
Accessing money in Iran
Unlike most countries in the world, Iran is all but entirely cut off from the international banking system. What does that mean? Well for locals it means if you want to get money in or out of Iran electronically, this is a huge headache. For tourists, it means that you can’t use your bank card in an Iranian ATM. Also, your Visa, MasterCard or Amex won’t work – at all, anywhere!
This leaves travelers with two options:
- Bring enough cash in EU or USD for the duration of your stay; or
- Arrange an Iranian travel debit card.
Also check out: Money and Costs: Which Budget to Travel in Iran?
Iranian travel bank card explained
The tourism sector in Iran has recognized that accessing money in Iran can be a headache. As a result, there are a number of providers who arrange short term travel debit cards (like Mah card and Daricpay) for international tourists in Iran.
The conversion rates, fees, and charges vary between providers. Chat to 1stQuest today for our recommendation on which providers you can trust.
Benefits of an Iranian travel debit card
The benefits of using a card over carrying cash are endless, especially when traveling to a new country.
Here’s a few worth mentioning:-
- Feel safer when all your cash is protected by a PIN and not in your suitcase.
- Keep track of your spending, most Iranian debit card providers will have an app that you can download and track your spending.
- Budget wisely by withdrawing a daily allowance from an Iranian ATM.
- Iranian money is super confusing – 100,000 Iranian Rials is colloquially known as 10. Errr, what? Yes, the money counting system takes a while to sink in. Use your card to avoid fumbling with banknotes.
- Worried about running out of money? Chill – you can buy that beautiful Persian rug because it is easy to recharge your travel debit card online, using your home bank account.
- Pay like a local! Because the card is the most common way to pay in Iran, oftentimes smaller shops won’t have the correct change but all shops do have an EFTPOS machine so paying with a card is always effortless.
- If you have leftover money at the end of your trip, request a refund to your home bank account.
Thinking about how to spend your time in Iran? Read our 7 days in Iran quintessential itinerary.
Can I use my credit card in Iran?
No. You can only use an Iranian bank card in Iran. In some very, very limited circumstances (e.g. some up-scale carpet merchants) you may be able to pay with PayPal/Visa/MasterCard.
Does Iran have ATMs?
Yes. There are ATMs everywhere. You won’t have trouble finding one and there aren’t any bank fees for using another bank’s ATM.
Does Iran have credit cards?
Yes, there are a number of providers who arrange short term travel debit cards (like Mah card and Daricpay) for international tourists in Iran.
What’s the conversion rate?
To confuse matters, there are two conversion rates in Iran. One is the official government rate and the other is the market rate. In most circumstances, the market rate is what you will get. Check out www.bonbast.com for today’s market conversion rate.
Looking for more information?
1stQuest can help you arrange your Iranian travel debit card. Our support team also have a bunch of other useful tips and intel on how to breeze through your Iran trip like a pro.
1stQuest also offers hotel, flight, bus, and transfer booking services. You can pre-book these services online, using secure payment gateways.
Make your travel plans a reality! Visit the 1stQuest website and have a chat with one of the support team today. Also, feel free to call 1stQuest on +372 712 0712.