The basic monetary unit in Iran is the rial. While written prices are usually given in Rial, it is very frequent when giving a price orally to do so in Toman (one toman is equal to 10 rial; 100 toman are 1,000 rial). In spring 1999, 1 US$ was worth 3750 rials at the official rate of exchange (the black market offers better rates).
US dollars cash, and traveller’s cheques in dollars and some foreign currencies (yen, Deutsch- mark, pounds sterling, Swiss francs) are generally accepted, but outside the major cities it is best to have dollars in cash. Credit cards (American Express and Visa) are increasingly accepted in the big hotels in Tehran and Isfahan, but do not rely them as your only method of payment.
The best place to change money is at the bank, although a thriving black market now exists. Branches of the major banks can be found at Tehran airport and in most of the big hotels. If you want to change your rial back when you leave the country make sure you have kept the bank exchange certificates and your customs declaration form. Banks are usually open from 9 am to 4 pm or 4.30 pm from Saturday to Wednesday, and are closed on Thursday afternoons and Friday.
Do not change too much money when you first arrive; US$150 go a long way, particularly if you are travelling with a group. If you are travelling alone, remember that most hotels will ask to be paid cash in dollars. Food and transport within the country are very cheap, and hotels will probably be your biggest expense.
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