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Currency Exchange in Tunisia


Page update - Jan 8, 2023

In Tunisia, only the local currency, the Tunisian dinar, is officially allowed. Hotels are allowed to accept foreign currency for payment. Some stores and restaurants accept dollars and euros, despite the ban. However, the vast majority of tourists are forced to exchange euros and dollars for Tunisian dinars.

All the nuances of currency exchange will be discussed in detail on this page. All figures in this review were updated in January 2023. The currency itself (banknotes, coins, features) has already been described in detail in our review "Money in Tunisia".

Laws and currency control in Tunisia

All rules concerning money regulation and exchange in Tunisia are specified in the laws №76-18 from January 21, 1976 and №94-41 from March 7, 1994. These documents are available in French on the official website of the Central Bank of Tunisia - http://www.bct.gov.tn/. If you want, you may read them.

Tunisia has a very strict currency control system. For example, Tunisian citizens are not allowed to exchange any amount of currency. They are only allowed to exchange 6,000 dinars a year for a vacation abroad or 3,000 dinars can be exchanged for a child under the age of 10 (Circular of the Central Bank 2016-10).

Tourists face their own restrictions, which are detailed below.

The purpose of these strict controls is to prevent the export of capital obtained illegally. The Tunisian authorities want to prevent from leaving the country money obtained from drugs dealing, smuggling, and counterfeiting.

Where to exchange US dollars, Euros, UK pounds into dinars

Currency can be exchanged at banks, exchange offices, post offices. Large hotels have their own exchange branches.

The Central Bank of Tunisia publishes the official exchange rate every day. This rate is used by all institutions, but the difference between the purchase price and the sale price may be different.

These exchange rates:


Exchange rates at 02.03.2024

1 Tunisian dinar = 0,3211 US dollar
1 Tunisian dinar = 0,2537 UK pound
1 Tunisian dinar = 0,2964 EURO
1 Tunisian dinar = 0,4355 CAN dollar
1 Tunisian dinar = 0,4919 AUS dollar
1 Tunisian dinar = 0,5259 NZ dollar
1 Tunisian dinar = 26,6070 IND rupee
1 Tunisian dinar = 0,2837 Swiss francs
1 Tunisian dinar = 2,2835 Chinese yuan
1 Tunisian dinar = 48,2290 Japanese yen

1 US dollar = 3,1143 Tunisian dinar
1 UK pound = 3,9417 Tunisian dinar
1 EURO = 3,3738 Tunisian dinar
1 CAN dollar = 2,2962 Tunisian dinar
1 AUS dollar = 2,0329 Tunisian dinar
1 NZ dollar = 1,9015 Tunisian dinar
1 IND rupee = 0,0376 Tunisian dinar
1 Swiss francs = 3,5249 Tunisian dinar
1 Chinese yuan = 0,4379 Tunisian dinar
1 Japanese yen = 0,0207 Tunisian dinar

The rule is simple! Watch the difference between the buy and sell (bid and ask) price. If it does not exceed 3%, you should feel free, it is a good exchange rate. If it is more than 3%, look for a better exchange.

Unfortunately! Exchange offices in Tunisia do not always publish two rates (sell and buy). That is, the exchange offices often only publish one rate which is the buying rate for the dinar. Be mentally prepared for that. In that case, you need to compare the exchange rate at the office with the official one. If the difference is no more than 1.5%, the exchange rate is good.

You will need your passport to exchange at a bank or post office. Hotel exchange offices will only ask for your room number. If there is no exchange office at your hotel, go to a nearby large hotel and exchange money with your passport. When you enter neighboring hotel, say the word "exchange", and security will let you through and show you the exchange office.

Exchange offices can also be found on streets. Look for the signs "CHANGE" or "EXCHANGE". See the photo near for what it might look like, click on the photo to enlarge.

It's worth mentioning the exchange offices at Tunisia's airports, where the rates are quite reasonable. You can exchange for a small amount of dinars right away to pay for a taxi or public transport, or to buy drinks or snacks. About the actual taxi fares, read our in-depth review "Taxi fares in Tunisia".

Attention! Currency exchange between individuals in Tunisia is a criminal offense. The penalty is imprisonment for up to 3 years or a heavy fine.

Banks

Banks in Tunisia operate on a short timetable. From 8 am to 12 pm noon (8-00 to 12-00), then a break, and from 2 pm to 4-30 pm (14-00 to 16-30). Of course, not all banks work according to this schedule, but this schedule may be called typical for Tunisian banks. Saturday and Sunday are days off. During Ramadan, the banks are usually open from 8 am to 11-30 am (8-00 to 11-30). See the Ramadan calendar in our review "Ramadan in Tunisia".

The exchange offices in hotels are usually open from 9 am to 6 pm (9-00 to 18-00), without break and without days off.

Reverse exchange

Tunisian dinars are strictly prohibited from taking out of Tunisia and bringing into Tunisia. Tourists must either spend all dinars or exchange them back into dollars or euros.

Important! Be sure to keep currency exchange receipts in Tunisia or receipts for cash from ATMs. It is possible to make a reverse exchange only on presentation of a direct exchange cheque. See the photo near for how such a receipt looks like, click on the photo to enlarge.

The maximum amount for a return exchange is 6,000 Tunisian dinars per person.

We recommend that you be careful not to change large amounts at once. Change money as needed and in small amounts. If you want to make a large purchase, such as a carpet or jewelry, have the money ready in non-cash form.

All shops that sell expensive goods accept plastic cards. If a jewelry shop doesn't accept plastic cards, it should raise suspicion. Of course, if you pay by card, you will lose money on conversion, but the loss is small. Check with the bank where you received the card for the exact amount of interest.

Plastic cards

In Tunisia, major shops accept Visa and MasterCard. Other card types are rarely accepted in Tunisia.

In the cities, there are ATMs where you can cash out plastic cards, but there are nuances. Firstly, you will receive only Tunisian dinars. Secondly, there is a commission fee for money transfer, which you have to check with your bank. Thirdly, remember that some banks often block transactions abroad suspecting fraud. If you plan to withdraw money or pay by card, we recommend you informing your bank about the trip abroad.

It's better to take cash dollars or euros to Tunisia. It's more profitable and there are fewer potential problems.

Exchange of large sums

If you exchange over the equivalent of 25,000 Tunisian dinars at the bank, the bank officer will require a stamp in your passport declaring the money at the customs. Be sure to declare large amounts when entering the country.

Sending money by Western Union

An interesting way for some tourists to bring money into another country is to send money by express transfer to themselves. Western Union is the most widespread way to do this.

You can get money by Western Union in Tunisia at post offices, banks AMEN, Attijari, BIAT, UIB, or UBCI. The important point is that this money will not be automatically declared as in the case of a bank transfer.

Important to know

- What exactly do tourists like to buy with exchanged dinars? Read our detailed review "16 best gifts from Tunisia".

Have a good relation with Tunisian money, and read our useful reviews about vacation in this country (see the pages list below).

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