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  4. Money in the Maldives: what currency is in circulation, where to change and other important issues

With what currency should you go to the paradise islands and how much should you take with you? All the monetary nuances of the Maldives that you need to know when going to the paradise islands.

What is the currency in the Maldives

Maldivian rufiyaa is the name of the currency in the Maldives. Its international designation is MVR. These are paper banknotes of various denominations. The approximate rate is 15 rufiyaa for 1 dollar. Local laari coins are also in use. The export and import of Maldivian money is prohibited.

What Maldivian money looks like

Maldivian rufiyaas are vibrant reds, greens and blue bills emblazoned with exotic fish, boats and the ocean. They were released in 1966: it was then that the island state declared its independence. Before that, British pounds were in use. The name comes from the Indian rupee: the closest neighbor has always had a significant impact on the Maldives.

The obverse of all old-style banknotes issued in the 80s and 90s is the same. On it flaunts a sailing ship, a palm tree and two shells. By the way, earlier it was shells that were used as payment means in the Maldives. But on the reverse side, the illustrations are different. And everywhere there is a connection with the ocean. It can be a seaport, exotic fish, a fishing market, a village.


What banknotes are in circulation

Maldivian banknotes are very interesting and differ from banknotes of other countries in their maritime theme. For a long time, the following banknotes were in circulation:

5 rufiyaa (magenta), 10 (orange), 20 (pink), 50 (blue), 100 (green), 500 (red-brown).

Since 2016, banknotes have been gradually replaced with new ones, so both old and new rufiyaas are in use. On the new rufiyaa there are other images:

  • 5 rufiyaa - gray-red. On the front side there is a fish, football, dancing. And the shell is on the back.
  • 10 rufiyaa - yellow-brown color, drumming is depicted on the obverse. And the drum is on the back.
  • 20 rufiyaa depicts an airplane and airport, and on the reverse side is a traditional Maldivian dhoni boat.
  • 50 rufiyaa - green. On the front side there is a boat launch and a boy reading the Koran. On the reverse side there is a minaret.
  • 100 rufiyaa is a red banknote depicting Maldivians in traditional dress.
  • 500 rufiyaa - orange, woodcarving on the obverse and a traditional Maldivian vase on the back.
  • 1000 rufiyaa is a blue denomination with a manta ray and a green turtle and a whale shark on the back.

1 rufiyaa consists of 100 coins: laari. These are bargaining chips that are also used throughout the country.

Laari coins are issued in denominations:

  • 1 (depicts a coconut tree),
  • 2 (palm tree with flags - the state emblem of the Maldives),
  • 5 (tuna),
  • 10 (Maldivian boats),
  • 25 (minaret),
  • 50 (turtle).

The 5 and 10 denominations have a wave-like outline that resembles shells. Coins from one to 10 laari are made of aluminum. And everything above is an alloy of nickel, copper and bronze.


What currency to go to the Maldives with

You can safely go to the Maldives with dollars: they will be gladly accepted at the resorts. Therefore, it makes no sense to change the currency for a trip to the resort island. Dollars are accepted everywhere, and prices are usually given to tourists in foreign currency, not rufiyaa.

On the local islands, dollars are also accepted almost everywhere: hotels, cafes, restaurants, excursions, souvenir shops. But it is still more profitable to pay in ruffies. You can even expect to get change in large dollar bills. But with small change in the markets can give rufiyaa.

Currency exchange in the Maldives

Money can be exchanged only upon arrival. This is easy to do at exchange offices. You can also exchange currency both at banks and in shops or at the airport.

It is best to exchange money in the capital's banks: the exchange rate is more pleasant than on the islands or at the airport.

Bank offices are open from 8:00 to 13:00, with the exception of Friday, which is a national holiday.


Using bank cards: withdrawal and payment

Payment by card in the Maldives is common. All hotel services can be paid with “plastic”: they are always accepted in hotels and restaurants. To prevent the card from being blocked in the Maldives, before the trip, it is worth writing to the bank's online support and informing about the upcoming trip.

  • You can safely pay with cards of popular payment systems. International plastic systems such as MasterCard, Visa, American Express operate in the Maldives. This must be taken into account if you are using other systems.
  • You can pay the bill just with your smartphone.
  • When, when paying by card, the question arises: in what currency to convert - in local or in dollars, it is better to choose dollars.
  • It is optimal to use a bank card with a foreign currency account abroad. In this case, payment will go from a dollar account, without unnecessary conversions.
  • Bank cards are accepted everywhere, in most stores. But, for example, it is 20% more profitable to pay for purchases in duty-free or in some spas in cash.
  • Be sure to take cash with you: if they suddenly block a large amount on the card, "real" money will save you on the trip.
  • It is worth taking two cards on a trip: a debit and a credit one. Better from different banks. Traveler's checks are also popular in the Maldives.

Cash withdrawal from ATM

You can always withdraw money from ATMs. But for cashing out, they take a double commission: both the bank of the Maldives and the bank that issued the card. On average, withdrawal commission is about $ 6. But a lot depends on your bank. The ATM will issue only rufiyaa: the ATM will not issue dollars. Better to withdraw money upon arrival at the airport.

On the large local islands, such as Maafushi, there are, of course, ATMs. But not always. It should be borne in mind that not all islands have an ATM. This should be checked with the hotel.

Receiving transfers

Banks in the Maldives can withdraw cash, send a money order or exchange currency. As a rule, they are all concentrated in the capital of the Maldives, Male, and work until 13:00.

Banks in Maldives:

Bank of Maldives is one of the largest banks. There are about 20 branches located in Male and the main atolls.

Location: 1st Floor, Bank of Maldives Building, 11 Boduthakurufaanu Magu, Male 20094

Phone: + (960 333) 01-44


Bank of Ceylon

Location: H, Aage, 12 Boduthakurufaanu Magu, Male 20094

Phone: + (960 332) 30-46


Maldives Islamic Bank

Location: H. Coconut Villa, Ameeru Ahmed Magu, Male

Phone: + (960 332) 55-55


State Bank of India

Location: H. Sunleet, Ground Flr, Boduthakurufaanu Magu, Male

Phone: + (960 332) 30-52

You can receive money orders from overseas at some banks and at the Maldivian Post Office. For this, the MoneyGram or Xpress Money service is provided.

Where to get it: American Express

Location: Universal Building, Orchid Magu, Male

Phone: + (960 331) 79-25

Western Union

Location: Villa Travels & Tours Building, Boduthakurufaanu Magu, Male

Phone: + (960 333) 00-88


Features of circulation of local money

During the exchange of rufiyaa, it is imperative to keep the receipt. If you want to exchange back the remaining rufiyaa for dollars or euros, the bank may refuse if there is no check. In this case, it will not be possible to prove the legality of the acquisition of Maldivian money. It is better not to change a large amount.

How much money do you need to take with you to the Maldives

If you are flying to the resort island on a "package tour" and have already paid for the transfer and meals, you should not take large sums with you.

By the way: you can choose and book a villa in the Maldives here.
  • The minimum cost per person in the Maldives, according to local laws, is $ 25 per day. They can even be checked upon entry. But if you go to a hotel in the Maldives on the "All Inclusive" system, you should additionally grab no more than $ 400-500 per person for 10 days.
  • If you have to pay extra for food, then take at least $ 1000 with you. And if you plan to actively visit excursions and spas, then you should take $ 3000 per person with you.
  • Sometimes hotels can block a certain amount in your account. The cost of additional services will then be deducted from it. The temporarily "frozen" amount can be quite significant: $ 800-2000.
  • Tipping in the Maldives is not encouraged by the local government. But you can leave a couple of dollars to the waiter or hotel staff. Tipping is accepted at a rate of 10-12%. They are already included in the final receipt at the restaurant or hotel. Hotel tips are awaited by the maids, suitcase carriers, the butler: it is considered good form to thank them for their work. Tips can be left in any currency.


How much money can be deposited in the Maldives

The import restriction applies only to Maldivian rufiyaa. It does not apply to foreign currency: you can take with you as much money as you like. But do not forget about the rules for exporting currency from your country. As a rule, it is possible to walk along the green corridor with an amount not exceeding the equivalent of $ 10,000.

Money tips

  • It is not necessary to exchange money for rufiyaa or withdraw it from cards. In many places you can pay by card.
  • When exchanging currency, check the integrity of the notes. Because then you may not want to accept crumpled, dirty or torn banknotes.
  • Keep your receipts so that you can exchange rufiyaas for dollars when you leave the Maldives. Or you have to leave with some cash souvenirs.
  • Some massage parlors offer a discount if you pay for services in cash instead of with a credit card.
  • Do not carry PIN codes in your wallet with bank cards. Do not change a lot of money at once.
  • Better to have two currencies: dollars and a little rufiyaa.
  • Ruffies will be needed on local islands.
  • On the resort islands, you don't need ruffies. Dollars are enough.

There are no monetary difficulties in the Maldives: just take your card and dollars with you to feel comfortable in a tropical paradise.




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