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Money & costs


Tehran has perhaps the greatest concentration of bank branches of any city on earth; along or just off a 1.5km stretch of Enqelab Ave there are more than 20 branches! Unfortunately, few of these can change your money and none deal with credit cards or travellers cheques.

Instead, the easiest and most common way of changing money is in an official moneychanging shop around Ferdosi Sq or on Ferdosi St south of there. They won’t smile, but neither (usually) will they rip you off and it’s all done in about 30 seconds.

Chances are you’ll be asked to ‘change’ on the street before you ever reach an official shop. If you’re desperate, this is convenient. But if not, the street changers are best avoided unless you know the rates and count your money carefully – both their rates and their mathematical skills are dodgy.

If you must use a bank, the following branches will help, or look for an ‘exchange’ sign in the window of any other branch. Banks open from 7.30am to 1.30pm but don’t change before 9am; the process is tedious (don’t forget your passport).

As usual, hotels and their diabolical rates will be your last resort, though some top-end places have attached bank branches; Homa Hotel is one, and they might be able to change travellers cheques if you’re desperate.

Bank Melli (Shariati St, Elahiyeh) If you’re in the far north.

Bank Melli Central Branch (Bank Melli Markazi; Ferdosi St) If you’ve run out of cash, speak to these people about getting a transfer from home.

Bank Tejarat (Nejatollahi St) Handy to Iran Air and the travel agencies.

Melli Iran Exchange (6670 0924; Ferdosi St) Beside Bank Melli Markazi (Central Branch), the most official of the exchange shops.