ATMs (cash points) are widely available. Credit cards are widely accepted in hotels and restaurants.

ATMs

ATMs are everywhere and give 24-hour withdrawals in lei with a variety of international bank cards, including Visa and MasterCard.

  • Romanian ATMs require a four-digit PIN.
  • Before leaving home, inform your bank where you're going, so the card security company does not (protectively) block your card once your Romanian transactions start coming through.

Credit Cards

International credit and debit cards, including Visa and MasterCard, are widely accepted at hotels, restaurants and shops in cities and large towns. In rural areas, you'll sometimes need to pay with cash.

  • American Express cards are typically accepted at larger hotels and restaurants, though they are not as widely recognised as other cards.
  • Credit- and debit-card transactions often require a PIN, so it's best to work the details out with your bank prior to departure.
  • You will need to have a valid credit card to hire a car.
  • Credit cards can be used to get cash advances at most banks.

Currency

The Romanian currency is the leu (plural: lei), listed in some banks and currency exchange offices as RON. One leu is divided into 100 bani. Banknotes come in denominations of 1 leu, 5 lei,10 lei, 50 lei, 100 lei, 200 lei and 500 lei. The coins come in 50 bani and relatively useless 10 bani pieces.

  • The leu is a stable currency that has more or less held its own with respect to the euro and US dollar in recent years.
  • Despite the fact that Romania is a member of the EU, the euro does not circulate. There is little point in converting your money into euro prior to arrival, since you will have to convert it to lei anyway.
  • Some large hotels may quote rates in euro, but this is done for the convenience of international travellers. Hotel bills paid for with a debit or credit card will be charged in lei at the prevailing exchange rate.
  • Try to keep small-denomination (1 leu and 5 lei) notes on hand for shops, transport tickets, cafes and tips for waiters. Using the 200 lei notes that ATMs often spit out can be difficult in practice.

Exchange Rates

AustraliaA$12.91 lei
CanadaC$13.06 lei
Europe€14.64 lei
Japan¥1003.57 lei
New ZealandNZ$12.66 lei
UK£15.11 lei
USAUS$13.96 lei

For current exchange rates see www.xe.com.

Money Changers

The best place to exchange money is at a bank. You'll pay a small commission, but get a decent rate.

You can also change money at a private exchange booth (casa de schimb) but be wary of commission charges and always ask how many lei you will receive before handing over your bills.

You will usually need to show a passport to change money, so always have it handy.

Never change money on the street with strangers; it's almost always a rip-off.

Tipping

  • Restaurants Tip 10% of the bill to reward good service.
  • Taxis Drivers won't expect a tip, but it's fine to round the fare up to reward special service.
  • Hotels Tip cleaning staff 3 to 5 lei per night or 20 lei per week to reward good service. In luxury hotels, tip doormen and concierges 5 to 10 lei for special assistance as warranted.
  • Personal services Tip hairdressers and other services around 10%.