The currency of Iraqi Kurdistan
First introduced in 1932, the Iraqi dinar replaced the Indian Rupee which was the official currency of the country under British rule during world war one. Originally pegged with the British pound, the Iraqi Dinar switched to peg the US Dollar in 1959.
After Saddam Hussein was ousted from office in 2003, new Iraqi dinar coins and notes were introduced to create a single unified currency. The new notes and coins were produced by the British and shipped by the trillions to Iraq.
Despite claiming independence from Iraq in 2007, Kurdistan continues to use the Iraqi Dinar, however, USD is also widely accepted in the region.
What is the exchange rate of the Iraqi Dinar?
The current official exchange rate stands at around $1 = 1200 IQD. However, this rate fluctuates massively on the ground depending on availability and in which region of Kurdistan you are. You can exchange your money at local banks, or alternatively plenty of local vendors will be more than happy to exchange your USD and Euros into Iraqi Dinar.
What are the denominations of the Iraqi Dinar?
The Iraqi Dinar has quite a healthy variety of denominations. The Iraqi Dinar notes come in denominations of 50, 100, 250, 500, 1,000, 5,000, 10,000 and 25,000 dinar, while the coins come in 25, 50 and 100 dinar.
The artwork on the notes include the Mustansiriya Madrasah building in Baghdad, the Great Mosque of Samarra and the Great Mosque of al-Nuri in Mosul.
Can I use debit and credit cards in Iraqi Kurdistan?
Cash is king, unfortunately. Outside of the bigger hotels, you’ll find it pretty tough to find any stores or restaurants that will accept cards. Your best bet would be bringing all the cash you’ll need for your trip with you beforehand. ATM’s are pretty scarce in Kurdistan, and occasionally the servers will be down so it won’t be possible to withdraw any money.
If you’re finding it difficult to get your hands on some Iraqi Dinar, bringing USD will not be a problem as it’s also widely accepted and can be exchanged relatively easily.
So in conclusion?
If you’re planning a trip to Iraqi Kurdistan, remember to bring in plenty of USD or Iraqi Dinar with you beforehand otherwise you’ll find it pretty difficult to get around. You’ll have no trouble exchanging your money in Erbil before heading out to discover what else the region holds.
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