You know how you go to most countries and either change money, or use your card, or an ATM to get money, well Lebanon is not like that, like at all. So, money in Lebanon, how does it work?
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Lebanon has rampant inflation
Many countries have inflation, sometimes rampant inflation, but what most do, such as Syria, or Sudan is just roll with it. Alas not in Lebanon, like a communist state they have the official rate, which they are sticking to and the black market rate, which is how people live.
To read about money in North Korea click here.
This means that people get paid in the (bad) official rate and if you use a credit card, or an ATM you get the bad rate. Again not dissimilar to good old Soviet times, except sadly without many communist bits.
Money in Lebanon – what are the exchange rates?
The official exchange rate in Lebanon is thus
$1 = 1.5 Lebanese Pounds
ACTUAL Exchange rate
$1 = 0.33 Lebanese Punds
The funny thing though is that bills still get printed with official dollar exchange rate on them. This meant an $18 bill or so getting rung up as $280 on that day, of course everyone just plays the game and no one would expect you to pay that.
Check out www.xe.com for latest exchange rates.
Money in Lebanon – Cash is king
This means that when you go to Lebanon cash is kind, particularly USD, although there are money changers everywhere who will change just about everything. I personally changed Turkish Lira with little issue, and you can change Syrian money, which is a must as their inflation means it will not be worth much when you go back.
And when we say change on the “black market”, this is not Moscow circa 1985, you do not need to find a guy with a big coat who will take you down an alley, the black market echnage rate is just an accepted part of daily life in Lebanon.
And just be grateful you are not Lebanese receiving funds from abroad, with the expensive Western Union pretty much being your only option for money transfers.
Can I use credit cards in Lebanon?
In general no you cannot and this includes apps like Uber who charge your card. Although with that being said you can use cards in more upscale establishments, who will bill you directly in USD.
And that is the story of money in Lebanon, the world might slowly being going cashless, but alas Lebanon is not one of those places right now.
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