Morocco Travel Information: Moroccan Currency, Buying Dirhams for Your Morocco Vacation
The Moroccan currency is called the “dirham.” Although some travelers find Moroccan currency confusing, with a little effort it is easy to understand. The dirham is divided into one hundred centimes (c). Please be aware that centimes may also be referred to as francs or pesetas in certain parts of the country.
Centimes exchange hands at market places more often than dirhams. This money is available in 10c, 20c, 50c, 1dh, 5dh, 10dh (all coins) and 10dh, 20dh, 50dh, 100dh and 200dh (all notes).
If you are bargaining for an item when traveling to Morocco, it is usually best to find out exactly how many dirhams or centimes the seller is marketing his goods for. While foreign currency is accepted you will get the best exchange rate using the dirham.
If you hear the term rials or reales used don’t be concerned as these terms are another often used to discussion the currency and are broken down from centimes. The rial is used as a monetary expression mainly by those living in traditional Berber villages rather than a monetary unit and therefore has no set standard.Prior to the dirham being utilized the rial was the Moroccan currency in villages. In most regions of Morocco, twenty rials make up one dirham, however, in Tangier and the Rif, only two rials are needed to make a Dirham.
Buying Moroccan Dirhams For Your Morocco Vacation
You will not experience any problems when changing money during your travels in Morocco since the banks all operate with equal exchange rates and without commission. Exchange rates are set around midday on Fridays.
In Morocco- places to purchase dirhams include the airports, most major seaport stations and ATM machines. Another option is to exchange money at a travel agency in Morocco. If you do this make sure to shop around as some agents offer better rates than others.
Outside Morocco- you can pre-order dirhams at your bank, before embarking at your country’s airport, or if you are traveling from Algeciras or Gibraltar Spain there are places to purchase Moroccan dirhams there.
Travelers Checks In Morocco
Traveler’s checks in Morocco are discouraged in case things go wrong because they can only be exchanged at a bank when it is open. Since you never know where or what time of the day an emergency can strike, travelers checks are not highly recommended when traveling within Morocco.
Credit Cards & Debit Cards In Morocco, For Your Morocco Vacation
Credit card companies or your bank (if you use a debit card) should be notified to the dates of your travels to Morocco so your card will not be declined abroad. It’s also a good idea to make sure that your pin number will work abroad in Morocco. You may also want to photo copy any credit cards you will take on your trip and leave copies of them with a friend or family member as well as find out an international calling number for your bank in case your credit cards get stolen.
Line of Credit In Morocco
In order to get a line of credit from your credit card you will need to have a secret PIN number created. If an emergency line of credit is something you want access to, you must contact your credit card company within at least a few weeks prior to your trip and request they send you a pin number. Since your pin number can only be sent to your home, you must be able to receive mail or have someone communicate the secret number to you.
Check Currency & Exchange Rates In Morocco
Although Morocco’s economy is relatively stable, it is a good idea to check the exchange rate before you go. As of October 1st 2008, the International exchange rates were:
US $1 = 9.40 dirhams 100 dirhams = US $15.00
CAD $1 = 7.10 dirhams 100 dirhams = CAD $14.07
€ 1= 11.27 dirhams 100 dirhams =€ 8.87
£ 1 = 17.7 dirhams 100 dirham = £ 7.05
To determine the latest exchange rate between your country’s currency and Morocco’s dirham visit http://www.xe.com/ucc/
Currency: Money and Banks In Morocco
The unit of currency is the Moroccan Dirham (DH) divided into 100 centimes. There are 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 DH notes; 1, 5 and 10 DH coins and 5, 10, 20 and 50 centime coins.
You can only obtain Dirhams in Morocco or (Spain) and Gibraltar, and can usually change foreign notes on arrival at major sea- and airports.
Itcan be difficult to change travelers’ checks anywhere but a bank. Travelers’ cheques incur a 10.70dh commission except at the state-run Bank al-Maghrib. Do not change money in the streets, it is illegal.
The best place to change it is at a bank or approved exchange office (indicated by a golden sign). For exchange purposes, the most useful and efficient chain of banks is the BMCE (Banque Marocaine du Commerce Extérieur). No commission is charged and you will be given a slip which will be required at the end of your stay to change any remaining Dirhams back into the original currency. Post offices will also change cash.
You can withdraw money in banks with a credit card and a check book, or directly from a cash dispenser in some large towns. Credit cards are generally accepted in major hotels, shops and restaurants, and sometimes even in the souks. Many banks give cash advances on credit cards, which can also be used in tourist hotels (but not cheap unclassified ones) and the ATMs of major banks.
Banking hours are: summer Mon– Fri 8am–2pm; winter Mon– Thurs 8.15–11.30am & 2.15–4.30pm, Fri 8.15–11.15am & 2.45–4.45pm. During the holy month of Ramadan, banks open Mon– Fri 9am–2pm. Morocco is inexpensive and relatively poor therefore tips can make a lot of difference; it’s customary to tip café waiters a dirham or two.
Before traveling to Morocco it is important to know how money is exchanged there and what the value of your countries currency is worth. If you arrive unprepared, it will be easy for shop keepers, taxi drivers and others who deal with tourists on a regular basis to take advantage and not charge you the standard cost for things you will want to purchase during your trip.
One way to become familiar with Moroccan money (dirham or DH) before arriving in Morocco is to request an order of dirham from your local bank or check the currency convertor on a major search engine like Google or Yahoo which offers updated daily bank rates. Keep in mind when choosing this route; you will be viewing the rate purchased by the banks not the rate at which you will purchase. The difference is often minimal. You do not need to arrive with Moroccan dirhams because all airports, banks and exchange places in all major cities are open from 8:30am – 4:00pm and there are also ATM machines available. Moroccans are very hospitable and will frequently accept other currencies such as the US dollar or Euro if you do not have dirhams on hand.