Romania is largely a cash economy. While an increasing number of businesses do accept credit cards, it may be safer to use cash due to the risk of credit card fraud.
Romania’s currency is Leu (plural “Lei” – pronunciation: lay). Abbreviation: RON
Banknote denominations: 1, 5, 10, 50, 100, 200 and 500 lei
Coins: 1, 5, 10 and 50 bani pieces. (pronunciation: bahnee) 1 leu = 100 bani
Foreign currencies may be exchanged at banks or authorized exchange offices (called: “casa de schimb” or “birou de schimb valutar”). International airports and larger hotels also offer currency exchange services.
Romanian currency cannot be purchased or sold outside of Romania’s national borders.
Click here to see the Coins and notes in circulation.
ATM machines are available at main banks and at airports and shopping centres. There are very, very few ATMs in remote areas or villages.
Major credit cards are accepted in large hotels, car rental companies and stores in the main cities. However, credit cards are unlikely to prove useful in small towns or away from tourist areas.
Preferably in US dollars or Euros, Travelers’ Checks can be cashed in large banks, some hotels and selected exchange offices but most of them charge considerable commissions.
Do not count on cashing such checks outside Bucharest and a few other major cities. For travel around the country it is a good idea to carry cash.
Small stores and restaurants might accept EURO and U.S. Dollars in small denominations ($ 1, 5, 10 and 20) but the exchange rate offered will not be the best. Street handicraft vendors prefer Romanian currency.
Currency exchange Tips
Cash (US Dollars) and Euros (EURO) can be easily exchanged at any bank or Currency Exchange Office (Casa de Schimb ).
Please note that exchange rates offered by the exchange offices at the airport are quite bad (10% to 25% less than the official rate).
Taxi drivers serving the airport will probably accept US Dollars but most stores in Romania will only accept lei.