LET'S MEET WITH THE PERSIAN MONEY
One of things that I could easily manage in Iran was the money. The official currency is Iranian rial.1 TL is about 10,000 rials (you didn’t read wrong). Just like before our devaluation, they are generous about zeros. The harder part is that there aren’t credit cards in Iran.
Because of the economic sanctions towards Iran, any of the cards in our pockets are valid here. Neither Visa nor Master Card systems are valid in local banks. Iranian banks are under the strict preservation of the government and they are against applications like this as they are bearing interest.
However do not get it wrong. Even though we cannot see the branches of acquainted international banks, there are many bank offices in the streets. Of course they are all local. Almost all of them has debit card (what we call Cash card-Bank card) application. So it is possible to live without carrying around tones of cash. Although, I have seen a couple of men who had fat purses bursting out their back pockets. I have got over the first shock after realizing that it was probably just equal to 200-300 TL’s in my purse.
If you need an international bank (to transfer your money), I only know Halkbank (Turkish) and Bank Mellat (Iranian). But these transfers are liable to strict controls and obstacles. It is possible to send money to an individual account. I heard that some of the small enterprises may effecting their transfers this way too. Please learn how from someone else ;)
Let’s look at the purchasing value of this money;
For 90,000,000 rials (almost 3,000 USD/9,000 TL); you may rent a fully furnished beautiful apartment in a beautiful neighborhood. For 400,000-500,000 rials (15-20 USD/40-50 TL) you may eat well at a beautiful place. Or at a more modest place you may get something to eat for ½ to ¼ of that price. I will give more detailed information about purchasing power as I get more experience.
ATTENTION: Locals use “Toman” instead of Riyal which is confusing. You should especially ask if the price is Toman or Rial when you buy something. Toman is simply; the one-zero deleted version of Rial. Even though they tried to make the life easier via this application, they couldn’t keep step with the speed of inflation. I also heard that some zeros are about to get deleted from Rial. We’ll see.