Currency, Credit Cards and Changing Money in Sri Lanka

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If you're planning a holiday in Sri Lanka, this is what you need to know about currency, cash and credit cards.

Sri Lanka's official currency is the Sri Lankan Rupee. Bank notes come in denominations of 5000, 2000, 1000, 500, 200, 100, 50, 20 and 10 rupees, and coins come in denominations of 1, 2, 5, and 10 rupees.

Taking cash and cards to Sri Lanka
It is not possible to obtain Sri Lankan Rupees outside Sri Lanka and to get cash you will have to either change UK pounds or US dollars when you arrive or visit an ATM. ATMs are readily available in the larger towns and cities and accept most major western cards, but if you are heading to somewhere more remote please make sure that you take enough cash with you. Do bear in mind that most ATMs will charge around 3% for cash withdrawals.

Best pre-paid Cards for Sri Lanka
Prepaid credit cards are now the safest way to travel with money, and are much more cost effective and convenient than Travellers Cheques (which are slowly becoming obsolete). We recommend the Caxton FX Global Traveller card which offers a fixed exchange rate at 2.75% below the prevailing interbank rate when spending overseas and withdrawing local currency from ATMs. Unlike credit cards the application process is straightforward, but you need to allow 7 days for delivery of the card. 

Using credit cards in Sri Lanka
If you travel regularly it will pay to apply for one of the specialist credit cards for travellers that offer excellent rates of exchange and charge zero "load" fees when purchasing items, or withdrawing local currency from ATMs whilst abroad. For up to date information on the best specialist credit cards for travellers we suggest visiting one of the price comparison websites.

See our full range of tours of Sri Lanka. To discuss your travel needs, you can complete an enquiry form or call our Asia experts on 020 7720 9285.