Currency, Credit Cards and Changing Money in the MaldivesBack to all travel tips
If you are planning a holiday in the Maldives, this is what you need to know about currency, cash, and credit cards.
The official currency in the Maldives is the Rufiyaa (Rf), which is divided into 100 larees. Paper notes come in denominations of 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 500 rufiyaa, although the lowest two are uncommon. Commonly circulated coins are of 10, 25 and 50 larees, and one and two-rufiyaa denominations.
Taking cash & cards to the Maldives
If you will be staying at a resort during your stay most bills are settled by credit or debit card or in US dollars rather than the local currency. ATMs are only easily found in Malé City, but all 4 and 5* resorts will accept all major credit cards.
The only time you are likely to need the local currency is if you are staying in a local guesthouse or if you are visiting Malé City and would like to purchase something from a local market or shop. However, US dollars are widely accepted. It may be useful to have some small denomination bills in the local currency or US dollars to use for tips to local guides if you are doing any excursions outside the hotel.
If you are changing money to US dollars before you depart the exchange rates on offer in the UK vary considerably, so it pays to shop around. As a general rule always avoid exchanging money at the airport unless you have pre-ordered to secure a favourable rate. The Post Office's pre-ordering service is usually competitive and convenient for collection. The Rufiyaa is considered an exotic currency by foreign exchange dealers, so it is difficult to change money outside the country.
One of the most convenient ways to get a decent exchange rate is to order your currency in advance, and then collect it from the provider's outlet, or arrange delivery. You can check the best rates available, and suitable providers, on price comparison websites such as www.moneysavingexpert.com or www.travelsupermarket.com.
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. For up-to-date information on the best specialist credit cards for travellers we suggest visiting one of the price comparison websites such as www.moneysupermarket.com or www.travelsupermarket.com.
Prepaid credit cards are now the safest way to travel with "cash", and are much more cost effective and convenient than Travellers Cheques which are now 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. For more information please visit www.caxtonfx.com.
If you have less time there is the Travelex Cash Passport which can be applied for up to 24 hours prior to departure, then picked up at branch in a number of airports (including London Heathrow, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds Bradford, East Midlands, and Newcastle) www.multicurrencycashpassport.com.