Cash & travellers' cheques

How to use them

Cash is widely used in Oman, although credit and charge cards are also popular. As in many countries, the quickest way to withdraw cash is to use automated teller machines (ATMs), which are found at banks and in most shopping malls.

You can withdraw cash from an overseas account using an international network such as Visa or Mastercard. It’s also possible to withdraw cash using a credit card, though you should be prepared to pay large fees if you decide to go this route.

Foreign currency can be changed at many outlets in Oman. Try to avoid changing currency at hotels if at all possible, hotels offer terrible exchange rates in comparison with a major bank or bureau de change. The country’s bureaux de change usually offer competitive exchange rates, but you should check to see if you will have to pay commission fees and shop around if necessary. Most airport exchanges handle major foreign currencies, but for obscure currencies you may need to make special arrangements.

Carrying travellers’ cheques is more convenient and generally safer than carrying a lot of cash. However, at certain times and in some places it can be difficult to cash travellers’ cheques. Shops and restaurants don’t readily accept travellers’ cheques, for example. Most hotels change travellers’ cheques, but again, changing money with them is inadvisable due to their poor exchange rates. If you need to cash travellers´ cheques, you should do so at banks. You will be charged a commission fee, but your exchange rate will also be more favourable with a bank than other agencies. Make sure to bring photo ID with you when you go to cash your cheques.

It’s unlikely that you will be able to purchase travellers’ cheques in Omani Riyals, and since the Riyal is tied to the US dollar, you should use cheques issued in US dollars (or cash) to avoid excessive exchange fluctuations.

This article is an extract from Living and Working in Gulf States & Saudi Arabia. Click here to get a copy now.

Further reading

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