The official currency in Cambodia is called the Cambodian riel. Yet in the big cities, most hotels, restaurants and shops will accept the US dollar. Even visa prices and departure taxes are set in US dollars. Therefore, it is essential that you keep some dollars with you. Do keep in mind that all amounts below US$1 are paid or returned in riel.
Make sure that you always keep some small riel with you. This comes in handy for taxis, snacks and all the other small purchases.
Another thing you need to know about Cambodia is that there are only notes in circulation, no coins. The following denominations are in use: 50, 100, 500, 1000, 2000, 5000, 10,000, 50,000 and 100,000. Most often you will use 500 and 1,000 notes.
Inflation has been quite steep, so make sure you know the exchange rate before you go.
Banks in Cambodia
As mentioned before, there are a lot of banks in Cambodia. According to the National Bank of Cambodia’s annual report the biggest banks are:
- Acleda Bank
- Canadia Bank
- ANZ Royal Bank (Cambodia)
- Foreign Trade Bank of Cambodia
- Union Commercial Bank
- Vattanac Bank
- Cambodia Mekong Bank Public
It is up to you to choose the bank which best suits your needs. However, if you wish to have a Cambodian bank account, Acleda bank is popular among expats. Besides being the biggest bank, Acleda has a global banking system. Your account will be in riel, but you can withdraw US dollars as well. It is well known for its good customer service and it is even possible to get a visa credit card.
Canadia bank is growing. The fees levied for withdrawing money are among the lowest in Cambodia, making it very appealing for expats.
ANZ charges the highest fees but has branches located throughout the country. International transfers will take around two to three days. To open up a foreign currency account with ANZ you have to:
- Go to the bank and meet with one of the managers
- Provide a minimum of US$500 for initial deposit
- Have a minimum ongoing balance of US$500
- Show identification - check our article on opening an account for more information.
- Later, you simply collect your ATM Card from the branch where the account was opened
The Foreign Trade Bank of Cambodia is easy to use. It offers internet banking to check your current account.
Most banks are open from Monday through Friday, from 8am to 3pm or 4pm. Some banks are even open on Saturday mornings.
Check here for a complete list of all the banks in Cambodia.