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I've read that it's not possible to pay for stuff by international credit card like debit cards. What do you recommend to do in such a situation? As far as carrying a lot of money is not safe at all.

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@mouviciel I am Iranian, and neither I nor any of the people that I know are in the habit of carrying large amounts of money! FYI, we use credit cards! –  Meysam Mar 27 '12 at 7:33
@Meysam - but you are using Iranian cards? as far as I know US card companies like Visa or Master card to not work in Iran. –  Peter Hahndorf Mar 27 '12 at 12:59
@PeterHahndorf: Yes, that's the problem! –  Gigili Mar 27 '12 at 13:02
@PeterHahndorf You are right, but my comment was mainly in response to the following comment which was removed by its owner: "All Iranian people carry a lot of money when shopping" –  Meysam Mar 27 '12 at 15:17
@mouviciel Iraninan credit cards will not work outside Iran (maybe in Syria), and international cards will not work in Iran. Why? See my answer. Until you deal with your government it is unlikely to change. –  littleadv Mar 27 '12 at 18:07

3 Answers 3

up vote 12 down vote accepted

One option would be to bring cash with you, convert it to Iranian currency and then buy something called "Gift Card" from a bank. You can easily obtain them from most of the well-known banks without having an account. You can use these cards to buy stuff almost anywhere within the country. They are also password protected and only the owner can use them. In case you lose them or get them stolen, you can contact the issuing bank to block the missing card and get another one.
This is just one of the ways that can help you avoid carrying money. There might be other ways too :)

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Is it possible to get the balance back from those? I know in the US these cards are not refundable and come with hefty fees, so if the OP has 200 EUR on a card, but only use 100 EUR - the rest is gone forever (as this is an Iranian card - its unusable anywhere else). What are the rules in Iran in such case? –  littleadv Mar 27 '12 at 22:33
@littleadv It's always possible to get money from ATM with these cards. So the rest of money can be considered refundable. –  Meysam Mar 27 '12 at 22:52
Ok, +1, but for the OP: do take the fees and the conversion rates into account. And you'll have to bring the cash with you, in any case (unless Iranian pre-paid cards are sold in Turkey, which I doubt in face of the financial restrictions on Iran). –  littleadv Mar 27 '12 at 22:56
@littleadv: Noted, thank you. –  Gigili Mar 27 '12 at 23:25

With the latest sanctions against Iran (i.e.: SWIFT disconnecting them), cash would be your safest bet.

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No Visa, MasterCard, etc do not work in Iran. There is a national debit card system called Shetab. And all the Iranian banks and many credit unions are members of Shetab. So basically if you buy a Shetab card from any bank, you will be good. Bank Pasargad is one of them. And here is a page that shows a bank Pasargad gift card.

However, You cannot buy it online. Once you land in Iran, you may exchange your foreign currency to IRR (Iranian Rial) and buy a gift card either at the airport or ask your hotel reception to help you get one.

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protected by mindcorrosive Sep 13 '13 at 15:05

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