Due to the current US embargo in Iran, credit/debt cards using Visa/Mastercard circuit don't work there. One option in order not to bring large amount of cash in Iran would be to buy traveler's cheque but a search on the net revealed somewhat conflicting statements. For example, Wikivojage states that

Travellers' cheques All banks in provincial capitals are able to cash them, the paperwork is no longer needed to cash them.

while the Lonely Planet site has quite a different view on the subject:

For all intents and purposes, Iran is a purely cash economy. No credit cards. No travellers cheques. Just bring cold, hard cash – preferably in high-denomination euros or US dollars.

So, what's the truth? Are traveler's cheque accepted or not? Is it viable to rely upon them?

I'm aware of the fact there are other options too.

2 Answers 2


The second source is not correct.

Traveler cheque specially "Iran cheque" is widely used by people. "Iran cheque" is same as cash money but with larger amounts and is accepted in any shop or any bank exactly same as cash money.

Also people mostly use both the cash and the different national banks cards for payments in shops.

Perhaps this site can help you:


Iran cheque is a kind of traveler cheque that is acceptable in all Iranian banks. but usual traveler cheque is acceptable only in the bank that has issued it. Iran cheque is widely used by people same as cash money. but the only difference is that Iran cheque has higher amounts.

Iran cheque can be obtained from any bank or from people or or money exchangers or shops. same as obtaining cash money.

This is a picture of Iran cheque:

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However 500,000 rial and 1,000,000 rial Iran Cheques circulate freely and are treated as cash. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iranian_rial

A visitor can bring any currency inside Iran like USD and then exchange it to Iran cash like Iran cheques at any money exchange.

  • Thanks for your answer. Can you please elaborate a little bit more on what an "Iran cheque" is and how a tourist can obtain it?
    – Geeo
    Commented Apr 5, 2014 at 7:30
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    @Geeo answer improved Commented Apr 5, 2014 at 12:16
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    This is rather different from a traditional traveler's check, though. Typically you would buy traveler's checks with your own currency before arriving, but in this case it sounds like you can't buy Iran Cheques outside Iran. So this raises the question of what the visitor can bring with them to buy the Iran Cheques with. Commented Apr 5, 2014 at 16:50
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    The "Iran Cheques" appear to be bearer cashier's cheques, so they are almost the same as cash (minus the government guarantee). Lose them and the money's gone, right? Commented Apr 5, 2014 at 17:57
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    @SpehroPefhany yes right. Commented Apr 6, 2014 at 6:53

The Lonely Planet is correct here, western travel cheques are not useful in Iran, they have the same problems as Western credit cards.

Some bigger businesses have bank accounts in Dubai and may be able to handle your cards or even cheques but I wouldn't count on it and they would always add an extra fee for it.

Using Iranian cheques may be an option, but you can only get them in Iran, so you still need to bring cash initially.

All the western tourists I met in Iran used cash only.

I have also met tourists who have been robbed, but all by getting their bag snapped from a motorbike, not at knife or gun point. So keep your cash on your body or in your hotel safe.

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