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Romanian Money


Now that you are in Romania you will need to use the local currency: the LEU.
Even though Romania is a member state of the European Union, it is not part of the Eurozone.
This means that in cash you will need to pay in the Romanian currency almost anywhere you go.
Very few places – some restaurants and souvenir shops in the Old Town of Bucharest – take Euro.
But, have no fear, it is incredibly easy, safe and affordable to change money in Romania.


You can do this at: banks or exchange offices and there is no shortage of these in the center of Bucharest.
None charge any commission, butt you will find the best rates at exchange offices, where the procedure is much quicker than at banks – it takes less than 2-3 minutes. Please note that you may be asked to present a document in order to exchange money.
There is also the possibility to simply withdraw money from the ATMs or pay with a credit card.
You can do the latter almost at all important vendors: supermarket chains, restaurants, cafes, shops, metro, but not everywhere.
In Romania, people are predominantly paying in cash, so it’s difficult to get by only with the use of a credit card.
Don’t forget that both the ATM and POS devices will require you to enter your PIN number.
Those with an American Express card might have some difficulty finding the right ATM or paying with their card.
So it’s best to carry some cash when arriving in Romania (Dollars or any other major currency) in order to exchange it here.


All banks and exchange offices will change Euro, Dollars or Pounds into Romanian Lei.
However only banknotes are accepted, no coins and sometimes they can refuse very used or torn notes.
You can find the current exchange rates here:
As you are changing money, you will notice that the abbreviation for the Romanian currency is RON.
This will be something you will read frequently on the tags in stores or the restaurant menus.
Just remember that RON or Leu or Lei is the same thing: Romanian money.
As soon as you’ve changed the money and held the notes in your hand you will realize that there is something different about them.
This is because all the notes are made of plastic, so they are shiny and much more resistant.
Besides this, they can be an interesting souvenir, especially if you like collecting foreign money.

Romanian banknotes


During your stay in Romania, in 99% of situations you will be using the banknotes. The coins are of lesser value. The coins are called bani and have the following amounts: 1, 5, 10 and 50 bani. With 50 bani you can’t even buy a Eugenia, a small biscuit treat with cream and one of the cheapest on the market, so this shows you how little value they have. The coins represent small change when going the supermarket or buying bread.

The notes start from:

1 leu

5 lei

10 lei

50 lei

100 lei

200 lei

500 lei

Each presenting a different Romanian notable person (writers, men of science, artists).
It’s always a good idea to have some small notes in your pocket, as a lot of shopkeepers will get a small fright when you will want to pay for a pack of gum with a 100 lei bill and they will invariably ask: Nu aveti marunt? (‘Do you have smaller money?’).

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