Romania Travel

Can You Pay with Euros or US Dollars in Romania?

After receiving many emails about currencies that can be used to pay in Romania, I have decided to write today’s quick article and help those wondering if you can pay with Euros in Romanian stores – or even US Dollars.

The official currency in Romania is the Romanian Leu (Lion) and plans for the country to switch to using Euros have been constantly delayed. So even though Romania is in the EU, its official currency is not the Euro and you will find out that it’s not easy to pay otherwise than using the Romanian leu in most places in the country.

Will Romanian stores accept Euros?

Can you pay with Euros in Romania?

The situation is a bit more complex than most of foreigners traveling to the country would probably like it to be. However, it would be safest to assume that you won’t be able to pay using Euros anywhere.

There are indeed places where they might accept Euros – from stores to restaurants and attractions, but even so, the rates that you would get would be absolutely horrible.

So you would save a lot of money if you exchanged your Euros into Romanian Lei and used those to pay.

Also, have in mind that in many places you will only be able to pay in cash. So even though your EUR card would work without a problem in all stores that have a POS, not all of them will.

To make things even more confusing for travelers, some prices might be listed in Euros in Romania: usually real estate (rental or buying), larger items (cars) and even mobile phone plans will usually have their prices listed in Euros – but in most cases you will actually be expected to pay in RON and you won’t have the option to actually pay using Euros.

So, in conclusion, remember that Romania is still a very cash-friendly country and the farther away you get from the larger cities, the more difficult it might be to pay using your card.

It will be even more difficult to pay using Euros, so it’s best to find an exchange firm with 0% commission and a good exchange rate and always have some Lei on you.

Will Romanian stores accept US Dollars?

Can you pay with USD in Romania

While you might be able to pay in Euros here and there throughout Romania, chances of anybody accepting US Dollars are slim to none.

Some more touristy places might accept your dollar bills – I know none that do, though – but if they do, the exchange rate they’ll offer will be horrible.

Also, using your US Dollar card to make purchases wherever that’s possible will probably cost you a lot in commissions and fees.

So my recommendation for those who only have USD on them is to exchange them in cash and use the cash to pay for all services in order to save money where card payments are available (because paying with US Dollars in cash is virtually impossible throughout the country).

I hope that these answers make it easier for you to plan your finances and how to handle money when you travel to Romania. If you have additional questions about this, don’t hesitate to let me know by commenting below.

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8 Comments

  1. Dear Romaniaexperience.com,
    I am a U.S. citizen living in Bucharest. Your article about paying in Leu, Euros or U.S. dollars is pretty spot on with the exception of one note. I have a U.S. credit card from CapitalOne- a financial institution based in the U.S. It is a Visa card and I use it daily in Romania at all pay counters that have a POS. Now, the thing about this credit card which makes it a financial boon is that they CHARGE NO INTERNATIONAL TRANSACTION FEE, as do all other credit cards, that I am aware of, which charge a 1% to 3% added fee to every international transaction that goes through their card. FURTHERMORE, CapitalOne gives the ROMANIAN BNR RATE in effect for the Leu/U.S$ exchange rate at the time of the purchase made…It is an exceptional credit card and has saved me thousands of U.S. dollars since I have been here. Your article, otherwise, is pretty savvy…Cheers!

    1. Thank you for adding that! This is really useful information indeed. I did believe that some banks offer nice incentives (I know that some US banks pay back the fees for example), but it’s always good to have confirmation!

  2. I have also heard Charles Schwab highly praised along with CapitalOne in several YouTubes made by expatriates. I believe they reimburse any ATM fees you might pay overseas. I unfortunately cannot take advantage of any of these accounts thanks to the Patriot Act which treats many Americans living overseas like myself as terrorists or drug money launderers. Unless you have an American address and all kinds of IDs, you cannot open a checking account at any American bank. Charles Schwab told me no. CapitalOne told me no. I am stuck with a terrible checking account I had when I left the USA. It charges me $5 for out-of-network ATMs plus an international exchange fee that is a percent of the total amount. My investment fund company used to have an ATM card with no such exchange fee but they announced they were discontinuing the service last year. I am now stuck doing international wires from my investment company at $10 a pop and getting a bad exchange rate from my local Japanese bank. But at least I can transfer a larger amount at a time unlike my checking account ATM card. This week American expatriates are also experiencing the “joy” of a weakening US Dollar. It has descended from the usual 109 Yen to the $ to just 104.5 Yen which means I will get about 99,000 less Yen on the $22,000 I am transferring. That’s almost $950 out the window. Yes, exchange rate fluctuations over time can sink many a retirement plan.

    1. Great info as well! I head about banks that repay the ATM fees, but I didn’t know any. Thanks for sharing this additional detail, it’s more than welcome!

      I know that I had to make some payments in USD as well and it was horrible fees-wise. I guess that banks need to make some money too, right? And with the fees here being low to none for EUR transfers, they rip off other currencies. And it seems that happens everywhere in the world, not just here in Romania.

  3. Calin: Do USD and Euro have a favorable exchange rate against the “Lion”? I always get confused with exchange rates! I know the USD goes “further” against CND. In other words, for an American visiting Canada, he can buy more toys at a better price. Whereas in the UK, the USD doesn’t go as far. My visits to the main London Hamleys toy store were always costly affairs.;-) Me, I just wish there was only ONE worldwide currency along with ONE universal language (Esperanto).;-)https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Esperanto

    1. Yes, the US Dollar and the Euro go “further” as you put it. Recently, the Romanian Leu started to sink a bit, which is even better news for those who rely on Euros and Dollars. For example, I did a search online and found out that a Big Mac costs around $3.9 in the US, while in Romania, you would pay $2.25 for it.

  4. My favorite thing to do when l travel is to use the ATM to withdraw in the local currency. So much better rates than what you get with the currency exchange places. We have a Schwab card but stopped using it eons ago. In Nigeria, peopel welcome U.S dollars or English pounds. In fact, most airlines will only accept those currencies which suck as the banks don’t change currency. You can only exchange money on the black market. So wrong in so many ways.

    1. Yes, I remember the days when the black market was flourishing here as well, but fortunately (or at least as far as I know) it died a long while ago.

      With Romanian banks, I saw that most exchanges offer better rates – which is surprising. But then again, Romania is not as touristy as other places, so the ones exchanging money are the locals who can do the research for the best rates easier.

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