Money, Currency regulations & Credit cards

Money, Currency regulations & Credit cards

The local currency is Nepalese Rupee subdivided into 100 Paisa. Currency notes are available in 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 25, 50, 100, 500 & 1000 rupee denominations. Import of Indian currency by any tourist except Indian nationals is strictly prohibited. A foreign exchange encashment receipt must be obtained for all foreign currency exchanged and it is possible to exchange back into foreign currency upon production of exchange receipts at the time of departure at the airport. Credit cards like American Express, Master & Visa cards are widely accepted at all major hotels, shops & restaurants but they may surcharge 3 to 4 % on each transaction,

ATMs
ATMs are available near the hotel in Kathmandu and Pokhara or while on sightseeing tour one can ask the guide to stop at ATM counters, but only Nepalese Rupees will be available and not Euro or US Dollar.
Standard Chartered Bank have ATMs in Kathmandu and Pokhara; Travellers have reported that these machines don't take cards that run on the Cirrus system. Several other banks, also have ATMs but some only accept local cards. Using an ATM attached to a bank during business hours will minimise the hassle in the rare event that the machine eats your card.

Cash
Major international currencies, including the Euro, US Dollars and pounds sterling, are readily accepted. In Nepal the Indian rupee is also like a hard currency - the Nepali rupee is pegged to the Indian rupee at the rate of INRs 100 = Rs 160. Be aware that INRs 500 and INRs 1000 notes are not accepted anywhere in Nepal, apparently due to forgeries.
 
Changing money
Official exchange rates are set by the government's Nepal Rastra Bank ( Reserve Bank of Nepal) and listed in the daily newspapers. Rates at the private banks vary, but are generally not far from the official rate.
 
There are exchange counters at the international terminal at Kathmandu's Tribhuvan Airport and banks and/or moneychangers at the various border crossings. Pokhara and the major border towns also have official money changing facilities, but changing travellers cheques can be difficult elsewhere in the country, even in some quite large towns. If you are trekking, take enough small-denomination cash rupees to last the whole trek.