Can I take Moroccan currency into Marrakech

edited February 2010 in - North Africa
I have read a guide book which is ambiguous as to whether you take Moroccan dirhams into the country. It states that you cannot take it out but seems to suggest that you cannot take it in at one point. I have read another link about using ATMs and bureaux de change but it would be useful to have some currency on arrival for tips etc.
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Comments

  • edited 4:57PM
    The Dirham is only available in Morocco, and the import and export of the currency is limited to 1000Dh. Most of the main foreign currencies may be exchanged at a Bureau de Change in the airport or port upon arrival, at a bank or in most hotels, although smaller hotels in more remote areas may not be able to exchange large amounts at one time without prior notice. Most hotels will exchange at the same rate as the banks, and without charging commission. Exchanging money in the street is illegal, so travelers should look for official Bureaux de Change, identifiable by a golden sign. Travelers should be advised to keep the receipts of currency exchange, as these will be required for the conversion of Dirham back to foreign currency prior to departure; this rule is not always adhered to though.

    When bringing dollars, pounds, euros etc, make sure that they are in near perfect condition - not torn or scribbled on. Do not bring Australian dollars, Scottish or Irish sterling notes - impossible to cash.
    Current exchange rates can be checked at http://www.xe.com/ucc/

    Credit Cards

    Some credit cards are accepted (especially Visa, MasterCard), although surcharges will likely apply, or an unfavourable exchange rate will be used.

    Advise your bank or card issuer that you intend to travel abroad so that no block will be put on the usage of your credit or ATM cards. Notify the issuer and give them a 'phone number where you can be contacted abroad.

    Before travelling, ensure you make a note of all credit card numbers and associated contact numbers for card issuers in case of difficulty. The numbers are usually free to call as you can reverse the charges, make it clear to the operator of your hotel, riad etc that you wish the call charge to be reversed.

    ATMs

    Multiple ATMs can now be found in most towns and accept Visa cards, Maestro, Cirrus etc and these will usually give you a better exchange rate than changing cash. Check with your bank for charges for using ATMs abroad.

    Popular destinations such as Tangier, Marrakech, Agadir etc have ATM's in hotels as well as on all main roads. The medina of Marrakech has in excess of 20 ATM's.

    Using a credit card (VISA etc) to obtain money from ATM's is also possible but one must remember that interest is charged from the moment money is dispensed. The normal practice of an interest-free period which applies to purchases, typically over 50 days, made on the card does NOT apply to cash withdrawals. Banks will allow cheques to be cashed but must be supported by a guarantee card.

    ATM's generally dispense only 100 and 200 dirham notes so getting change for small everyday purchases like water, taxis etc can be a challenge. At weekends you may have difficulty acquiring cash as machines are not generally restocked. Sometimes your card may work in some machines and not others, or may support smaller withdrawals rather than larger ones, and may work at some times and not others. You should ensure you have a backup means of funding your visit. Some cash changing ATM's will not always accept the new UK £20 note, and be prepared for a complete meltdown of ALL the ATM's in Essaouira, which are working fine the following day.

    Travelers are advised not to carry travellers cheques as it is very difficult to find a bank that will cash them and although hotels will cash these, the commission rates are high. If you do take them, take larger value denominations to reduce the commission as this is charged per cheque.

    When making payments with a credit card, for example at a hotel for services, it is vital to memorise the PIN as signatures in many instances are not accepted, however certain establishments such as restaurants may still use the old method of signing.
  • edited 4:57PM
    We are arriving at Marrakech airport at 7pm on a Saturday evening in March (2011) will there be a bureau de change open at this time? Which would be the best/cheapest method of getting money converted for taxis, food etc at this time of night, bearing in mind the next day is also on a weekend? Many thanks
  • edited 4:57PM
    Change your money at the B de C which will be open until the last flight of the day (whatever time that may be). There are also 2 ATM machines but you will pay around 5% in charges which are not applicable at the B de C.
    Try to get some small change from B de C, tell him you need this for the taxi.
    Taxi's are notorious here, frequently not using the meter or just shouting a fare at you; pay no more than 80Dh to the centre unless you are going to the Palmeraie which is much further away.
    There will be many places still open for a decent meal; where are you staying?
    There are several hundred ATM's in Marrakech so the chances of them all being depleted of cash is virtually zero; you may just have to do a lot of walking.
  • edited 4:57PM
    Hi,

    When I arrived at Fez airport for my flight back to the UK, there was nowhere open for me to exchange my dirhams back to British pounds. Is there any way I can change them without having to return to Morocco?

    Cheers.
  • edited 4:57PM
    Sure, you can take your Dh into any travel agents and sell them on but be prepared to get the worst rates imaginable as they have the upper hand.
    I may consider buying from you if you wish to make a sale.
  • edited 4:57PM
    Hello, I am travelling to Marrakech this coming Friday. I want to know for sure re currency. I know that poeple are saying you cannot get Dirhams in the UK, well you can, and I have from a legitimate foreign exchange company who have branches in London. They at first this company told me by phone that they did Dirhams and that it was restricted, allowing 1000 dirhams per person. With that I travel to get these Dirhams. I got there and one of the staff said "no you cant take dirhams in or out" i told him what one of his staff told me to which this staff member then looked it up in there apparently recent guide book which did state 1000 per person into the country. I got 2000 dirhams for me and my partner and i am just a little concerned that if i get to Marrakech, i'll lose them some how. I'm reading some people saying on blogs like this that you cant get Dirhams here, so i think they just assume you can't take them in. It seems very clear that you can't take Dirhams out. How likely is it that they will even check my wallet or know i have dirhams coming in? I just need to know how i can find out 100% what the rules are.
  • edited June 2011
    It is possible to get Moroccan Dirhams in UK but the problem is that you will not get the official rate of around 13Dh to 1GBP, more than likely you will get around 8 or 9Dh.
    When you are advised that you cannot get Dirhams outside of Morocco this is true as it is (note IS) a closed currency and should not be available.
    Furthermore, the amount you can take into Morocco is 1000Dh per person. It is feasible that people have had Dh left over from a previous visit so it is allowed to bring these into Morocco and you do not have to declare them if equal to or less than 1000Dh per person.
    The other problem is that when you ask for Dirhams you may well get (or have got if you have already gone) UAE Dirhams which are not the same.
    Perhaps you can let us know what you got.
  • edited 4:57PM
    I have 400 morrocan Dirham which I can't get rid of! Anyone want these as I won't be going back there. A small donation would be nice.

    Drop me a text or email 07791910195 mike@mikes-environmental.net

    Cheers Mike
  • edited 4:57PM
    Hi do you need to pay an entry fee to Morocco?
  • edited October 2011
    No, unlike Egypt (or is it Turkey?) who charge for a visa on entry Morocco does not.
    The only bureaucratic nonsense is to fill in an entry certificate which asks for personal details such as where you originate, date and place of birth, occupation, where you are staying and a few other questions. You will have to fill one in if you move around Morocco staying in different hotels/riads.
    This is the only cause for a lengthy delay at immigration antry points where the police (yes, ploice) check all details closely so be sure you have all info to hand and make sure your passport has a minimum period of validity of 6 months otherwise get it changed immediately.
    You should be given one of the certificates on board the flight and on departure from Morocco.
    If you want to see whet they look like get in touch jklejna@aol.com
  • edited 4:57PM
    Which will give me the best rate of exchange - GB pounds or euros for 30.1.12?
  • edited 4:57PM
    This depends from where you are travelling.
    If you are in a Euro-zone country then it makes sense to only take Euro's and exchange when there.
    If you are from the UK then you should take only GBP and exchange these on arrival. It makes no sense to change GBP into Euro's only to then change € to Dirhams paying exchange rates twice.
  • edited 4:57PM
    Would you say its best to change all your cash upon arrival at the airport (as my OH would like). I was thinking of taking half cash and then use a card a few days into hol to pull out rest.
  • edited 4:57PM
    Hi, can anyone tell me if the bureau de change will be open at 11pm in agadir airport? My plan is to buy currency on my uk debit card, is this possible? As I an assuming I will incur less if any charges from this method???
  • edited 4:57PM
    Hi we are visiting agadir in September, our flight is scheduled to land at 21.55. We are curious as to whether the bureau de change will still be open then? and if it is possible to buy dirhams on our visa debit cards in order to eradicate expensive bank surcharges and conversion rates that apply on ATM cash withdrawals?
  • edited 4:57PM
    Sarah - I would not change all your cash but maybe about £100 or €150's worth. This dependes largely on your spending habits.
    I take cash but generally use only my debit card in the ATM. The cash is fo emergency use only. I wrote an article dated 6 Feb above if you want to have a read.
    Erica - I expect the B de C will be closed at that late hour but not entirely sure as I have never arrived that late.
    There are ATM facilities in the airport so use this. If that doesn't work and you are planning on getting a taxi, ask the driver to stop at a bank in town. You cannot get Dirhams by any means other than cash at the airport B de C.
    E180 - same conditions apply as above. You cannot buy Moroccan currency with a debit or credit card at the airoprt. B de C will ONLY accept paper money which must be in near perfect condition.
    Sorry to disappoint you but in Morocco you have to play by their rules and don't forget to notify your bank or other card issuer if intending to use ATM facilities. You are a long way from home!
  • edited 4:57PM
    Anybody got any MAD they want to get rid of? I can collect/meet you in or near Bolton or Leeds.

    Travelling end of March 2012.

    chris?elliottmail.demon.co.uk (replace the "?" with an "@").

    P.S Worked out that I am much better off using my Kalixa pre-paid credit card at ATMs than my Visa debit card. Difference is about £5 changing circa £150 into MAD
  • edited 4:57PM
    I keep mine for the next`visit.
    People do sell these on ebay but be absolutely sure you are getting Moroccan Dirhams and not UAE Dirhams.
    Alternatively ask on tripadisor as quite a few have tried to offload theirs here.
  • edited 4:57PM
    When I went to Morocco in the summer of 2010 from Canada to Casablanca, I did brought 600 DH I had it from my last trip in 2008, so i brought it with me and I never been asked if I brought money. I think small quantityis okay.
    Bone Voyage
  • edited 4:57PM
    ya that is cool i just cant get my stuff done
  • edited 4:57PM
    we are travelling to marrakech may 2012. we can get dirhams but they are UAE dirhams. Is this a problem, will they be acccepted without trouble.
    thanks
  • edited 4:57PM
    Hi Am traveling to Agadir late March and looking for some Morocco dirhams east london essex area can collect especially any small currency coins thanks Dal
  • edited 4:57PM
    jabby - NO is the answer, just the way Nigerian Pounds cannot be used as a substitute for British Pounds in the UK.
    Hint - AUE is not the UK, geddit?
  • edited 4:57PM
    Can you confirm whether you're better off changing cash or using the ATMs as the info given seems to be contradictory. Many thanks.
  • edited 4:57PM
    Hi can anyone tell me if there are any rules about children going to marrekesh. Passports will be year old by the time we go. Children will be 2 and 10 years old. Its mySecond holiday ever so very inexperienced traveler. Any advice very welcome.
  • edited 4:57PM
    Hi can anyone tell me if there are any rules about children going to marrekesh. Passports will be year old by the time we go. Children will be 2 and 10 years old. Its mySecond holiday ever so very inexperienced traveler. Any advice very welcome.
  • edited 4:57PM
    Using ATM does involve double charging, a subject currently being investigated by the UK government.
    The charges are those which your card issuer charges and also the bank which is dispensing money.
    There is a Bureau de Change at the airport which is normally open until the last flight in, unless there have been delays at your end. This will offer the official rate of exchange at the time. Exchange rates can vary each week when set on a Friday.
    There are certian cards like Schwab VISA debit and maybe Capital One which will reimburse you for ATM transactions worldwide.
    Always use banks, ATM or B de C for cash acquisition as hotels tend to give slightly less.
    Also never use travellers cheques in Morocco.
    If this link works then check out my article on Banks and Money in Morocco:
    http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Travel-g293730-s601/Morocco:Banks.And.Money.html
  • edited 4:57PM
    Having recently reurned to the UK from Casablanca - here are a few tips - be prepared to have a very lengthy wait at Passport control in the Airport (40mins I queued for) -the Burea de Change will NOT accept UK notes, chqs or Credit cards to obtain MAD but there is an ATM outside on the right where you can obtain Moroccan Dirhams.
    The Red Taxi's are by far the friendliest and cheapest mode of transport but there's not many at the Airport - usually White Mercedes - establish a price with the driver before you get into the car (300MAD takes you to the centre of Casablanca) - ACIMA Supermarkets have alcohol (usually hidden in a room in the basement) - Merlot is nice (55-60MAD) and there appears to be an additional Tax levied on certain goods.
    Go see the Mosque, Old & New Medina and beautiful Park on the journey into Town - that's the sights taken care of but do try Rick's Cafe at the Port - delicious 4* food and service
    p.s. I have MAD to sell if anyone interested? - 578 : £40
  • edited 4:57PM
    Hi 20kiki

    I would be interested in buying the dirhams off you. How do would you like to proceed with this?

    Best Regards

    AJ
  • edited 4:57PM
    20Kiki states you can not exchange uk notes in the airport, is this true!?! What is the point of a Burea de Change that does not accept cash transactions? Can someone please clarify this.

    Thanks
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