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Travel to Belarus (useful information) :: Money in Belarus
 
The money in Belarus are called "rubel" though Russian variant of the name "ruble" can be (and is) used with relation to Belarusian money .

Currently there are notes ranging from 1 to 20 000 rubles. No coins are used in Belarus for circulation. Only a small amount of commemorative coins is produced.

For the use in metro there are special plastic cards and tokens. Smart cards (plastic cards with microchips) are used for public payphones.

There are not many vending machines in Belarus and if there is one – tokens will be sold somewhere at the nearby newspaper stand or other small retailer.

Generally, you can import or export any amount of money through the Belarusian border. All the difference is in the amount you are carrying. This simple table will help you understand if you need to declare your money or obtain a special permit.

Amount Do not need to declare * Need to declare ** Need a permit ***
Import (taking money to Belarus)

Cash

     
Under US$3000 (or equivalent) yes/no yes/no no
Over $10000 no yes no

Credit/debit cards, checks, etc.

     
Under US$3000 (or equivalent) yes no no
Over US$3000 (or equivalent) no yes no

Belarusian Rubles

     
Under 500 base units (~8.75 mln.)   yes  
Over 500 base units (~8.75 mln.) Not allowed    
Export (taking money out of Belarus)

Cash

Under US$3000 (or equivalent) yes no no
US$3000 to $10000 no yes no
Over $10000 no yes yes

Credit/debit cards, checks, etc.

     
Any amount no yes no

Belarusian Rubles

     
Under 500 base units (~8.75 mln.) no yes no
Under 500 base units (~8.75 mln.) Not allowed    

* - formally, an "oral declaration" is required. Most often a customs officer would ask you about how much money you are carrying. Answering to that would be an "oral declaration".

** - i.e. you would need to declare your money by filling in the relevant fields in customs declaration.

*** - permits are needed only for exporting money from Belarus. Permits may be obtained at Belarusian banks where you buy or withdraw currency. Your import declaration which states the amount of foreign currency you brought to Belarus is your permit to export the same amount of money. So, stick to it.


  

Cash
 


There are numerous bureau de change in Belarusian cities to change foreign currency to Belarusian rubles and back. Normally there should be no problems with exchanging US dollars, euros and Russian rubles. However sometimes bureaus can run out of either Belarusian or foreign currency.
 
Currency Exchange

 

 
Credit and debit cards were not used in Belarus before the last decade of the previous century. And even today the use of plastic cards is limited.

Nevertheless, major hotels, restaurants, stores and service outlets accept credit/debit cards issued by Visa and MasterCard. Some other brands can also be accepted but not everywhere (Discovery cards are not accepted at all).

Charges for purchases are converted from Belarusian rubles to your card's currency at the rate that is slightly better than you would get at bureau de change.

Note: Some cases were reported when an issuing bank (US) has frozen a credit card account after some payments were made in Belarus "as a precaution measure". The restrictions were lifted only after a cardholder called back to his bank and confirmed that he actually is making payments in Belarus. So, a good idea would be to call your bank in advance and to ask them not to freeze your account when you pay in Belarus.

There is a list of locations of the ATMs and merchants accepting cards on the territory of Belarus at Belcard.by website, though the site is only available in Russian.
 

Credit / Debit Cards

 

 
There is a growing network of ATMs in Belarus. As of today there are almost two hundreds of them in different cities of Belarus. The majority of them are in Minsk (over 50).

Note: ATMs of the largest Belarusian bank BelarusBank would only accept MasterCard and Maestro.

There is a list of locations of the ATMs and merchants accepting cards on the territory of Belarus at Belcard.by website, though the site is only available in Russian.
 

 ATMs

 

 
If you need to send money to Belarus (to friends, relatives) the fastest and easiest option (though not the cheapest) is Western Union. You can even send money from the Internet using your credit card and your recipient will be able to get the money from one of the numerous bank offices in Belarus.

The other, sometimes less expensive but more lengthy and complex way is to send an international money order or a check. However not all checks are accepted and fee for cashing varies from bank to bank and may be high. There is a need to research this option a little bit more.

Please note, that all the money that the residents in Belarus receive from abroad are considered their income and will be reported by the banks to the appropriate local tax offices. The recipients of your funds will have to pay taxes of the money they receive.

Sending Money to Belarus

 

 
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