Currency in Maldives (Handy Guide on Maldivian Rufiyaa)

Currency in Maldives (Handy Guide on Maldivian Rufiyaa)
Currency in Maldives (Handy Guide on Maldivian Rufiyaa)

With every holiday in a new country comes its own set of expenses. While we may be comfortable spending cash in our native currency, we often find it extra work to spend in a foreign nation. Travelling to The Maldives? You must first be familiar with the currency in Maldives. In a country that has about 1,200 islands spread across both the sides of the equator, one might think there are different rules for different isles.

It may seem like a tropical dream come true as you imagine yourself sprawled over the daybed of your Maldives water villa with pool and Jacuzzi, but first things first. Get your finances sorted. After you have booked a Maldives tour package from India, figure out how you will be paying – in the local currency, international reserve currencies (in some cases, that might turn out to be your own), or by going cashless with cards or online payment modes.

What is the Currency of The Maldives?

The official currency of The Maldives is the Maldivian Rufiyaa, abbreviated as MVR. Each rufiyaa is further divided into 100 laari. Even though the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) defines the official code for the Maldivian Rufiyaa as MVR as per ISO 4217 standard, Rf and MRF are colloquially and widely used as alternative representations of the currency.

Who Issues the Maldivian Currency?

Maldives Monetary Authority or MMA is the central bank of this nation that holds the mandate to regulate this Asian archipelago’s financial sector, including all the banks that operate there. Banknotes are primarily issued by the Maldives Monetary Authority, to be further circulated by various local and international banks in the country.

What are the various Currency Denominations in The Maldives?

Maldivian Rufiyaa is available in denominations of Rf 5000, Rf 1000, Rf 500, Rf 100, Rf 50, Rf 20, Rf 10 and Rf 5 when it comes to paper bills (or banknotes). When it comes to coins, one will find the rufiyaa in denominations of Rf 2, Rf 1, 50 laari, 25 laari, 10 laari, 5 laari, 2 laari and 1 laari.

Things to Know regarding the Maldivian Currency & Money Exchange in The Maldives

Interestingly, all the printing is done in England for the banknotes, while Germany mints the coins for The Maldives. Even though historically, Malé – the world’s smallest capital used to mint the erstwhile silver coins, coin production is currently not done locally.

One must remember that the Maldivian Rufiyaa is not easily exchangeable outside the domestic market, that is, the Republic of Maldives. In case you come from a country with its own local currency that is not an international reserve currency, you must arrange for your local banknotes to be exchanged into a reserve currency in your home country itself.

This internationally accepted reserve currency can be later exchanged into Maldivian Rufiyaa once you land in Malé – capital city of The Maldives. That said, many luxurious private island resorts in The Maldives accept payment in several international currencies, although at an exchange rate that may not be up for negotiation.

Other Accepted Currencies in The Maldives

The Maldivian Rufiyaa is always accepted within the nation, whether at affordable shacks by the beach or upscale hotels in The Maldives. Apart from the MRF, most touristy local islands and commercial private islands accept reserve currencies such as the United States dollar (USD), the British pound (GBP) or the Euro (EUR).

One must not take that for granted though. It is always safer to ensure you convert your international banknotes into the Maldivian rufiyaa, preferably at the airport, so you do not feel hassled later on in the course of your relaxed holiday. The Bank of Maldives has a foreign exchange counter at the Velana International Airport authorized to change money.

Among all the reserve currencies, the US dollar has a better acceptance rate. However, try not to bring old notes or ones that are defaced as those are not accepted in The Maldives. It is important to note that any change that is to be tendered to you will always come in the local currency, that is, MVR.

One thing that you must not forget is to change all your Maldivian rufiyaa back into US dollar bills as once you fly out of the Maldives International Airport and into any other country (for stopover) or your own final destination country, you will not be able to convert those Rf notes or coins back.

Average Conversion Rates of The Maldivian Currency against Other Currencies

Whether you book activities in Maldives or make a purchase at a local souvenir store on an inhabited island, there will be many occasions when the only recourse is to use cash, and that too the local Maldivian rufiyaa. For such scenarios, it is good to be aware of the general rates of conversion of the MRF when exchanged with the popular world currencies such as USD, EUR or the GBP.

1 MVR = 0.065 USD

1 USD = 15.4 MVR

1 MVR = 0.048 GBP

1 GBP = 21.04 MVR

1 MVR = 0.054 EUR

1 EUR = 18.6 MVR

1 MVR = 4.74 INR

1 INR = 0.21 MVR

* Above currency conversion rates as of February 2021

In addition to the currency exchange rates mentioned above, you should be mindful of the respective exchange rates of the reserve currency of your choice against your local national currency as that factor will figure when exchanging your banknotes from the place of origin. Also, when you return to your country, you might have to re-change those reserve currency denominations back into your national currency as some countries have restrictions on how much foreign currency you can store with you when not travelling.

Once you have the basics sorted, you need not fret over anything on your holiday.  Book with Maldives Tourism and leave all your tour planning hassles aside. If you have paid for the entire trip in advance, you might even be able to get by without having to exchange currency in Maldives. Soft sands, balmy breeze and turquoise waters await every explorer, not to forget the gorgeous underwater world and spellbinding coral reefs!