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Currency and Cost of Living

Romania - Currency and Cost of Living

The national currency in Romania is the LEU (plural LEI). As of July 1, 2005, four zeros have been dropped from it, i.e. 29,200 (old) Romanian lei (ROL) per U.S. dollar now equal 2.92 (new) lei (RON) to one dollar - two lei (lay) and 92 bani (bah-nee).

Both old and new coins and banknotes will be in circulation until December 31, 2006, when the old currency will be withdrawn.

New banknotes have been issued in 1, 5, 10, 50, 100 and 500 lei denominations, and coins in 1, 5, 10 and 50 bani pieces.

Old Romanian Lei Notes are issued in the following amounts: 2,000, 10,000, 50,000, 100,000, 500,000 and 1,000,000 Lei. Coins come in denominations of 1, 100, 500, 1,000 and 5,000 Lei.

Visa, MasterCard, and American Express are the only accepted credit cards, with only a limited number of stores willing to accept them. It is best to plan on conducting all business on a cash basis. ATM machines are abundant in both the larger and the smaller towns. Flat fees for the machines are generally low.

It is best to change money at one of the private exchange offices - these are found in most towns and cities with some open 24-hours. Banks also change money, but the hours are often not as convenient as those offered by the exchange offices. Neither the exchange offices or the banks charge a commission on money changing transactions.

Cost of living examples:

Bottle of water: US $0.40/Lei 14,000
Glass of wine: US $0.60/Lei 21,000
Metro bus ticket: US $0.18 Lei 6000

Note: Tipping, where appropriate, is around 10%.

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