Kyrgyzstan nowadays is reasonably well-supplied with modern banking services tied to the international banking system. Kyrgyzstan uses the Kyrgyz som. You will not be asked for US dollars anywhere except at embassies. In that case, some ATM’s dispense money in US dollar.
ATM cash withdrawal
Bishkek is littered with ATM’s (Bankomat in Russian). Some dispense US dollar. An example is the Kazkommerzbank ATM on the corner of Sovetskaya and Bokonbaeva.
Outside of the capital, ATM’s can be found in Bishkek (many), Cholpon Ata (several), Karakol (several), Kochkor (1 or 2), Naryn (at least 1), Jalal-Abad (many), Osh (several). Kant, Tokmak, Talas and Balykchy should have one. Kazarman, Batken and Arslanbob do not have an ATM. There is also an ATM in Manas airport.
Demirbank & Kazkommertsbank accept Mastercard. Visa and Maestro are options in other banks, but you should prepare yourself for the event of rejection.
Currency exchange Kyrgyzstan
Currency exchange is available in any of the bigger places listed above that have an ATM. Rubles, US dollars and Euros will never be a problem. Kazakh tenge, British pounds and Chinese yuan should also be no problem.
You can only buy and sell Tajik somoni in Osh. Uzbek som is very difficult to get rid of.
Credit cards, money transfers and travellers’ cheques
Kyrgyzstan is primarily a cash(-strapped) economy. Credit cards are not widely accepted, nor are travellers’ cheques. Money transfers are no problem with Western Union or another provider.
If you are wondering how much money you will need to travel in Kyrgyzstan, check out the travel budget page.
Money across the Silk Road
More on Kyrgyzstan
- The basics