Tajikistan uses the somoni as currency. Although you might be able to pay in places with dollar, somoni is still the currency of daily use.
ATM cash withdrawal
2 of the main banks in Tajikistan went bankrupt again in 2016: Tajiksodirotbank and Agroinvestbank. Getting money out of a cash machine has become increasingly difficult since 2016.
It is still possible in Dushanbe, Khujand and Khorog, but be ready to run around a bit trying to get money. Many people wonder: should I bring all my money in cash? Know that you can take out money usually, if the ATM accepts your card.
It is not always certain, though, and it might take some time. To avoid money stress, have at least some cash on hand.
The corner of Bukhoro and Rudaki street in Dushanbe has 5 or 6 ATMs. The Serena Hotel in Dushanbe has an ATM that has been very reliable with $USD. It’s much more central than the ATM in the Hilton (old Sheraton).
MasterCard only works at Kazkom ATMs, present in Khujand and Dushanbe, for instance in the Sheraton Hotel. It’s possible to withdraw dollars there as well. Other banks advertise Mastercard on their ATMs, but Kazkom is the only one actually able to process requests at the moment. There are several ATMs which accept Visa, including one in Khorog.
A full list of ATM’s can be found at Tajiksodirotbank.
Currency exchange Tajikistan
Both US dollar and Euro are widely accepted in Tajikistan. In smaller places without official currency exchange, people might be more willing to take dollar than euro.
There is still a black market for dollars, but the exchange rate is not that far from that of the banks. It’s also illegal, so watch out. Exchanging dollar into somoni will never be a problem – they are very happy to see you. The other way around is much more difficult, as banks often do not have dollars in stock.
You can exchange your leftover somoni into Uzbek or Kyrgyz som on either side of the busier land borders (in Osh if you are coming from the Pamirs), but do not leave it until the airport if you are flying out. You can exchange somoni in Uluqqat (China), but we do not know where to exchange somoni in Afghanistan.
If you are going from Osh towards the Pamir, exchange your dollars for somoni in Osh. The rate is higher than what you would receive anywhere in Pamir. Currency exchange offices are gathered on Navoi street near the bazaar, just before the corner with Masalieva (OSM). Dushanbe and Khujand have even better rates, though, so if you are going there first, do not exchange in Osh.
High-end hotels in Dushanbe exchange money also on Sundays, when banks close, in dedicated currency exchange booths.
Credit cards and money transfer
Tajikistan is a cash economy. Paying by credit card or travellers’ cheque will be possible only in high-end hotels. Money transfer on the other hand, is everywhere due to the high level of remittances sent back by Tajiks working abroad.
If you’re trying to figure out how much money you will need for your trip to Tajikistan, check out the travel budget page.