Why You Need NEW US Dollar Bills in Rwanda

Yes!!  It’s true.  Basically, Rwanda will not touch your US money if it is older than 2009.  Period.  There is no bargaining or pleading you can do, banks won’t touch and even shops have been told not to touch it.  So, if you bring any old bills…you just cannot use them.

The reason is because in 2003, the US dollar lost its value internationally.  When the value of the dollar went down, many countries stopped accepting the bill altogether instead of trying to figure out currency exchange and different rates.  Then between 2003-2009,  forgery of US dollars went way up and was almost out of control.  The easiest thing to do is not to allow the bills to be used at all.

Also, you money must be crisp and clean. No wrinkles, no tears, no blemishes….nothing like that at all.

Now, you can go to the Forex Bureaus to exchange your money.  They are all over Rwanda, very easy to find, usually better rates and very quick and efficient.  Remember that you get a better rate when you exchange big bills ($100 and $50) verses the smaller ones.

Traveler checks are a HUGE hassle and are heavily discouraged.  Using traveler checks will cause you major headaches as they are not taken in majority of places.

Overall,  make sure you check your money before you come if you plan on using USD.  You can also pull cash from any ATM using your card if you want to make things move a bit easier.  Just know that you can’t pull more than $200 at a time and it will be in the local currency.

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