Foreign exchange guide to Benin and the West African franc
What's in this Benin currency guide?
The official currency of Benin (country code: BJ) is the West African franc, with symbol and currency code XOF.
In several central African states the Central African CFA franc (currency code XAF) is in circulation, such as Cameroon - Central African CFA franc. The Central African CFA franc is of equal value to the West African franc. Both XAF and XOF currencies are referred to as the CFA franc.
Save money and time by Ordering your West African franc online from Travelex, you get better rates and can pick up the XOF cash locally or even on travel day at the airport.
Another popular option is to use a Pre-paid Travel Card. Your Debit/Credit Card provider will charge you 2% from market mid-rate, but your bank may also charge an extra 3% as an “Overseas Transaction Charge” plus “Overseas ATM” fees for withdrawing cash.
For card purchases if offered a choice of currencies always select to Pay in West African franc otherwise you may get much worst exchange rates.
Benin is a country located in West Africa. It is known for its rich cultural heritage and history, including the Dahomey Kingdom which was a powerful empire in the region in the 18th and 19th centuries. The official language is French, but many people also speak local languages such as Fon and Yoruba. The country has a tropical climate, with a rainy season from April to July and a dry season from November to April. Agriculture is an important part of the economy, and the main crops include corn, cassava, and beans. Benin is also known for its textiles and crafts, and there are many markets in the country where you can find a wide range of handmade items.
There are many things to see and do in Benin, here are a few ideas:
Visit the Royal Palace of Abomey: This UNESCO World Heritage Site was the capital of the Dahomey Kingdom and is now a museum that showcases the history and culture of the kingdom.
Explore the city of Ouidah: This city is known for its history as a major slave-trading port, and there are several museums and historical sites to visit including the Door of No Return and the Temple of Pythons.
Take a boat trip on Lake Nokoué: This large lake is located near the coast and is a great place to go boating and see local wildlife such as crocodiles and waterbirds.
Visit the Fondation Zinsou: This art museum in Cotonou features works by artists from Benin and other African countries, as well as international artists.
Explore the beaches: Benin has a long coastline on the Gulf of Guinea, and there are many beautiful beaches to visit. Some popular spots include Grand-Popo and Ouidah.
Go shopping at the market: Benin is known for its handicrafts and textiles, and there are many markets where you can find a wide range of handmade items.
Learn about traditional medicine: Benin has a long tradition of using plants and other natural remedies for healing, and there are several organizations that offer tours and workshops on traditional medicine.
Take a trip to the Atakora Mountains: These mountains in the north of the country are known for their natural beauty, and there are several hiking trails and scenic viewpoints to visit.
Travelers to Benin should be aware of the following laws and customs:
It is illegal to bring illegal drugs into the country.
It is against the law to photograph military or government buildings or personnel.
It is illegal to engage in homosexual activity in Benin.
It is important to dress modestly, especially when visiting religious sites or rural areas.
It is customary to ask permission before taking photographs of people.
It is important to respect local customs and traditions. For example, it is considered rude to show the soles of your feet or to touch someone's head.
It is illegal to import certain items into the country, including guns and ammunition, pornography, and certain types of medications.
It is important to have your passport and visa with you at all times, as you may be required to show them to authorities.
It is illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol.
It is always a good idea to research the local laws and customs of a country before traveling there, and to follow the advice of local authorities while you are there.
The domestic currency in Benin is the West African franc.
The three letter currency code for the West African franc is XOF.
No, the West African franc is freely available and convertible. See guide: What is a closed currency?
To get a good (and fair) exchange rate when sending money to Benin you need to find and compare exchange rates for International Money Transfers (IMTs).
The available FX rates for sending money abroad can be very different to the mid-market (wholesale) rate which you see reported online and in the News.
You should especially compare your own bank's exchange rates to those available from Money Transfer specialists to see how much you can save - we make that calculation easy in the below table.
When sending money to Benin it’s important to compare your bank’s rates & fees with those we have negotiated with our partner money transfer providers. To get a better deal you should follow these 4 simple steps :
Use the above calculator to compare the exchange rates of FX specialist providers rates versus your bank's standard rates you can hopefully save around 5% and maybe more - end result is more West African franc deposited into the recipient bank account and less margins and fees kept by the banks!