Foreign exchange guide to Senegal and the West African franc
What's in this Senegal currency guide?
The official currency of Senegal (country code: SN) 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.
Though it’s one of West Africa's most stable countries, Senegal is far from dull. Perched on the tip of a peninsula, Dakar, the capital, is a dizzying, street-hustler-rich introduction to the country: elegance meets chaos, snarling traffic, vibrant markets and glittering nightlife, while nearby Île de Gorée and the beaches of Yoff and N'Gor tap to slow, lazy beats.
The currency used in Senegal is called the West African CFA Franc," pronounced "say-fa." This type of currency is available through money exchange offices, in banks, and through local automated teller machines (ATMs), which are available in Dakar. ATMs are difficult to find outside of the city of Dakar. Tourists normally try to utilize their credit cards while on vacation to make purchases because they are safe to use and the exchange rate with a credit card is usually very good. However, in Dakar , credit cards are usually only accepted in hotels and credit card fraud is very common.
The people who live in Dakar speak many different languages. The official language is French but other languages are spoken as well. Many people in Dakar do speak some English. Local languages include Wolof, Pulaar and Serer.
Senegal is a majority-Muslim country, but you don’t need to worry about covering your knees, head or shoulders in most areas. In larger villages and cities, most local women don’t wear a hijab, and you won’t be showing disrespect by not covering up like you might in parts of India, Malaysia or the Middle East.
While I’ll typically run from guided tours in most countries, it can be helpful to hire a guide if you plan to tour Dakar or take excursions, especially if your French is on the weak side.
Though a yellow fever vaccine isn’t required to enter Senegal, it’s recommended, as are malaria pills and a typhoid vaccine. Using a good mosquito repellent, carrying tissues (as toilet paper can be scarce in public spots) and wearing sunblock are all essential. It can also be extremely dusty during the dry season, so having allergy pills on hand can also be helpful.
The quickest (though still uncomfortable) way of getting around the country is by sept-place taxi – battered Peugeots that negotiate even the most ragged routes. Slightly cheaper, but infinitely less reliable are the minibuses (Ndiaga Ndiaye or grand car), carrying around 40 people. Vehicles leave from the gare routière (transport station) when they're full, and they fill up quickest in the morning, before 8am.
You can hire vehicles in Senegal (Dakar's airport is the best place for this). However, driving here is not for amateurs, with little road signage, reckless motorists and battered bitumen. There are myriad obstacles. Out in the countryside, slow down: you'll be sharing the road with errant goats and cows, bicyclists, pedestrians and overloaded, slow-moving vehicles – with oncoming vehicles swerving wildly into your lane as they pass.
In the past there has been an unreliable train line between Dakar and Bamako (Mali), but this has been out of commission since 2009. There is talk of one day restoring the line.
The domestic currency in Senegal 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 Senegal 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 Senegal 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!
Managing your money effectively while living and working abroad can be challenging, but there are several steps you can take to ensure that your finances are in order.
By following these tips and managing your money effectively, you can reduce financial stress and enjoy your experience living or doing business in Senegal.
Here are a few things you may want to consider when sending money to Senegal:
Choose a reputable money transfer service: Make sure to do your research and choose a reputable service to transfer your money. Consider factors such as exchange rates, fees, and the speed of the transfer.
Consider the exchange rate: The exchange rate you receive may be different from the mid-market exchange rate, which is the rate banks use when they exchange currencies. Some money transfer services may offer better exchange rates than others.
Compare fees: Fees can vary widely between money transfer services, so it's important to compare options to find the most cost-effective solution.
Consider the delivery method: Some money transfer services allow you to send money directly to a bank account in Senegal, while others allow you to send money for pickup at a location in the country. Choose the delivery method that best meets your needs.
Confirm the recipient's information: Make sure you have the correct name and address of the recipient, as well as any other necessary information required by the money transfer service. This will help ensure that the money is delivered to the correct person.
Keep track of the transaction: It's a good idea to keep a record of the transaction, including the transaction ID, the amount sent, and the exchange rate used. This will help you track the status of the transfer and resolve any issues that may arise.
Here we list some key points for expats and businesses to consider when managing financial dealings in Senegal:
Understand West African franc currency exchange rates: Exchange rates can have a big impact on your finances, so it is important to keep an eye on the XOF exchange rate and consider using a currency exchange service or a credit card that does not charge foreign transaction fees to get the best exchange rate.
Use a local West African franc bank account: A local XOF bank account can make it easier for you to manage your finances and pay bills while you are in Senegal. It may also be more convenient to use a local XOF bank account to make purchases and withdraw cash.
Research local laws and regulations: It is important to understand the local laws and regulations that apply to financial transactions in Senegal. This can help you avoid legal issues and ensure that you are complying with local requirements.
Consider the tax implications: It is important to understand the tax implications of living or doing business in Senegal. This can help you plan your finances and ensure that you are paying the correct amount of tax.
Seek financial advice: If you are unsure of how to manage your finances in Senegal, it is a good idea to seek the advice of a financial professional who is familiar with the local financial system. This can help you make informed decisions and avoid financial pitfalls.