Foreign Exchange Guide to Zimbabwe
In this guide we review :
- U.S. dollar info - general info about the U.S. dollar
- U.S. dollar in the markets - recent USD moves and predictions from the FX markets
- Travelling in Zimbabwe - currency & money saving tips
- Buying U.S. dollar cash online - travel money for Zimbabwe
- Sending money to Zimbabwe - save on U.S. dollar bank transfers to Zimbabwe
- U.S. dollar exchange rates - latest info & charts.
U.S. dollar (USD) general currency information
The three letter currency code for the U.S. dollar is USD and the symbol is $. It is the domestic currency in United States, East Timor, Ecuador, El Salvador, British Virgin Islands, US Virgin Islands, Caribbean Netherlands, Turks And Caicos Islands and Zimbabwe.
Other nations besides the United States use the U.S. dollar as their official currency. For instance, Ecuador, El Salvador, and East Timor all adopted the currency independently. The former members of the U.S.-administered Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, which included Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Marshall Islands, chose not to issue their own currency after becoming independent, having all used the U.S. dollar since 1944. Two British dependencies also use the U.S. dollar: the British Virgin Islands and Turks and Caicos Islands. The islands Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba, now collectively known as the Caribbean Netherlands, adopted the dollar on January 1, 2011, as a result of the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles. The U.S. dollar is the official currency for governmental transactions in Zimbabwe.
U.S. dollar (USD) in the markets
Against a basket of currencies, the U.S. dollar held steady in February and March – a welcome change considering the currency’s 15% fall in the preceding 13 months. However, any boost the greenback might receive from higher U.S. interest rates (the Fed hiked again in March) is likely to be offset by the longer-term consequences of U.S. trade tariffs, thinks a growing number of FX analysts. The latest round of tariffs include those on steel and aluminium imports and on $60 billion worth of Chinese goods, all aimed at boosting U.S. manufacturers.
The question of whether China in particular would take retaliatory steps on trade was a hot topic approaching the end of March. Analysts at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, BK Asset Management and Lloyds all said that the dollar would weaken on any escalation of trade tensions. In March, Lloyds reduced its dollar-euro year-end forecast to 0.8 (EUR/USD 1.25), from 0.82.
With trade on everyone’s lips and with traders uninspired by U.S. economic prospects, it is not surprising that the dollar’s trajectory has decoupled in 2018 from that of U.S. interest rate expectations. Despite yields climbing steadily this year, the dollar has sunk.
“It’s easy to see the weak-dollar story persisting,” said ING in February. The bank has forecast dollar-euro at just 0.77 at year-end (EUR/USD 1.3).
The interactive chart below shows the USD to EUR exchange rate for the previous 3 months with rate alerts for days when the exchange rate moved up or down significantly or for 30 day highs and lows.
Currency and money saving tips for Zimbabwe
The use of credit cards is still very limited, with only a few service providers accepting VISA or MasterCards in Zimbabwe. Also, ATM use is very limited for non-citizens, so please do yourself a favour and come with plenty of cash on hand. Zimbabwe is currently experiencing a severe shortage of cash so it’s mostly not currently possible to make cash withdrawals with an international bank card.The U.S. dollar is the official currency for governmental transactions in Zimbabwe. Also legal tender and widely accepted for non-governmental transactions are the Euro, the British Pound Sterling, the Pula, the South African Rand, plus several other currencies.You should check in advance if a restaurant or hotel will accept cards, especially outside Harare.
Zimbabwe has introduced a local issue of Bond Coins to supplement the current money supply. The coins come the denominations of 1, 5, 10, 25 and 50 cents - they are on par with American coins. In supermarkets, you may be given change in chewing gum or sweets if there is no coinage available. Haggling for a better price is common, but keep in mind that most people are very poor.
It’s illegal to leave Zimbabwe with more than $2,000 (or equivalent) in cash. It’s illegal to exchange foreign currency anywhere other than at officially licensed dealers (eg banks). Carry small denomination notes as change is rarely available in smaller businesses.
Zimbabwe Trip Checklist
Travel money for Zimbabwe
Save money and time by Ordering your U.S. dollar online from Travelex, you get better rates and can pick up the USD 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 U.S. dollar otherwise you may get much worst exchange rates.
Travel Money for Zimbabwe
Sending money to Zimbabwe
When sending money to Zimbabwe 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 3 simple steps :
- Open an account with a BER reviewed FX provider (id docs may be required)
- You specify the local or U.S. dollar amount you want to transfer
- Make a local currency domestic transfer for the requested amount to the provider's bank account in your country
- Once your funds are received by the provider the converted USD amount will be transfered to the recipient account you specify in Zimbabwe.
By comparing the 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 U.S. dollar deposited into the recipient bank account in Zimbabwe and less margins and fees kept by the banks!