According to plus-size-tips, the Turkmenistan currency is the new Turkmenistan manat (TMT). The exchange rate is set by the Turkmenistan Central Bank and has been based on a rate of 3.41 manat per dollar since it was devalued in January 2015. With this exchange rate, the currency is considered significantly overvalued. Accordingly, a lively black market for currency transactions has developed. The deviation from the official exchange rate is between 20 and 100% depending on the season (smaller deviation in summer than in winter), day of the week (the greatest deviation is achieved in the middle of the week) and time (smaller deviation at noon than in the morning).
In the course of the current economic crisis, the TMT on the black markets fell significantly in value in the course of 2017 and is currently 4 to 7 TMT per US dollar, depending on the region and negotiating skills. Taking into account the associated (considerable!) Risks, visitors can therefore significantly reduce the costs of their stay in the country with good negotiations.
However, exchanging money outside of the state-licensed exchange offices and banks is illegal and is severely punished. The risk is incalculable. Accordingly, black market transactions are urgently advised against, despite the tempting exchange rates. In addition, every time you change money, you have to obtain an exchange receipt stating that the exchange has taken place legally. Receipts issued on the black market are often crude forgeries that can hardly be identified as such by the visitor, but unequivocally by the inspectors upon departure and then lead to major problems.
Traders still use the units of the old Turkmenistan manat, but for the sake of simplicity reduced by a factor of 1000. If a trader requests “150” for a product in the bazaar, this can mean 150 TMT (about 44 USD according to the official exchange rate or 25 USD if it was exchanged at a cheap black market rate). As a rule, however, this means 150,000 old Turkmenistan manats and accordingly 30 TMT, which in turn results in a dollar price of 5 to 8 USD. Whether the product offered in the example is offered for USD 5 or USD 44 depends on whether the retailer is calculating in the old or new manat as well as on the honesty and skill of the visitor in exchanging his foreign currency in TMT.
It should be noted that hotels, travel agencies and other service providers are increasingly requesting receipts from state banks for the exchange of currency when paying in TMT.
All foreign currencies must be declared upon entry. It is not allowed to export more foreign currency out of the country than was brought in on entry. The difference between imported foreign exchange and the (lower) sum of exported foreign exchange must be proven by means of exchange receipts during random exit controls. It is essential to keep the exchange receipts issued for every legal exchange of money. These controls can be time-consuming, and a corresponding waiting time should be taken into account when planning the time to cross the border. In line with the increasing discrepancy between the official exchange rate and the exchange rate traded on the street, these controls have been tightened since the beginning of 2015.
Incorrect information in the currency form will be severely punished. The import or export of money that goes beyond the usual needs should be clarified with the Turkmenistan business partners to avoid difficulties.
Almost all payments are made in cash. Very few hotels accept credit cards (VISA, Master Card). Credit cards are unknown outside of these hotels. Dollar bills can be changed at all major banks, euros at the branches of Prezidentbank and some other banks. The commissioned tourism organization can provide information on this. In any case, make sure that the dollar and euro bills are absolutely flawless. The bills will be rejected if they are damaged, discolored or marked. If they show only minor damage or several kinks, it is occasionally possible to exchange at least at a worse exchange rate. All US $ bills printed before 1996 will be rejected without exception. In addition, exchanging US $ 100 bills can be difficult.
The export of manat is not allowed, but is tolerated for the smallest amounts (in the sense of souvenirs)
Outside of Turkmenistan, it is not possible to buy new Turkmenistan manats or to exchange them for other currencies.
The exchange of manat for foreign currency has not been possible without restrictions since 2016. No consistent regulation is currently discernible in this regard. Numerous banks forbid the redemption entirely, some only exchange upon presentation of exchange receipts as proof of legally acquired manat, with some banks the redemption is still successful. In line with the unpredictable development, it is therefore advisable to orient the exchange of foreign currency in manat to actual needs and to exchange them if necessary. The exchange of foreign currency in manat is possible at any time without any problems.
Experience has shown that foreigners can usually still be exchanged for comparatively small sums by submitting the exchange receipts as proof of the previously legal exchange of foreign currency into manats. The exchange receipt will then be canceled according to the amount exchanged.
ATMs are extremely rare. Locations of functioning machines are currently not known.
Due to the constantly changing regulations, no guarantee can be given for this information either. If in doubt, it makes sense to inquire at the tourism agency and the relevant Turkmenistan embassy.