Local Currency in Ghana

Dollars? Rupees? Yuan? Baht? Riyals? Euros? Pounds?

The local currency in Ghana is called “cedis”. The sub-currency is called pesewas. To check out the current exchange rate visit: www.xe.com.


Accessing your money abroad:

We recommend using your bank card (ATM/debit card) attached to your U.S. bank account. Using ATM cards enables you to access your own personal bank account from any ATM machine around the world. The primary advantages of getting money from an ATM are 24-hour access and preferential exchange rates.

In Ghana students should take their ATM cards and at least one credit card with them for emergencies. Credit cards are not in high use, but hotels and airlines will accept them. ATM cards can be used at numerous ATM machines throughout the city. Students can also use traveler’s checks, but the best option and best exchange rate is to use the local ATMs. Traveler’s checks are okay, but do not offer the best rate of exchange and can be tedious to exchange. Students are encouraged to take out $300-400 from the ATM at a time and only carry what is needed on a daily basis. The rest should be put in a secure location in their room. Students can change money at the airport near the baggage claim before leaving the airport. The airport now has an ATM machine too.


Check with your bank to make sure you can use your card overseas, and to inform them that you will be living abroad. Give them your dates, and all the countries you anticipate traveling to. It is not uncommon to be cut off from your bank account after using your card abroad, even after giving them forewarning. If this happens, don’t panic! Banks do this to protect their clients, and we should be grateful! If this happens to you, you just need to contact your bank to ensure them that you are in possession of your card and that you need to have access to your account while you are abroad. If you have a shared account with a family member and their name is also on the account, sometimes it’s helpful to get word to them to call the bank for you, considering the time difference between countries.

In order to withdraw cash from an ATM using a debit or credit card, you must have a 4-digit pin. While you’re most likely very familiar with your debit PIN, you might not know a PIN for your credit card. Be sure to ask before you travel, banks will not release this information over the phone, via text, through an email, or in any other way than to mail your PIN to the mailing address associated with your account.

Many ATMs in Europe only accept debit/credit cards that have the Cirrus, Plus, Visa, MasterCard, or American Express symbol on the back of the card.  It is a good idea to have both options available – an ATM card and a credit card – just in case of an emergency. When you use your bank card, the ATM machine will automatically convert the money into the local currency for you. Please ask your bank about their fees associated with international transactions, they may charge you anywhere from $5.00 to $7.00 per transaction, and that adds up!