MONEY AND BANKS
The official currency of Zambia is the Zambian Kwacha (ZMK) which fluctuates quite regularly. As of Jan 2013, Zambia rebased the currency dividing by 1000.
- Kwacha note denominations are K100, K50, K20, K10, and K2
- Coins are in denominations of K1 and 50, 10 and 5 Ngwee
By law – payments within Zambia can only be made in Kwachas, even if the price is quoted in USD, however some establishments will still accept USD. Therefore, it’s always best to enter the country with the required amount of Kwacha for your trip, or else bring with you USD or GBP which can always be exchanged.
There is no limit to the importation of foreign currency, provided it is declared on arrival through a currency declaration form.
Preferably use only the services of a designated Bureaux de Change and keep up-to-date with the most recent exchange rate.
At most southern African border posts, you can exchange USD at the border for local currency – but you won’t get a favourable exchange rate, and are bound to come across informal money changers. Be very aware of scam artists, fake bills, and paper fillers!
PAYING AND WITHDRAWING
Bank operating hours:
- Monday to Friday 08:15-15:30
- Saturdays 08:15-11:30
Most hotels, restaurants, travel agencies and the bigger shops will take credit cards, and bigger banks will usually advance local currency against a credit card.
ATMs are available within Lusaka, Livingstone and other major towns in Zambia. Most banks have ATM’s which accept Visa cards for cash. Visa is more readily accepted than MasterCard or American Express.
Travellers cheques are widely accepted, though no longer commonly used. To avoid additional exchange rate charges, travellers are advised to take travellers cheques in US dollars, Euros or Pounds.