Currency in Nepal - A Full Guide 2024
Planning a trip to Nepal? Whether you’re heading there for work or pleasure, you’ll need to know how to pay your way as you travel.
This guide covers all you’ll need to know about the official currency in Nepal, where to get it and how to keep your costs down during your trip.
What is the currency in Nepal?
The official currency in Nepal is the Nepalese Rupee, which is issued and overseen by the Nepal Rastra Bank. If you’re buying your travel money online you may also see the official code being shown - NPR. In stores and restaurants, Nepalese Rupee prices are likely to use the currency symbol रू.
Once you’re in Nepal you’ll see costs of items shown in NPR and you’ll need to start paying for things in local coins and notes which are often found in the following denominations:
banknotes - 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500, 1000 NPR and coins - 1, 2, 5, 10, 25, 50 paisa; 1, 2, 5, 10 NPR.
Can you officially pay in GBP when you are in Nepal?
You’re unlikely to be able to officially transact in GBP in Nepal, which is why it’s time to start getting used to NPR and learning more about the currency exchange rates so you’ll know what you’re spending on your trip.
This guide will walk through all you need to know, including British pound/Nepalese Rupee rates and where best to get your travel money from.
|Nepal Rastra Bank
|Best travel cards to take to Nepal
NPR coins and banknotes
Here’s a full rundown of the NPR coins and banknotes you’ll need to be familiar with when you’re in Nepal.
|banknotes - 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500, 1000 NPR
|coins - 1, 2, 5, 10, 25, 50 paisa; 1, 2, 5, 10 NPR
History of Nepalese Rupee currency
The Nepalese Rupee (NPR) was introduced in 1932, replacing the silver mohar at the rate of two mohar = one rupee. The change was part of the modernization efforts of the Rana rulers. The rupee was pegged to the Indian Rupee for a long time, reflecting the close economic relationship between Nepal and India. The currency is issued by Nepal Rastra Bank, the central bank of Nepal. The country's economy is largely dependent on tourism and remittances, which influences the value and stability of the Nepalese rupee.
Is GBP accepted in Nepal?
As we’ve seen, the official currency in Nepal is NPR. If you carry GBP with you on your trip, you’ll probably need to exchange it before you can spend.
Sometimes when you’re away on a trip abroad you’ll find that merchants will take payments in a selection of major foreign currencies. However, the chances are that where this is offered, you won’t get a good exchange rate for your GBP. Planning smart and convenient ways to spend in NPR when you’re away is likely to mean you save on costs in the end.
Usually, having a few different ways to pay and get cash is the best option for travelers and tourists. That’s because you’ll have a back up plan in case one payment method isn’t accepted for any reason, and you can pick the method that’s best suited to the specific transaction. Having a multi-currency card from a provider like Wise or Revolut, plus your normal bank debit card, and some local cash in NPR should mean you’ve always got options. You can use your cash for small purchases and tipping, and make low cost payments and cash withdrawals with your multi-currency card, while keeping your bank card in reserve for emergencies.
Use a travel card on your next trip to Nepal
Using a travel debit card in Nepal is usually cheap, safe and convenient. A few providers in the UK offer multi-currency cards which come with a linked payment account that lets you convert, hold and spend in NPR. That allows you to add a balance in GBP and switch over to NPR to lock in the exchange rate and set your travel budget.
Once you have NPR in your account there are no extra fees to make payments, and you’ll not have foreign transaction charges to worry about, either.
Here’s a quick overview of a couple of handy travel debit cards you may want to order and use in Nepal.
Wise travel card
Order a Wise travel card online or in the Wise app, to hold and exchange 40+ currencies and manage your money from your phone. You’ll be able to spend conveniently in NPR - and all currency exchange uses the mid-market rate with no markup.
Card holders get some free ATM withdrawals available every month, and there’s no annual or monthly fees to pay, and no minimum balance requirement.
✅ Currency exchange uses the mid-market rate
✅ No foreign transaction fees apply
✅ Free to hold and spend 40+ currencies
✅ Receive payments to your Wise account in a selection of global currencies
✅ No minimum balance or ongoing fees
❌ Card order fee applies
❌ ATM fees apply once you’ve exhausted your free monthly withdrawals
Revolut offers several different account plans so you can pick the one that suits your needs and spending, including some with no monthly fees. All account plans let you hold and exchange multiple currencies in the same account, and there’s no-fee to spend currencies you hold.
Depending on the plan you pick you’ll get fixed levels of no-fee ATM withdrawals and mid-market currency exchange every month. Low fees apply once you exhaust your plan no-fee limits.
✅ Hold and exchange a selection of global currencies, spend currencies you hold with no extra fee
✅ Choose from different account tiers to suit different customer needs
✅ Get some currency exchange every month which uses the mid-market rate - limits vary by account plan
✅ No card order fee
✅ Some account tiers have extra perks including travel benefits
❌ Ongoing fees apply for some account tiers
❌ No branch network for a face to face service
❌ Fees apply once you exhaust your account no-fee transaction limits
What is the currency exchange rate for £ 1 GBP/NPR?
It’s helpful to get to know the live GBP/NPR rate so you can easily calculate how much things are costing you while you’re on your trip abroad. The rate you need to focus on is the mid market rate, which is the one banks and major currency services get when buying and selling currencies. This rate isn’t always passed on to customers. Instead you may find that the GBP/NPR rate you get when exchanging travel cash includes a markup - an extra fee.
Find the GBP/NPR mid-market rate from a currency conversion site or a website like this, so you can keep an eye on the market and compare the rates you’re offered as you travel against the mid-market rate easily.
Should I exchange GBP to NPR before traveling to Nepal?
It’s a good idea to exchange GBP to NPR before you head off to Nepal, as you can often find a better exchange rate and lower overall costs before you travel.
When you’re in Nepal you’re going to need NPR in cash for some of your spending - particularly when tipping or making smaller value purchases. Buying your NPR travel money in advance can get you better GBP/NPR exchange rates, and saves you wasting precious time shopping around for a good deal once you arrive in Nepal.
Tips for exchanging money in Nepal
At merchants and ATMs, make sure you’re charged in NPR. If you’re asked if you’d rather pay in GBP instead, say no. That’s a sign of dynamic currency conversion, which usually means extra costs. ATMs are widely used in Nepal so withdrawing money in target-currency is easy, particularly in big cities and Kathmandu.
Best place to exchange currency in Nepal
You can get your NPR in Nepal in a couple of ways.
Or if you prefer an offline solution you can carry some cash in GBP to exchange when you arrive. Currency exchange providers are often in airports and hotels, although the exchange shops in a city center are likely to be cheaper overall.
How to pay in Nepal?
You’ll need to have NPR to spend in Nepal. However, generally having a few different payment methods is a good plan. That means that if a merchant won't accept one, you’ve got a back up. It’s also reassuring to know you have a different way to pay if you were unlucky enough to have a card or some travel cash stolen. Here are your key payment options in Nepal.
1. Debit or credit card
Card payments can be helpful in shops, restaurants and hotels but there will be places where cash is also important. Order a travel card from a provider like Wise or Revolut for cheap and fast transactions, including card payments and cash withdrawals as and when you need travel money in NPR.
2. NPR cash
Cash is widely used in Nepal, so it’s worth having some with you at all times. You may want to exchange money to NPR before you leave, but it’s also usually convenient to make ATM withdrawals locally once you arrive in Nepal.
You’ll usually find you can use a card to make payments in Nepal, but carrying some cash in NPR is also reassuring. It’s often easier for tipping and making smaller purchases, plus you’ve got a nice backup if your card is ever out of action for some reason.
It’s a smart idea to have both a card and some cash in NPR when you’re in Nepal. Some merchants will prefer cash, but having a card for higher value payments and in busier more tourist places is also convenient. Consider using a travel card from a provider like Wise or Revolut alongside your cash for flexibility.
Paying for the trip in GBP
If you’re paying for things in Nepal with a GBP bank card you might find a foreign transaction fee is added. This pushes up your costs when you spend in a foreign currency, and can be tricky to calculate.
Travel debit cards don’t always work this way. When you make purchases in Nepal using the Wise card you can either choose to convert your account balance to NPR in advance in the Wise app, or just leave your balance in GBP and let the card handle the transaction when you pay. You’ll always get the lowest available fee and there are no extra foreign transaction charges.
Conclusion - Currency in Nepal
You won’t be able to pay in GBP when you visit Nepal - so learning about the currency you need is essential. Whether you decide to use a travel debit card from a service like Wise , or stock up on NPR in cash in advance, knowing the mid-market exchange rate can help you get the best available deal. Use this guide to learn all you need to know about the options, rates and fees for exchanging GBP to NPR, and make your money go further while you’re away.
The official currency in Nepal is NPR. You can’t usually pay in GBP in Nepal, so you’ll need to plan in advance to get your travel money sorted. Consider ordering a travel debit card from a service like Wise, for low cost conversions to NPR and convenient spending and withdrawals - and remember that knowing the GBP to NPR mid-market exchange rate is essential to check you’re getting a fair deal on currency exchange.
FAQ - Currency in Nepal
What is the currency in Nepal called?
The official currency in Nepal is the Nepalese Rupee. You may also see the code NPR and the currency symbol रू.
What's the currency in Kathmandu?
The official currency in Kathmandu is the Nepalese Rupee. You’ll only be able to spend in NPR while you’re there.
What is the old Nepal currency?
Today the currency in Nepal is the Nepalese Rupee. If you’re worried about currencies changing, why not get a travel debit card from a service like Wise which will automatically pick the currency needed in your destination when making a payment - with no penalties or inflated fees.
What is the best currency to take to Nepal?
You’ll only be able to spend in NPR while you’re in Nepal. Carrying some money in cash and using a travel debit card from a service like Wise is usually the best way to spend while you’re away from home.