Blossoming rainforests, hidden beaches, elaborate castles-turned-museums and exotic wildlife are a few of the many reasons Ghana remains one of the most popular destinations for international travelers to West Africa. On the Gulf of Guinea, Ghana’s larger cities and more secluded natural landscape offer visitors a multifaceted immersion into the local environment.
Obviously, with so much to do and see, coming prepared with enough money to adequately enjoy the trip is integral, especially if you're traveling with foreign currency and planning to convert it upon arrival. Since credit and debit fraud is a very present criminal activity risk in Ghana, traveling and paying with cash are the safer bet. However, a few rules of thumb exist for handling currency in Ghana. Read up for the current best practices for currency exchange in Ghana.
The official Ghanaian local currency is called the cedi, and the typical exchange rate from dollars in your bank account to cedi is nearly one to five. While the Ghanaian government has, in recent years, relaxed a lot of old entry requirements concerning foreign currency restrictions, visitors should come prepared with enough United States dollars to exchange for cedi. Those working in the tourism service industry are required to only accept cedi as payment, so if you’re planning to spend any money, you’ll want to have enough Ghana currency.
The good news is that U.S. dollars (usd)are the most-recognized foreign currency, and, in large cities like Accra, there are places to exchange dollars as well as to withdraw cedi from an ATM. According to the U.S. Department of State’s gov Bureau of Consular Affairs, those traveling into and out of Ghana are restricted to bringing a maximum of $5,000 either way. This money must be declared at customs in the international airport with a BOG Foreign Exchange Declaration Form that travelers can download from the Bank of Ghana’s website prior to leaving. Given the high charge for exchanging money, travelers should bring enough dollars to exchange a lot at once to avoid recurring fees.
Using Cards or Checks in Ghana
Living in the tech age has made traveling and paying with credit cards in foreign countries as simple as a single, no-contact swipe. However, using a card to pay for items while traveling around Ghana is something tourists should consider avoiding for a variety of reasons. Ghana has, for a long time, had a big issue with credit fraud, and tourists constantly tapping their card throughout the cities are at a much larger risk of falling victim.
Additionally, many places around Ghana only accept Visa and, sometimes, Mastercard. Those traveling with an American Express credit card or traveler’s checks are likely to be out of luck. If tourists are really in a pinch and need a traveler’s check exchanged, they should head to the main office of Barclays Bank in Accra.
When traveling abroad, always take multiple methods of payment. But in Ghana, visitors should think about limiting card use to ATM withdrawals from major banks in big cities.