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Maybe you have heard that the best option for tourists visiting Iran is to carry cash. It is not safe to carry lots of cash with yourself while going here and there.
Moreover, money changers are not always available so, is there any way to open a bank account in Iran and take a credit or debit card from an Iranian bank?
The answer is, officially yes but practically no.
The required documents are so much and the process of opening bank account for foreigners takes so long in Iran that your visa would be expired before the bank agrees to open an account for you.
So what to do?
One option is to take “tourist card”. After entering Iran, just go to Melli, Tejarat or Saman bank and show your passport and visa and they will provide debit card for you.
The maximum amount you can charge your card is five thousand American dollars and your card will be valid for at most one year.
When you want to go back your country, you can go to a money changer in Iran and change all your Iranian money into international currencies by using your “tourist card”.
The problem with “tourist card” is that, nobody is sure how much the bank will buy your currency. Probably the bank will change your currency into Iranian money much lower than money changers.
The other option is to have a trusted friend in Iran and ask him/her to get an account under his/her name and you transfer the money from the changer to that account.
Then your friend gives you the debit card and its pin code and you can enjoy shopping in Iran and having your money safe.
The other option is to buy a gift card in Iran. You can buy it from every bank easily and you can use it everywhere exactly as debit card.
Just keep a little cash with yourself to pay to taxi and etc. the problem with gift card is that, before buying the gift card you need to change your money into Iranian money in money changer and carry it with yourself to the bank.
The other problem is that, you can charge it just in the beginning and it’s not rechargeable.