Armenia and money: what currency to go to Armenia with, where to change money in Yerevan, which cards work in 2024 - Move2Armenia

Armenia and money

Armenia and money


  1. Currency exchange
  2. Do Russian banks operate in Armenia? 
  3. Do they accept Russian cards in Armenia?
  4. Can visitors open an account in an Armenian bank? 
  5. Money transfer systems in Armenia
  6. Prices in Armenia

In 2024, Armenia remains a popular destination for moving/relocating from Russia. You can enter here with an internal Russian passport, many locals speak Russian well, there are direct flights to Yerevan, and there is no requirement for citizens of countries that are members of the EAEU work permit. Tourists also come to the country: Russians fly to Armenia on vacation and to meet with family.

Are you planning to travel to Armenia for the first time or are you considering this country for moving? We've put together a guide to help you figure out the best way to handle everyday financial issues here.

Currency exchange

The currency of Armenia is the Armenian dram (AMD), all local payments are made in it. You will need to exchange any other currency you bring for drams: there will be no problems with exchanging dollars, euros and rubles. You can exchange money right at the airport. If such a need arises in your city, then exchange offices can be found in bank branches, as well as in the vicinity of large supermarkets (the rate will differ, but not critically). Banks are open until approximately 17:00, exchange offices in supermarkets will likely be open until 10 p.m. 

It is important to always have at least a small amount of cash with you. It’s better if these are bills of 1,000-2,000 drams: they will help pay for Taxi [1] or other transport and pay in stores if your card does not work. Also, you should not rely on cards if the route lies outside of Yerevan: in this case, it is also better to calculate the required amounts in cash in advance.

[1] You can pay in Yandex.Taxi using a linked Russian card.

Do Russian banks operate in Armenia?

The Republic of Armenia is a friendly country for the Russian Federation, however, there are no branches of Russian banks, for example, Sberbank. On the territory of the republic there is a local VTB bank branch (branches and ATMs exists both in Yerevan and beyond). This information will be especially useful for VTB clients who plan to stay in Armenia and use Armenian accounts: the bank has simplified the ways for its users to send money from one country to another and offers an instant transfer service via mobile phone number. For such an operation, two accounts will be required: in the Russian and in the Armenian branch. Will tell you more about the service bank page.

Do they accept Russian cards in Armenia?

Visa and Mastercard cards issued in Russia will not work on the territory of Armenia. It will be possible to use UnionPay cards, but they will not work for payment in most places, and you can only withdraw cash through a bank ACBA. ATMs and branches of this bank easy to find in Yerevan, but there are few branches outside it, and it is better to find out the addresses in advance.

From March 30, 2024, MIR payment system cards are accepted only at VTB Bank. You cannot pay in a store or restaurant with this card. The remaining option is to withdraw cash from an ATM.

Can visitors open an account in an Armenian bank?

Foreigners can open an account and make a card in most popular Armenian banks, however, it is important to know that the list of required documents may vary greatly from bank to bank and even from branch to branch. The most popular banks ― Ameria, Inecobank, Araratbank, IDbank and Unibank. When opening an account, you will have to focus on several parameters:

  • a list of documents that the bank employee will ask for. Among them may be a personal income tax certificate, accommodation contract, residence permit, employment contract or other documents confirming income;
  • the cost of opening an account and issuing a card (can vary greatly depending on the situation and parameters - from 3,000 drams in Inecobank to 30,000 in Ameria), the cost of annual maintenance;
  • availability of ATMs;
  • Availability of banking applications: for example, availability of the application in English or Russian, as well as ease of use. Good conditions are offered by IDBank, whose applications allow, for example, making transfers from Armenian cards to Russian ones (and the commission will be low if an Armenian account is opened with IDBank itself, more on that below).

In order to open an account, need to will personally visit the bank branch. Sometimes opening an account is possible on the day of application, sometimes the bank considers the application within several working days. If the bank approves the application, the card can be issued within three to four business days.

Money transfer systems in Armenia

There are several ways to transfer money from Russia to Armenia and back. The most popular and convenient are transfers through the IDPay and Unistream applications. They allow you to make transfers from any Armenian card to the Russian “Mir”. In order to take advantage of these application functions, you need will undergo a validation process and provide passport data. Commission IDPay will be 0.9% (for IDBank clients - 0.5%). In cases where it is not possible to use cards, transfers through Unistream are available at branches of VTB Armenia and Unibank. You can check the map of points where you can send or receive money link, the commission will average around 2.5%.

Prices in Armenia

Those who visited Armenia several years ago may be unpleasantly surprised by rising prices when returning to the country in 2024. Visitors will have to budget extra, although the increased prices are also noticeable to locals. On average, salaries of Yerevan residents are much lower than in Moscow, but the cost of living will not differ so much from the Russian capital. Some things will be more expensive for foreigners: for example, rental prices have increased significantly. The average cost of a two- or three-room apartment not in the very center of Yerevan per month will be about 350,000 drams. Living in the center or in a private house will cost more, especially in winter: there is no central heating system in Armenia, and heating related payments, can increase greatly depending on the type of building and area.

Additional expenses will include accompanying documents. Behind opening a bank account you may need to pay up to 30,000 drams (7,000 rubles), and for residence permit you will have to pay a fee of 105,000 (24,500 rubles).

Shopping and trips to cafe, most likely, will cost the same amount as in Russia (but it will be tastier!). What is really cheaper in Armenia are vegetables and fruits, which can be bought in private stalls or at markets, and transport. Public transport costs only 100 drams, however, both the metro and bus networks are not available in every area. A trip to the Taxi: the road from the airport to the center will cost less than 2,500 drams (about 580 rubles), the road around the city will cost 800-1,500 drams (180-350 rubles).

If necessary, obtain medical care You will also need to count on additional expenses. Russians living in Armenia have the opportunity to receive basic medical care for free if they do social card and register at the nearest clinic. A paid appointment with a specialist can cost 10,000-15,000 drams (2,300-3,500 rubles).

We hope that our guide will help you better plan your trip to Armenia.

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