The official Romania currency is Romanian leu. The currency symbol is leu plural lei and the currency code is RON.
Never heard about this RON?! No worries, you are not the only one who never heard about this currency! I will tell you everything you should know about this, especially if you are visiting Romania for the first time.
First of all, let me give you some brief information about the country and its monetary aspects.
Romania joining European Union as a member since 1 January 2007. Even if the country is in the EU, it is not in Schengen.
The Schengen area is among the best accomplishments of the European Union and also it is translated into an area without internal boundaries, an area where non-EU residents can flow easily without having to show their IDs when they cross from one country to one more.
Romania’s adoption of the EUR will certainly be a great achievement for the country and this is their next target.
In 2014 the country’s Convergence Report set the target date of 1 January 2019 as the date when Romania’s official currency will be euro.
Now we are in 2020 and the currency of Romania is still leu. So, you still need to exchange your money into their national currency when you visit the country.
But before telling you the exchange rates for the euro and USD I would like to tell you some brief information about the history of the Romanian currency.
A short history of Romania currency
The Romanian leu was first introduced in 1867. At that time, 1 leu amounted to 0.29032 grams of gold or 5 grams of 83.5% silver.
In the next years, the Russian Ruble was valued so highly that the native coins ran out of circulation.
Some European nations, including Romania, created the Latin Monetary Union and gold was the basic unit measure adopted.
In 1914 Romania left the gold basic unit measure convention and the leu value dropped. In 1947 the old leu was replaced with a new Romanian leu at the rate value of 20.000 Romanian old lei = 1 Romanian new leu.
The Romanian leu began its devaluation process again and in 1952 an additional new leu was presented at a rate array between 20 to 400 old lei for 1 new leu.
During the communist regime, in between 1970 to 1989, the exchange rate was established via law.
The simple fact of owning and/or attempting to exchange international currency throughout the communist routine was considered a criminal offence and punished by law with prison as much as 10 years.
During communist times, the inflation rate boosted a whole lot as a result of change failings. Things went so bad that in September 2003 for 1 USD you paid 40.000 lei.
In 2005 a new leu appeared and 10.000 old leu = 1 Romanian-new leu.
Romania currency in our days
Let’s get back to our days and tell me more useful information about Romanian currency! So, what currency for Romania do you need to have when travelling to this country? Where can you exchange your money to Romanian leu?
I bet that in your hometown you will not find any exchange office from where to get Romanian leu, however, this is not an issue in all.
I recommend you to buy lei straight from Romania, once you get right here.
Don’t buy lei from the airport exchange offices because the currency exchange rate used by those workplaces are very bad for you as a purchaser!
Hold your cash and better exchange your money to a bank or why not use your credit/ debit card and take out money directly from a cash machine!
In the flight terminal are ATMs where you can withdraw Romanian money and also the only payments applied are the ones from the bank where you have the card.
Believe me, it will be more affordable for you to withdraw money than to exchange them at the airport workplaces!
Not to be misled by all type of people, please know that the average exchange rate of the Romania currency for euro as well as USD is the following:
1 USD = 4.5 Romanian lei
1 EUR= 4.8 Romanian lei
The subdivision of Romanian leu is ban. So if you go to a restaurant or a bar and see on your expense 250.5 it implies 250 lei and 50 bani.
In the end, this is a good thing for tourists! The country is very affordable for most of us! With little money, you will spend an entire holiday here!
You will be amazed by the beauty of this country and by its welcoming people!
My advice is to rent a car and explore the country by yourself. It is a safe country and renting a car is pretty affordable. For about 30 USD per day, you will rent a small car which is perfect to explore Romania.
Get the best price for your car rental today
So, grab your luggage and your wallet and explore the beauty of this European country!