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Madagascar > Tourist information > Exchange rates, currency, payments and banks

Currency unit 

Since 2003, Madagascar has shifted back to its traditional currency, the Ariary (Ar). 


The Ariary was the name of the currency of the Kingdom of Madagascar in the 19th century. During the colonial period in the 20th century, the French Frank served as the currency of the colony. In 1945, the French Frank was replaced with the Franc CFA in Madagascar and other French colonies of Africa. CFA stood for Colonies françaises d'Afrique ("French colonies of Africa"). 


In 1960, Madagascar accessed to independence and introduced the Malagasy Franc (in French: franc malgache) in 1963. Madagascar remained however part of the CFA Franc zone. In the 1970s, Madagascar left the CFA Franc zone, but kept the Malagasy French without fixed parity with the French franc. 


In 2003, Madagascar decided to replace the Malagasy Franc with the Ariary. On January 1, 2005, the change-over was complete after a 2 year transition.

In 2003-2004, new banknotes were introduced in denominations of 100, 200, 500, 1000, 2000, 5000 and 10,000 ariary. 


Euro and US Dollars are the most used foreign currencies in Madagascar.  


As Malagasy currency in not convertible, one had better change according to one’s needs at authorized foreign exchange dealers, i.e. banks, exchange agencies and a few authorized hotels. Do not exchange foreign currencies with non authorized dealers in arrival halls or in streets. 


As of December 12, 2008, the foreign exchange rates were as follows: 

Malagasy Ariary 1000 = 0,41  or US $ 0,54 or £ 0,36  

€ 1      =  Ariary 1860 

US$ 1 =  Ariary 2444 

£ 1     =  Ariary 2773 


As  for current foreign exchange rates, foreign exchange regulations, banknotes and coins in circulation, visit the site of the Central Bank of Madagascar.  



The banking industry is entirely liberalised in Madagascar. There are 7 major commercial 

banks with about 105 agencies across the island. They are open from Monday to Friday. However, banks close at noon the day before public holidays and festivals. 


Bank head offices: 

-- BFV-Société Générale, 4, Rue Général Rabehevitra, Antaninarenina 

-- Banque Malgache de l’Océan Indien (BMOI), Place de l’Indépendance, Antaninarenina 

-- BOA Madagascar (Bank of Africa), 2, Place de l’Indépendance, Antaninarenina 

-- BNI-Crédit Agricole, 74, Rue du 26 Juin 1960, Analakely 

-- SBM Madagascar (State Bank of Mauritius), 1, Rue Andrianary Ratianarivo, Antsahavola 

-- Mauritius Commercial Bank (MCB), Antsahavola 

-- Banque Internationale Chine Madagascar (BICM), Andraharo. 


Some ATMs (automated cash dispensers) are available for people with an international credit card (mastercard at ATMs of the BNI bank, Visa card at ATMs of the BOA and BFV banks,…).  



ariary replaces malagasy franc

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Madagascar exchange rates, Madagascar Currency, payments and banks, Madagascar Money and banking, Madagascar travel directory and travel guide