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Iraq Currency Exchange

Starting on October 15th 2003 a new national currency known as the ‘new Iraqi dinar’ will begin to replace the existing currency, the ‘old dinar’, and the currency used in the North of Iraq, the ‘swiss dinar’.  The new Iraqi dinar will create a single unified currency that is used throughout all of Iraq and will also make money more convenient to use in people’s everyday lives.

The currency exchange will last from October 15th 2003 to January 15th 2004.  Currency can be exchanged at any time during this three month period.  Locations where money can be exchanged will include banks and other official locations, for example post offices, throughout Iraq.   No fees will be charged for exchanging currency.


The conversion rates for new Iraqi dinars will be as follows:


  • one ‘old dinar’ will be exchanged for one new Iraqi dinar;
  • one unit of the ‘swiss’ dinar will be exchanged for 150 new Iraqi dinars.


Bank accounts and financial contracts in Swiss dinars will also be converted at the rate of 150 new Iraqi dinars for every one Swiss dinar.  Bank accounts and contracts in old Iraqi dinar will not change.


The new currency will have a larger number of denominations than the old currency, with 50, 250, 1000, 5000, 10000 and 25,000 dinar notes, making it more convenient to use.  The new notes will be of higher quality and durability than those currently in circulation and include many anti-fraud features that will provide important protection against counterfeiting.


How will the exchange occur?

(1)   People will come to banks with their currency

(2)   Currency will be counted and its equivalent value in new currency will be paid

(3)   Old currency will be promptly marked and will then be destroyed

(4)   Those with bank accounts will see their balances automatically converted.  Salaries will begin to be paid in the new dinar at the earliest available opportunity.


Currently everyone in Iraq carries a reminder of Saddam in their pockets – on the banknotes they’re using.  Shortly after October 15th the first batch of Saddam notes will go to the incinerator.  At close of business January 15th 2004 Saddam notes will no longer be legal tender.


Below are some answers to frequently asked questions:


What will the new currency look like?


The new Iraqi dinar will look similar to Iraq’s old national dinar (the ‘Swiss’ dinar), with some minor modifications


What will be the rate that is used to convert old currency into new currency?


People who hold one old Iraqi dinar will receive one new Iraqi dinar.  People who have one ‘Swiss’ dinar will receive 150 new Iraqi dinars.


Why were these rates selected?


These rates will help to equalize prices throughout all of Iraq – helping to ensure that the prices of goods will be roughly the same across the whole country.  Key Iraqis, including officials at the Iraqi Central Bank as well as leaders of the autonomous regions in northern Iraq, were consulted on this issue and fully supported this decision.


How will the new currency differ from the existing currency?


The new currency will have a total of six denominations, will be much better protected against counterfeiting, and will last much longer because it will be of higher quality.


Will people need to exchange their currency immediately?


No.  Currency can be exchanged at any time up until January 15th. 


Will the old Iraqi dinar and the Swiss dinar continue to be valid until January 15th?


Yes.  All existing currency will be completely valid until Janaury 15.


Will salaries be paid in new dinars?


Yes.  After the exchange has begun, salaries will begin to be paid in new Iraqi dinars.


How will people be able to identify counterfeit currency?


As the exchange approaches additional details will be provided about how to identify counterfeit notes. 


Staff at currency exchange sites will also be well trained on how to detect counterfeit Iraqi dinars


Counterfeit old Iraqi dinars will not be accepted at the exchange sites.  Those presenting counterfeit notes will not be arrested or charged with a crime, but their money will not be exchanged.


Currency exchange sites will visibly mark old dinars upon their exchange for new ones so that they cannot be stolen and re-exchanged later.  Once the old currency is marked it will no longer be valid currency.




Will the new currency be convertible into other currencies?


Yes.  The new currency will be convertible into other currencies at the market exchange rate that prevails at that time.


Can dollars also be exchanged for new Iraqi dinars?  What will be the conversion rate for dollars?


Dollars will not be converted directly into new dinars during the official exchange.  Following the exchange, dollars will be convertible directly into new dinars at the market exchange rate.  New dinars will also be convertible into dollars as well as other currencies at the market exchange rate.


Will it be possible to exchange currency outside of Iraq?


No.  The only official currency exchange locations will be located within Iraq.


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