Cheapest Currency in the World | Foreign Currency 101

In this article, weโ€™re exploring the Iranian rial, which is the cheapest currency in the world. Needless to say, this is not a currency that you will commonly find offered by financial institutions around the world.

This article is part of our free series on foreign currency bank accounts which you can access here.

Feel free to use the table of contents to jump ahead to the sections most relevant to you.

Table of Contents

  1. Cheapest Currency in the World
  2. What Can Affect the Exchange Rate of the Cheapest Currency?
  3. Frequently Asked Questions
  4. Do You Want Help Opening Bank Accounts?

Cheapest Currency in the World

The cheapest currency in the world in terms of exchange rate against international currencies is the Iranian rial, which is the official currency of Iran with currency symbol ๏ทผ and ISO 4217 code IRR.

The Iranian rial has continued to fall in terms of foreign exchange value for over a decade. In 2013, the rial was trading at 25,000 IRR to 1 USD, in 2023 the rial is trading at over 42,000 to 1 USD.

However, itโ€™s important to point out that those numbers reflect the official conversion rates. The unofficial black market exchange rate (the real rate of exchange) in Iran is actually around 500,000 IRR to 1 USD. In other words, the rial is at the bottom of the global currency ranking and is the cheapest currency to buy with any other world currency.

The continued fall of the rial over the last decade has been in part due to sanctions imposed by the United States, the European Union, and other nations. However, more recently, increasing inflation has continued to weigh down on the Iranian economy, which has put additional pressure on the currency valuation.

Needless to say, it appears that the rial will retain its rank as the lowest-value currency in the world when compared to other currencies, like the Chinese renminbi, United States Dollar, and other global currencies. With this in mind, if you happen to hold any rial and are looking for foreign exchange options, it might be difficult to facilitate.

What Can Affect The Exchange Rate of the Cheapest Currency?

There have been a number of factors that have affected the exchange rate of the Iranian rial, which is currently the cheapest currency in the world.

  • International sanctions have placed pressure on Iranโ€™s economy, weakening the rial in international markets.
  • Increasing inflation continues to weaken the supply and demand conditions locally.
  • Unsustainable monetary policy (money printing) that doesnโ€™t reflect the actual supply and demand conditions of the economy.
  • Increasing government debt is outpacing the overall economic activity in the country.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Below are a few of the most common questions we receive from people looking into the cheapest currency in the world. If you have further questions you would like to ask our team, donโ€™t hesitate to get in touch.

Which Countries Have the Lowest Currencies?

The countries with the lowest currencies in the world include Iran, Vietnam, Laos, Sierra Leone, Lebanon, Indonesia, and Uzbekistan. These seven countries are home to the seven lowest-value currencies in the world, in comparison to USD (and other currencies).

What Is the Richest Currency in the World?

The richest currency in the world is the Kuwaiti dinar. The dinar has the currency symbol ุฏ. ูƒ, and ISO 4217 Code KWD trades at 1 KWD to 3.25 USD. Over the last ten years, the Kuwaiti dinar (KWD) has been stronger in terms of exchange rate than the United States dollar (USD).

What Country Has the Lowest Money In Terms of Overall Value?

The country with the lowest money in terms of overall value is Iran. The Iranian rial is the cheapest currency in the world and has experienced ongoing drops in overall value over the last ten years. That said, in order to capture the true fall in the value of the rial, black market exchange rates need to be assessed, which are generally ten times lower than the official exchange rates.

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GlobalBanks Team
GlobalBanks Team

The GlobalBanks editorial team comprises a group of subject-matter experts from across the banking world, including former bankers, analysts, investors, and entrepreneurs. All have in-depth knowledge and experience in various aspects of international banking. In particular, they have expertise in banking for foreigners, non-residents, and both foreign and offshore companies.

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