Currency in Uganda

What Currency Does Uganda Use Now

The official currency of Uganda is the Ugandan Shilling, denoted by UGX. This currency, introduced in 1987, is the latest in the line of currencies used in the country, succeeding the former East African shilling. A robust and vibrant economy that's speared by Agriculture, Services, and Industry sectors, Uganda sees maids the widespread use of its currency across all trades. The Ugandan Shilling comes in several denominations, with both coin and paper money in circulation. The coin denominations are UGX:1, UGX:2, UGX:5, UGX:10, UGX:50, UGX:100, UGX:200, UGX:500 and UGX:1000. The paper money denominations are UGX:1000, UGX:2000, UGX:5000, UGX:10,000, UGX:20,000 and UGX:50,000.

Credit and Debit Cards in Uganda

In recent years, there has been a surge in the acceptance and use of credit and debit cards in Uganda, primarily in urban areas and major tourist destinations. Most large hotels, international car rental agencies, and upscale restaurants will accept major credit cards like Visa, MasterCard, and American Express.

However, it's important to note that in more remote areas and small businesses, cash is still the prefered method of payment. Cashless systems are not yet fully integrated into the entire commerce fabric of the country, and the penetration of card-based transactions is relatively low compared to developed countries.

Furthermore, some businesses can add a surcharge of around 5% to 10% on credit card transactions, so always ask before making a payment.

Using Cash in Uganda

To truly experience Uganda, venturing beyond the urban hubs and into rural landscapes is a must. In these areas, cash remains king. It is vital to have a supply of Ugandan Shilling on hand. While Forex bureaus in cities convert most international currencies into Ugandan Shillings, it’s recommended to carry USD as they are widely recognised, highly convertible and should preferably be issued after 2006, as older notes may not be accepted due to fraud concerns.

Small vendors, local markets, convenience stores and many restaurants outside tourist areas prefer or only accept cash. Therefore, while exploring the heart of Uganda and its unique culture, remember, cash is your best bet.

ATMs in Uganda

ATMs are readily available throughout major cities and towns in Uganda. Most accept international Visa cards, and some machines also accept MasterCard. There is usually a per-transaction limit on withdrawals, and bank fees for international transactions can add up, so it's worth checking these details with your home bank before travel.

ATMs from Barclays, Standard Chartered and Stanbic tend to be reliable. Eco Bank and Crane Bank ATMs can often accept Mastercard. Note that ATMs tend to run out of cash on weekends, so plan your cash withdrawals accordingly.

Bank Hours

Banking hours in Uganda typically run from Monday to Friday, 8:30 AM to around 6:00 PM. Some banks offer half day service on Saturdays from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM. It's worth noting that banking hours can vary depending on the bank and its location, particularly in rural areas where banks may close early.

PLEASE NOTE: Always be aware of your surroundings when using ATMs or handling cash, as in any country. Protect your pin and keep your cash safe.

In conclusion, while electronic payments are gradually gaining acceptance, Uganda still largely remains a cash-based economy, especially outside major cities. Therefore, a combination of credit/debit cards and cash in Ugandan Shillings will serve you well during your wanderlust endeavors in the Pearl of Africa.