The dinar (Arabic: دينار Dīnār Baḥrainī) (sign: .د.ب or BD; code: BHD) is the national currency of Bahrain. It is divided into 1000 fils (فلس). The name dinar derives from the Roman denarius. The dinar was introduced in 1965, replacing the Gulf rupee at a rate of 10 rupees = 1 dinar. The Bahraini dinar is abbreviated .د.ب (Arabic) or BD (Latin). It is usually represented with three decimal places denoting the fils.
Fixed exchange rate
In December 1980, the dinar was officially pegged to the IMF's special drawing rights (SDRs). In practice, it is fixed at 1 U.S. dollar = BD .376, which translates to approximately 1 dinar = 2.65957 dollars and, consequently, almost 10 Saudi Arabian Riyals. This rate was made official in 2001. Before Malta's adoption of the euro on 1 January 2008, it was the third highest-valued currency unit after the Kuwaiti dinar and Maltese lira. After Malta adopted the Euro, the dinar became the second highest-valued currency unit.
In 1965, coins were introduced in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 25, 50 and 100 fils. The 1, 5 and 10 fils were struck in bronze, with the others in cupro-nickel. The 1 fils coin was not produced after 1966 and no longer circulates. In 1992, brass replaced bronze in the 5 and 10 fils and a bimetallic 100 fils coin was introduced. A bimetallic 500 fils followed in 2000.
On October 16, 1965, the Bahrain Currency Board introduced notes in denominations of ¼, ½, 1, 5 and 10 dinar; a 100-fil note was introduced on September 2, 1967. In 1973, the Bahrain Monetary Agency took over the issuance of paper money, and in 1979 it introduced a new family of notes dated 1973 in Arabic, with denominations of ½, 1, 5, 10 and 20 dinar. On September 7, 2006, the Bahrain Monetary Agency was renamed the Central Bank of Bahrain. On March 17, 2008, the Central Bank of Bahrain introduced a new family of notes reflecting Bahrain's heritage as well as its modern development. Saudi riyals are also acceptable in Bahrain, with the exception of the Saudi 500 riyal note which is only accepted in major supermarkets, airports and electronic shops.
Currency exchange is available at banks, money exchanges, hotels and international airports. Bahrain banks offer the same range of services typical in other nations, and cash withdrawal machines or Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) are widespread, although facilities may be limited in remote towns and the Outback. EFTPOS is also widely available in most Bahrain shops. Fees may be charged on transactions, particularly if withdrawing from an international account.
Banking hours are usually 7.30am to 2.00pm Sunday to Thursday. Some branches can be found open on Saturday mornings. Bahrain’s seven largest banks are: National Bank of Bahrain, Ahli United Bank, National Bank of Kuwait, Bank Muscut International, Citibank, Standard Chartered Bank and HSBC. Islamic banks include: BISB, Ithmaar Bank, and Al Salaam Bank.
Bahrain Post also provides banking services on behalf of more than 70 banks and financial institutions, so you can use your credit or debit card for utility bill payments, paying credit card bills and sending money overseas.
If you plan to stay in Bahrain for any length of time or are visiting on a Working Visa or other type of extended visa, you may wish to open an Bahrain bank account. In Bahrain, most income including salary or wages and government benefits is paid directly into a bank account.
If you need to send or receive money overseas from Bahrain, you can do either online, by international money transfer (telegraphic transfer) or through a bank. It is best to organise a variety of ways to access your money from overseas, such as credit cards, travellers' cheques, cash, debit cards or cash cards before you leave home.
The easiest way to get cash away from home is from an ATM (automated teller machine) with an international network such as Cirrus (Mastercard) or PLUS (Visa). Bahrain ATMs use a four-digit code, so check with your bank and make sure you change yours before you leave home.
Credit cards such as American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard, Visa and JCB are accepted in Bahrain. VISA or MasterCard are commonly accepted and are both accepted everywhere credit cards are accepted. American Express and Diners Club are accepted at major supermarket and department store chains and many tourist destinations. JCB is only accepted at very limited tourist destinations. Discover is not usually accepted.
It is best to carry more than one type of card as not all cards are accepted by all merchants. Always carry a little cash, because many shops will not take cards for purchases under BD5. Merchants may impose credit card surcharges in some places.
Traveller's cheques are not as widely accepted in Bahrain as in many other countries. If you do purchase them, it is best to buy them in Bahraini dinars as smaller shops, restaurants, and other businesses are unlikely to know what the exchange rate is if you present a cheque in a different currency such as US dollars or British pounds.
There is no limit to the amount of currency you can bring in or out of Bahrain, however, if you plan to arrive in Bahrain with more than BD6,000 in cash (Bahraini dinars or foreign equivalent), you must declare it to Bahrain Customs at the airport when you land. You may also be required to fill in a Bearer Negotiable Instruments (BNI) form if you're carrying promissory notes, traveller's cheques, personal cheques, money orders or postal orders. For further information visit the Kingdom of Bahrain Ministry of Interior Customs Affairs.
This handy currency converter will help you convert your own currency at the current exchange rates. Universal Currency Converter.