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Cash & ATMs in Iceland: All on fees, limits, exchange, cash, cards

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cash currency exchange atms in iceland

Iceland, a land of fire and ice, is a realm of stark contrasts and natural wonders. From the geothermal marvels of the Blue Lagoon to the majestic waterfalls of Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss, and from the otherworldly landscapes of the Golden Circle to the vibrant nightlife of Reykjavík, Iceland offers an unparalleled adventure. Navigating this breathtaking country requires a solid understanding of the local cash, ATMs in Iceland and available payment options. This guide will provide you with the financial insights needed to explore Iceland’s dramatic scenery and unique culture with ease and confidence, ensuring an unforgettable journey through the land of the midnight sun.

Will I need cash in Iceland or can I use only a card?

Iceland is one of the most card-friendly countries in the world, with virtually all businesses accepting credit and debit cards, from hotels and restaurants to taxis and buses. Cash is rarely needed, but having a small amount may be useful for very minor purchases or in remote areas.

You will need cash…

Very minimal. Likely for small purchases like souvenirs from street vendors or rural craft markets where card technology might not always be available.

You can swipe your card at…

Almost everywhere: hotels, tours, transport services, restaurants, and bars.
Public transportation, including buses and domestic flights within the country.
Outdoor adventure services, such as guided tours for hiking, glacier walks, and whale watching.
Cultural events and festival entries.

Which currencies are accepted? Can US Dollars, Euros or Pounds be used in Iceland

Accepted Currencies: Iceland uses the Icelandic Króna (ISK), with note denominations of 500, 1000, 2000, 5000, and 10000 krónur.
Use of Foreign Currencies: The local currency is almost exclusively used for all transactions within Iceland. Merchants do not usually accept US Dollars, Euros, and Pounds.

How to get the local currency in Iceland

There are 3 main ways to get the cash in Iceland. They are:

ATMs, or
Currency exchange, or
Money Transfer

Pro-tip: Avoid buying Icelandic Krona in your home country as it is not popular currency worldwide and exchange rates will be poor.

ATMs in Iceland and where do I find them?

There are about 200 ATMs in Iceland. These are operated mainly by 3 of its major banks. You can find them mainly in big cities. ATMs are common at:

Major airports
Market and town squares
Main tourist streets
Shopping malls
Bank branches

These are the places where it will be difficult to find ATMs:

Small airports
Islands
Regional bus stops
Interior of the villages
Remote resorts and retreats

Currency exchanges in Iceland

You can use these places to exchange money in Iceland:

Authorised currency exchange centres: You will find them in some spots near the main street in Reykjavik. Ask to see their authorisation certificate and check if they ask you for documents.
Banks: Bank branches can easily convert your currency to krona, especially from currencies like US dollars, Euros, Pounds, Japanese Yen, Thai Baht, and Singapore dollars. Expect a pay a commission of 0.5% to 2% per transaction.
Hotels and airports: Airports have lots of currency exchanges and so do many large and small hotels. But the exchange rates are not great.

Pro-tip:

Don’t exchange at airports – Rates are poor
Don’t exchange at the black market – You’re likely to be scammed
Bring new notes – Damaged, dirty notes will get you lesser rates or higher fees.

Which types of cards are accepted in Iceland?

ATMs in Iceland will mainly accept Visa, Mastercard, Cirrus, Plus, Amex and UnionPay. Don’t expect them to accept JCB, Diners, Discover or Rupay cards.

To swipe, Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted. You may be able to use your Amex only at a handful of places.

Currency exchanges prefer hard cash for exchange. Cards are accepted at many places. Please be mindful of the fees you will pay if you use your card at a currency exchange.

Are ATMs in Iceland like other countries?

Yes, the ATMs are modern and look and work like those in the US, UK, Europe, Australia, and India. Some of them take your card inside fully during the transaction so don’t forget to take it after withdrawing cash at such ATMs.

ATMs can also offer you the choice of currency conversion with ‘With Conversion’/’Accept Conversion’ or ‘Without Conversion’/’Decline Conversion’. It’s generally advisable to opt for ‘Without Conversion’ or ‘Decline Conversion’ to avoid optional extra fees.

Banks with ATMs in Iceland

The most popular ATMs in Iceland are:

Landsbankinn
Arion Banki
Islandsbanki

What are ATMs called in Iceland?

The word ‘ATM’ is widely used or signage has a bank name with or without the word ‘ATM’.

ATMs and PINs type in Iceland

ATM PIN Length: Typically, 4-digit PINs are accepted.

Merchants accept Chip-and-PIN cards as a standard, and also magnetic stripe cards.

Languages at ATMs and currency exchanges in Iceland

ATMs in Iceland have 2 language options by default – Icelandic and English. Some offer additional options like German and French. You get to choose this option at the start of the transaction itself. If you don’t understand these languages, it’s cool. Use Google Translate’s camera function and translate the options on your phone, live! Note – These translations are not always 100% correct, so take your time and don’t rush through the transaction.

At currency exchange places, you can interact in the 2 languages mentioned above too to get your money in Iceland.

Withdrawal limits and ATM fees in Iceland

Withdrawal limit: ATMs typically restrict the withdrawal per transaction from Kr 50,000 to Kr 500,000, most commonly being Kr 150,000 or Kr 300,000.

ATM fees: Unfortunately there are no fee-free ATMs in Iceland and the ATM fees range from 1.10% of the transaction to KR 300.

Find free ATMs, currency exchanges and money transfers in Iceland with ATM Fee Saver

Find ATMs in Iceland with no fees, along with currency exchange and money transfer options, using the ATM Fee Saver mobile and web app. The app lists the fees for foreign cardholders at these ATMs, plus their withdrawal limits. You can calculate your fees for any withdrawal amount in Iceland. After selecting an ATM, the app’s navigation tool will direct you to it. Information for 50 countries, Iceland included, is covered by the app.

Best ways to avoid high fees at currency exchanges and ATMs in Iceland

For ATMs:
Use low-fee ATMs in the country.
Use the ATM Fee Saver app to find low-fee ATMs.
Opt for Decline Conversion or Without Conversion during ATM transactions.
Consider getting fee-free cards from your home country.

For currency exchanges:
Avoid no-fee exchange offices at all costs to get money in Iceland – If they say no fee, it means they account for their fee in the exchange rate. Nothing is ever free in currency exchanges.
Avoid using credit and debit cards for direct transactions.
Don’t buy krona in your home country – It’s not a popular currency and you’ll get poor exchange rates.
Don’t carry a lot of kroner back home – Again, the exchange rate to sell will be poor. And mostly, currency exchanges outside of Iceland won’t even buy it.

Are currency exchanges and ATMs in Iceland safe to use?

In general, yes. Crime rates around ATMs are low.

Use ATMs at Bank Branches: Opt for ATMs inside bank branches rather than standalone machines. These are generally more secure and less susceptible to skimming devices.
Monitor Your Card Transactions: Regularly check your credit card transactions through your bank’s mobile app or online banking platform. Report any unauthorized transactions immediately.
Avoid Public Wi-Fi for Sensitive Transactions: Be cautious when using public Wi-Fi networks to access your online banking or make credit card transactions. Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) for added security.
Keep Your Card in Sight: During transactions, ensure that your credit card remains in your line of sight. Avoid handing your card to merchants who take it out of sight.
Carry Two Cards: It’s a good practice to carry two credit cards while travelling. This way, if one card faces an issue, you have a backup option.

For currency exchanges, only use authorised and registered exchange places.

Safe to carry cash while travelling in Iceland?

Yes, when travelling in Iceland, it is generally safe to carry cash around. Here are some tips to keep your cash safe while travelling in Iceland:

Spread your cash across different pockets or wallets instead of keeping it all in one place.
Consider carrying some cash in a safety belt or a fanny pack.
Avoid showing a lot of cash in public.
When paying, try not to reveal all your cash.
It’s safer to keep your wallet in your front pockets.
In crowded areas, like streets, trains, and buses, keep your purses, wallets, and bags secure and close to your body.

FAQs

Can I withdraw cash in Iceland free of cost?

No, all bank ATMs in Iceland charge an ATM fee.

Are US, UK, Europe, Australia and other credit cards accepted in Iceland

Absolutely yes! You can usually use credit cards from the US, UK, Europe, Australia, and other countries at ATMs in Iceland.

Are there Bitcoin ATMs in Iceland?

There are a handful of bitcoin ATMs in Iceland.

Are there any Bank of America ATMs in Iceland?

No, there are no Bank of America ATMs in Iceland.

Any Barclays Bank ATMs in Iceland?

No, there are no Barclays ATMs in Iceland.

Any HSBC ATMs in Iceland?

No, there are no HSBC ATMs in Iceland.

Any Standard Chartered ATMs in Iceland?

No, there are no Standard Chartered ATMs in Iceland.

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