One of the main issues foreign tourists travelling to Iran face is that they have to carry a large amount of cash because their Visa, Mastercard and all other bank cards don’t work. This is why I find particularly useful Mah Card, a temporary debit card for travellers to Iran.
Carrying your cash around Iran during your trip is safe, but pickpockets can always happen. And with the sanctions making it impossible to use our Visa and Mastercard, the last thing we want while in Iran is to be robbed of our cash.
Also, when you are visiting attractions and bazaars, it’s a pain every time to pull out large amounts of cash and count them all. Using a debit card make things much easier, faster and smoother.
What is Mah Card?
In a nutshell, it’s a pre-paid debit card designed for foreign travellers. It allows you to add funds in your preferred currency and convert them to Iranian Rials (IRR) so that you can use it as an ATM inside Iran.
It’s been out for a while and now it’s becoming always more popular because the number of tourists in Iran is increasing and many don’t feel comfortable in carrying too much cash the whole time or even leave a large amount in their hotel room. But how does Mah Card Iran tourist debit card work? What are its benefits? Is it convenient? We answer all your questions here.
Mah Card Iranian Debit Card For Travellers: How Does It Work?
The process of signing up, buying and collecting your Iranian debit card is actually pretty straightforward. Here is how it works and the steps to follows:
- Sign up to the Mah Card website online and order your card. If you insert my code chasingtheunexpected when purchasing your card, you will have a discount off the total price.
- Top up your Iranian debit card Mah Card with whatever amount you need for your holiday. Here you two options: you either top it up from home with your credit card or you bring cash to Iran and top it up there giving it to the Mah Card staff that you can meet at your hotel.
- Either way, you are going to meet the Mah Card staff at your hotel when you arrive so they give you the Mah Card ready to use.
- You can top up your Mah Card of maximum 400,000,000 IRR at once, which is roughly 8500 euro, but there is no limit to the times you can top it up.
- You can use the Mah Card like any other debit card by entering your PIN number when paying.
- You can check the balance on your card by logging in your Mah Card account or at any Iranian ATM.
- At the end of your trip, you will receive back the amount of money you didn’t use in your Mah Card. Also here you have two options: you can either choose to have a member of Mah Card staff meet you at your hotel and give you the difference you didn’t spend back to you in your currency, or you can choose to have the difference credited back to your PayPal account in your currency.
- Your Mah Card is valid as long as your visa is valid and maximum up to one year.
- At the moment, the accepted currencies are Euro, USD, AUD and GBP.
READ MORE: Check out our essential tips for planning a perfect Iran trip.
How Much Does Mah Card Cost?
The price for ordering Mah Card is a one-time 19 Euro service fee. You won’t be charged any fee when using your Mah Card in Iran and the 19 euro includes the card, the delivery to your hotel, the currency exchange fee for when they exchange your currency into Iranian Rials and for when they change it back to your currency, as well as a 24/7 customer support.
IMPORTANT TIP: If you sign up to Mah Card website using my code chasingtheunexpected, you will get a discount and instead of paying 19 euro, you will pay 13 euro. You just need to copy and paste my discount code when you are signing up and purchasing the Iranian tourist card.
Benefits of Mah Card
I can’t even remember the times I cursed these international sanctions when I was in Iran due to the cash load I had to carry with me. These are some of the benefits signing up with Mah Card has:
- The obvious: you don’t have to carry too much cash when you are sightseeing in Iran.
- You can top up more than you expect to spend as it will be given back to you at the end of your trip.
- If you stay uncovered, you can ask someone back home to top up your card with more money while you are in Iran. I wouldn’t use your own card or connect to your home banking from Iran as your bank can block your account.
- In shops, restaurants, attractions, bazaars, you can pay with your Iranian ATM.
- You can book flights, buses, trains and hotels online while you are in Iran.
- If you need cash, you can just withdraw from an ATM of any Iranian bank.
- You don’t have to run and look for banks and exchange agencies if you run out of Iranian Rials.
Sign up now to Mah Card, add the discount code CHASINGTHEUNEXPECTED and pay 13 euro instead of 19!
READ MORE: Check out our detailed guide to the best places to visit in Iran in 10 days.