Morocco’s culture and history makes it a prime destination for tourists. It has been described as the gateway to Africa and is full of vibrant marketplaces,...
Welcome to Morocco, the land of the setting sun and an enthralling blend of captivating cultures, enchanting landscapes, and delicious cuisine! From the bustling medinas of Marrakech, the sandy stretches of the Sahara Desert, to the windswept beaches of Essaouira, Morocco promises an unforgettable journey of discovery.
Now, let's talk dirhams and cents. Don't fret, navigating Morocco's financial landscape is as breezy as its coastal winds! ATMs, or 'Distributeurs Automatiques de Billets' (DABs) as they're known locally, are dotted all over the country, in cities, towns, and even smaller villages. Whether you're haggling over traditional rugs in a souk, savouring a tagine in a local eatery, or booking a camel ride in the Sahara, you're never too far from a convenient cash source. So, dust off that bucket list and get ready for your Moroccan adventure - it's going to be a thrill-ride of a lifetime!
Looking to convert your home currency to Moroccan Dirham? Use the Wise Multi-Currency account to exchange at the mid-market exchange rate
without excessive markups, with just a transparent fixed fee, which is set out upfront.
You’ll find ATMs in the towns and cities in Morocco, but when off the beaten track, this will be far harder. Small merchants are unlikely to accept cards, and expats living in Morocco warn newcomers that ATMs are sometimes out of cash if it’s been a busy period for the bank. Carry some currency on you to cover emergencies.
If you’re in one of the towns or cities you’ll find a bank pretty easily in the commercial centre - otherwise, find a convenient ATM by using one of the following ATM locators:
- Attijariwafa Bank ATM Locator
- BMCE Bank ATM Locator
- Société Générale Maroc
- BMCI ATM Locator
- CIH ATM Locator
You can use credit and debit card in towns and tourist areas in Morocco. Visa and Mastercard are most widely accepted. If you usually use an Amex card, you’ll need to take an alternative card or carry enough cash for your trip, as you may not be able to find an ATM to withdraw cash easily. Discover, on the other hand, is widely accepted at both merchants and ATMs.
Wherever you are, check out the nearest ATM on the same network as your card, with one of the following locators:
- Mastercard and Cirrus ATM locator
- Visa, Plus, and Plus Alliance ATM locator
- Discover ATM locator
- American Express ATM locator
To use an ATM in Morocco, you’ll generally need a 4 digit PIN code. That means that cards with chip and pin technology from Europe, the UK or Australia, for example, are widely accepted. However, if your primary card is an American magnetic stripe card, and it doesn’t usually require a PIN, you’ll need to get a PIN issued by your bank before you travel.
If your home bank has a daily cash withdrawal limit then that’ll dictate what you can withdraw from ATMs in Morocco.
In general, ATMs in Morocco will be set to a maximum withdrawal of something like MAD2,000 or just a shade over USD200. If you need more than that then you might have to make several transactions, and even choose different ATMs as banks might not allow multiple transactions with the same card in case of fraud.
Paying for your holiday with a bank card abroad is convenient and easy - unless your home bank’s fraud department limits or blocks your card. They might do that if they identify a change in your spending pattern, just in case your card is lost or stolen. They do this for your protection, but it can be extremely frustrating.
The easiest way to avoid issues is to let your bank know your plans in advance. Just call into your local branch or find the online form which is usually available by logging into your online banking.
Some bank ATMs in Morocco charge a fee per withdrawal, but the exact cost can depend on where your card was issued, and through which bank.
Dynamic currency conversion (DCC) is a common, costly, and entirely avoidable problem for travellers. This is where you’re asked if you want to pay for your transaction in your home currency as opposed to the local currency, dirhams. Stores, restaurants and ATMs will offer this and present it as a service - you can see the cost in your home currency so you don’t need to worry about figuring out the exchange rates.
Unfortunately, it’s not so simple. DCC transactions don’t generally use the real, mid-market rate - the one you’d find if you googled it. If you pay in your home currency, the foreign bank or ATM provider decide the exchange rate for you. They want to make a profit, so they can mark up the rate and pocket the difference. Pay in the local currency instead, and you’ll almost always get a fairer rate on the exchange.
Bank fees for overseas ATM withdrawals are fairly common, but the exact amount is different for every account. Check out the details before you travel to avoid nasty surprises. You can find everything you need in your terms and conditions document, which is usually available online.
As well as anything you have to pay your own bank, you might also be charged by the local bank or provider, when you use ATMs in Morocco. Despite this, if you get a decent exchange rate - by avoiding DCC - ATMs are still often an economical choice.
It’s unlikely you’ll get free cash withdrawals in Morocco if you hold a bank account in a currency other than dirhams. The chances are you’ll be charged by either your home bank or the ATM for the currency conversion.
Reduce ATM fees in Morocco with a few simple tricks. Here are some ideas to start you off.
If you bank with a global brand, you might find that your home bank works in partnership with an institution in Morocco to offer free or cheap international cash withdrawals to their customers overseas. Some of the banks in Morocco are also subsidiaries of French institutions, so if you hold a French account it’s definitely worth asking them about partners in Morocco before you go.
If you have several bank accounts, check the terms and conditions of all of them. It’s not the most gripping read, but it could save you money, as each bank has its own charging structure for international cash withdrawals. Some are much cheaper than others, so by doing a bit of homework, you can use the one which has the fairest fees. Leaving you with more cash in your pocket to enjoy your trip.
Foreign currency credit card cash advances are usually an expensive choice, and best avoided.
Don’t assume all the fees are the same. Often the worst deals on ATMs are to be found in places with a captive audience - tourist locations, pubs, and nightclubs are notoriously bad. Stick to an ATM in or near a bank branch, ideally within working hours so you have a contact available in case there’s a problem.
Remember DCC which we discussed above? If you’re offered the opportunity to pay in your home currency, just say no. Choosing the local currency is almost always cheaper because it avoids the high fees and poor exchange rates added thanks to DCC. Here is also a list of the European countries that charge the highest ATM fees.
If you’re looking for a better way to get cash for your trip for Morocco, try Wise. You’ll get your cash converted using the real, mid-market exchange rate, with just a transparent fixed fee, which is set out upfront.
As mentioned above, you can also sign up for a Wise international debit card making it easy to spend like a local, and with our multi currency account manage your money while abroad through our newly redesigned application without the hassle.²
This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.
We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.
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