What is the local currency?
The Sri Lankan monetary unit is the Rupee (Rs. or LKR), which can be divided into 100 cents.
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What denominations does it come in?
Paper notes come in 20, 50, 100, 500, 1000 and 5000. There are many different forms of the 1000 rupee note and take special care as some of the notes of higher value and lower value look alike. Coins come in denominations of 10, 5, 2, 1, and small denomination in 50 and 25 cents. The use of 50 and 25 cents is becoming obsolete and the former coins of 10,5,2 and 1 cents have become collector’s items.
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What is the best way to exchange currency?
The best way is to go through a licensed money changer. There are many located at the heart of the Colombo city and suburbs. Most banks and larger hotels offer this facility.
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What are commonly-used forms of payment for everyday purchases (such as groceries)?
Cash is the most commonly used form of payment for everyday purchases at local groceries so it is recommended to always carry a small sum of cash at all times. Digital money transfers using major UPI apps are accepted widely. Payments can also be directly made by scanning QR code or by transfers from payments banks and wallets.
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Will I be able to use my credit card around town? If not, list when I’ll need cash.
Most businesses do accept major credit cards, debit cards and cash. However, some businesses will add the bank charge to the bill if paid by credit card. There are many ATM’s around town and you can very easily find an ATM.
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By what method are bills (such as rent and utilities) paid?
Bills can be paid by cheque, but many utilities (like telephone or electricity bills) can also be paid online.
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What are the requirements for opening a bank account? At what stage of the settling-in process should I open it?
Once you have a work or resident permit any bank will open an account for you in USD and in local currency. As a foreigner you will be comfortable opening an account with a foreign bank such as
HSBC, Standard Chartered or Deutsche Bank etc.
The required applications and documents such as passport copies, employment contracts, signature cards etc., will have to be submitted to the bank.
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Will foreign residents be able to find banking services in their native languages?
You will be able to find banking material in English only.
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Are there any restrictions on services for those who are new to your country?
If you are paid in Foreign currency (and once you open a foreign currency bank account) you can make international transfers.
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What are typical banking hours?
Typically, banks are open from 9 am to 3 pm on weekdays. Some banks/branches are open on
Saturdays from 9 am to 1 pm, and some banks have 24 hour banking centers.
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Are automatic teller machines (ATMs) available around the clock?
Yes, ATMs machines are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and can be found all around the city.
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Is there any other money information that might help me?
Be aware: If you are handed a dirty or a defaced note, insist on having it exchanged for a newer one, since others might refuse to accept it. The only alternative is to take them to a bank for exchange which causes inconvenience to you. Counterfeit bills are common. Have a big supply of small bills as most stores don't carry sufficient change.
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Crown Relocations has made every effort to present accurate information. However, regulations, rates and other variables are subject to change and Crown Relocations cannot accept responsibility for the errors that might result. Should you have any questions or need additional information, please contact your local Crown representative.