Are you getting the best exchange rate?
Money exchange places are available all over town and the exchange rates can vary widely. So how do you know if you are getting a good rate?
The answer is the Lari Explorer, a tool built by JumpStart. The Lari Explorer collects the latest currency exchange rates three times a day from over 20 commercial and microfinance banks. You can use the Lari Explorer to see which banks have the best rate for a specific currency and compare the history of exchange rates for selected currencies and banks. Currencies available at almost all banks are the US Dollar, the Euro, the British Pound, and the Russian Ruble. All four are tracked on the Lari Explorer in addition to 30 other currencies.
The Lari Explorer works on mobile devices, so when I am out and need to exchange money, I take a quick look to see what is currently the best exchange rate. I then try to find a bank or money exchange place that has this rate, or is as close to it as possible. And thanks to the Lari Explorer, I am able to complete my transaction with satisfaction knowing that I was able to get a respectable exchange rate and save money.
Here are some personal observations on exchanging money in Tbilisi:
In general, the Lari Explorer has shown that the microfinance banks seem to have better rates than commercial banks, sometimes by only a few tenths of a tetri, but sometimes by more than 10 tetri.
Touristy and affluent parts of town, such as Rustaveli Avenue and Vake, can have much worse rates than other parts of town.
- Banks or money exchange booths that have good rates usually have the buy and sell rates no more than a couple tetri in difference. If you notice the rate difference is more than a few tetri, consider looking for another place to exchange money.