Iceland is one of the smallest countries to have its own currency. If you are planning a vacation in Iceland, you are certainly wondering what currency is used in Iceland and do I need cash and exchange money for Iceland. You can find the answer for this question in the next paragraph.
What currency is used in Iceland?
The currency used in Iceland is Icelandic krona (abbreviation is ISK). In Iceland, it´s called íslensk króna,which mean Iceland crown. The prices of products and services are written with letters kr., which symbolizes the icelandic króna.
- Unit of money in Iceland: Icelandic króna
- Abbreviation: ISK
- Abbreviation used in shops: .kr
- Used coins: 1 ISK, 5 ISK, 10 ISK, 50 ISK, 100 ISK
- Used banknotes: 500 ISK, 1000 ISK, 2000 ISK, 5000 ISK, 10 000 ISK
Coins exist in denominations of 1, 10, 50 and 100 and banknotes in denominations of 500, 1000, 2000, 5000 and 10,000. The obverse of the coins depicts typical Icelandic animals, while the banknotes depict important personalities.
Exchange Rate of Icelandic currency
The daily exchange rate is set by Iceland’s Central Bank. The Central Bank of Iceland’s website has information on the current currency rate in English.
For the exact currency rate, check the info here https://www.cb.is/statistics/official-exchange-rate/
How much is Icelandic króna in other currencies
If you are traveling in Iceland as a tourist from another country, currency conversion may be more difficult for you in the first days.
For this reason, we have prepared these simple tables for you, which will make it easier for you to convert money, whether you shop at grocery stores, getting gas at gas stations or pay for your hotel accommodation.
Do I need cash in Iceland?
Iceland, like all other Scandinavian countries, accepts debit or credit cards in almost all places. I can promise you that you will not need cash for almost 100% of your entire stay in Iceland. However, there are a few exceptions why you should have at least a small amount of cash in Iceland with you in Iceland.
Tipping culture in Iceland
Even though it is not customary in Iceland to pay gratuities, this does not mean that you will offend the locals and will not accept tips.
Tipps can be given in restaurants, hotels and often there is also an “extra payment” for guide, in case you take paid trips around Iceland.
Payments in automats
Another exception and reason why you should have some coins in cash is if you are going to camp.
Camping showers often work with an automat, so if you want to use them, you have to pay ISK 50 or ISK 100, and the only possible form of payment is in coins.
One such case is, for example, the payment of an entrance fee in privately owned hot springs. Very popular baths are natural hot springs in Hrunalaug, where a payment of 1000 ISK or 10 EUR is required and it is not possible to pay by card.
How much money exchange to Icelandic currency?
The most common place where tourists exchange money from their own currency to Icelandic is at a bank branch in Iceland, or at an ATM located directly inside the airport.
The question you will definitely ask yourself at that moment is:
How much cash to bring to Iceland?
Every day, I would count 1000 ISK in cash for each person. You can use the money to tip people, pay for things in stores, and then use the coins to pay for things in automats. If you have extra cash at the conclusion of your vacation, you can use it to pay for nearly anything, whether at the store or for services.
Can you use cash in icelandic supermarkets?
In Icelandic shops and supermarkets, it is possible to pay in cash everywhere, as well as use a debit or credit card. However, if you want to pay in cash, you must pay at the register (to the cashier) , automat registers only accept card payments.
Does Iceland use other currencies (euros, dollars or pounds)?
In some restaurants and other places it is still possible to pay in euros, USD or pounds, but these payments are not taken for granted.
Many companies are not ready for these payments and will probably refund your money in Icelandic currency and at a disadvantage.
If you take money in your currency with you to Iceland, I would definitely recommend exchanging it at the bank counter (for example at Arion banki) into the Icelandic currency (which is the Icelandic króna).
For an easier idea of the value of the Icelandic currency, here is a short list of food and drink that you can buy at any grocery supermarket in Iceland.
Example of prices in Icelandic króna:
- Bread – 350 ISK/ 2,7 USD/ 2,5 EUR
- Eggs – 650 ISK/ 5 USD/ 4,7 EUR
- Cheese 500g- 1000 ISK/ 7,7 USD/ 7,2 EUR
- Peanut butter – 550 ISK/ 4,2USD/ 4 EUR
- Cornflakes – 500 ISK/ 3,8 USD/ 3,6 EUR
- Bananas 4 pcs – 200 ISK/ 1,6 USD/ 1,4 EUR
- Tomatoes 4 pcs- 200 ISK/ 1,6 USD/ 1,4 EUR
- Pringless – 250 ISK/ 2 USD/ 1,9 EUR
- Bottle of water 0,5 l – 150 ISK/ 1,1 USD/ 1 EUR
- Milk 500 ml- 250 ISK/ 2 USD/ 1,9 EUR
ATM machines in Iceland
ATMs are widely available in Iceland, particularly in major cities, so if you want to travel the ring road and need cash, I recommend withdrawing money from a vending machine in Reykjavik or the airport.
The Icelandic name for an ATM machine is Hraðbanki, although when looking for the nearest ATM on Google, the expression “ATM near me” will suffice.
ATMs in Iceland include multiple interface languages, including English, making it simple for anyone to withdraw money.
Are credit cards accepted in Iceland?
Credit cards are generally accepted across Iceland, even in the most remote locations. The only need to carry cash is in case there is no wi-fi connectivity for the payment terminal.
You can use your debit or credit card in 99 percent of circumstances. Because there is no minimum for card payments, you can easily make payments for less than a $1.
Do they take American Express (Amex) in Iceland?
Although Visa and Mastercard debit and credit card purchases are accepted practically everywhere, American Express payments are not always accepted.
If you are visiting Iceland, we recommend that you bring an American Express card as well as a Visa or Mastercard, or that you use cash and have banknotes in Icelandic króna.
If you want to learn more about payments and shopping in Iceland, we recommend the following blog posts: