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No VISA ATMs in Iraq

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No International ATMs in Iraq

In the provincial capital of Duhok in northern Iraq the signs of internationally capable Visa/ Mastercard ATMs are common. But none of them work. There are no longer any international ATMs in Iraq.

Somebody please correct me if I am wrong, this information comes from my experience and what I was told.

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Wade from Vagabond Journey.com
in Duhok, Iraq- April 1, 2009
Travelogue Travel Photos –Travel Guide
Click on map to view route of travel.

I crossed the Iraq border from Turkey with a bundle of US dollars and Turkish Lira totaling nearly a few hundred dollars. I thought that this would be enough to travel in northern Iraq for a week to 10 days and visit four places.

I thought wrong.

I did not take into account – I did not even imagine – that there would not be public buses traveling in between the cities that I wanted to visit. I had no idea that I would need to pay close to $30 each time I wanted to travel to a different location. After a couple days of traveling it became apparent that both Chaya and I were going to run out of money.

We realized with a start that we had enough money to travel to the places where we wanted to go, but would not have enough to get back to Turkey. We needed a way to replenish our funds: we needed an international ATM.

We returned to Duhok from Amadiya as we were told there by many people that we could find an international ATM in this city with little difficulty. So we began searching.

One bank just told us to go to another bank, and the other bank told us to go to different one.

“We cannot take Visa here, but XXXX bank can at this address.”

Like this, Chaya and I walked across Duhok multiple times in search of a VISA capable ATM. At each bank, the ATM was either out of service, or was only for local withdrawals. Four hours we searched in the hot sun. We did not want to take taxis between the banks as we knew that if we could not find an international ATM that we would need all the money we had just to get back to Turkey. At each bank we were told of another bank that has VISA ATMs, and the teller would write down its address on a little piece of paper.

It was not until we arrived at the final bank on our list that the manager shyly spoke the truthful words:

“We are blacklisted, all of Iraq is.”

There are no longer any international ATMs in Iraq.
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This type of information has the tendency of changing quickly. I do not know when the ATMs went out in Iraq and I do not know when they will be turned back on. This information is from a visit at the end of March/ beginning of April 2009, it could have been different in the past or change in the future. I could be wrong. In point, check other sources.

I made a big travel mistake: I was not properly prepared. I did not have enough cash on me. I could not have ever dreamed that would cost around $500 to travel cheaply in northern Iraq for 10 days. Hotels in Iraq are cheap, food is cheap as well, it is the taxi transport that is expensive.

I did not plan properly, and I had to prematurely run for the border because of it.

Please comment below with any additional information.

No International ATMs in Iraq

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Filed under: Iraq, Middle East, Money

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 76 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to Forbes, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3054 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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