Is very easy to change money in Ecuador, the official currency with the US dollar make easier your life, here is a list of tips to change money when you are in Quito Ecuador

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Quito Banks, Money Exchange and Money Matters


As of September 13, 2000, the Ecuadorian economy is officially "dollarized"; the sucre has been phased out and the country's currency is the US dollar.

The replaced "sucre", patriotically named after the country's independence hero General Mariscal Sucre, used to come in bank note denominations of 100, 1,000, 5,000, 10,000 and 50,000 while coins came in denominations of 50, 100, 500 and 1,000. Don't accept sucres as change. They are worthless and you won't be able to use them anywhere.

You should bring your hard-earned savings in the form of US dollars (cash and traveler's checks) and plastic. Other foreign currencies will be almost impossible to change outside Quito, Cuenca, and Guayaquil.

In Quito, the stretch of Avenida Amazonas between Patria and Veintimilla should cover most of your financial needs. There's a wide range of banks, ATMs, "Casas de Cambio" (money changing houses), and money transfer facilities, as well as several street money changers (though you'd be taking your chances with them).

Most banks are open Mon - Fri from 9am, but closing hours vary significantly. (Banco del Pichincha on Amazonas stays open until 6 pm.)

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Casas de cambios are open Monday through Friday. Some are also open on Saturday mornings, but facilities for changing money on Saturday after 12 noon and on Sunday are limited. You'll have to head for the big hotels or the airport to get your hands on some dollars.

Traveler's Check

Traveler's checks are a great way to keep track of your funds in Ecuador. In the event of loss or theft, they are relatively easy to replace. However, I have discovered through experience that some companies reimburse much faster than others. American Express was my saving grace when I lost $1000 worth of checks; within 24 hours I had all of my funds replaced without questions, while a lesser-known company took well over a week to replace $500.

To expedite the replacement process in the event of loss or theft, you should leave a list of the check details and emergency contact numbers with a friend or family member back home, as well as carry a photocopy of this list in your luggage (but separate from the checks themselves). If you are traveling with a friend, it is advisable to swap lists. NOTE: Checks can be harder to change than cash, especially away from big cities. In small towns, unless highly touristed, traveler's checks will be met with blank looks. Plan ahead!

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While we recommend that you bring most of your money in the form of traveler's checks, you should also carry some dollars in cash. Green bills will get better rates with lower bank commissions and they are easier to change - especially in out-of-the-way places such as the Oriente. Also, when all the banks and casas de cambio are closed, with cash you may have luck with not-so-legal street money changers or tourist-friendly hotels.

Bring a selection of bills from $1 to $50 and make sure they are in good condition, or you'll definitely have trouble changing them. If you find yourself in a bind with a damaged bill in Quito, pass by Confederate Books in Mariscal Area and ask for Tommy. He travels back and forth to New Orleans and is happy to trade your damaged bills for new ones.

Credit Cards

VISA, Mastercard, American Express and Diner's Club are the most widely recognized cards in Ecuador (Diner's Club is oddly the most widely accepted card). Plastic is useful not only for purchases in hotels, shops and restaurants, but also for cash advances from Automated Teller Machines and at bank counters. Check with your credit card company regarding your card's ability to access ATMs in Ecuador.
It's worth raising the limit on your cards before getting on the plane, so you have extra funds in the event of an emergency. If you're leaving hearth and home for a long time, you should consider setting up a Direct Debit to pay off your bills, or giving a trusted friend or relative the rights to handle your account.

In the event that you lose all your belongings (even your card) or fall ill, the emergency services that your credit card offers to travelers could be of assistance. American Express has excellent emergency services for card-holders on the road, especially if you purchase your plane ticket with your card. Check with your card companies regarding the type of coverage they can offer in emergency situations.

Money Transfers

Ecuador has a number of international money transfer offices where you can pick up money sent from abroad. Your credit card company may also be able to make an emergency advance against your account to one of these money transfer offices. Western Union (800 325-6000) transfers are available throughout Ecuador. American Express, on Ave. Amazonas, offers a check-cashing service to card-holders (up to $1000 dollars every 21 days), which is a simple and inexpensive way to receive an immediate cash infusion while abroad © 2009 Posicionamiento Web Ecuador
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