The national currency is the Ugandan shilling, code UGX, sometimes written as UgSh. There are 50000, 20000, 10000, 5000 and 1000 shilling notes and 200, 100, 50 and 10 shilling coins (although the 10 shilling coin is no longer issued). Other currencies that might be accepted for transactions are the US dollar (USD), notes must have been issued since 2000, or possibly the Euro (EUR) or British pound (GBP).
Which Kind of Notes Are Accepted in Uganda?
US Dollars, UK Pounds, Euro‟s and other major currencies are easily changed in Kampala but outside of major cities they might be harder to exchange. Apart from large hotels, tours companies, Park Entrance fees and other major tourist services, everything is paid for in Ugandan Shillings while in Uganda.
DO NOT BRING SMALL US$ BILLS (anything below $50’s) as these receive a 10-25% worse exchange rate at most places. Another top tip is the old US$ bills are not accepted due to counter fit notes being too common.
DO NOT BRING US$ BILLS PRINTED BEFORE THE YEAR 2006.
Older US notes might not be accepted even in banks but newer US notes can be spent directly at fair exchange rates, although you will receive shillings in change.
Plenty of small notes (2006 shillings are really handy) should sought when exchanging money as it can be really hard to find change when out of major cities. As of June 2020 the exchange rate was approximately 3720 shillings to US$1. This means you will be a millionaire while you are here!
Usage of Credit Cards
Beyond international hotels, tour companies and big city banks credit cards and not used in Uganda.
How to Obtain Money in Uganda
With Visa debit/ATM cards you can withdraw money in several ATMs in Kampala. With MasterCard debit/atm cards, you can withdraw money from any Stanbic bank, which are in many points around Kampala, from the large Western shopping mall Garden City to campus hangout Wandegaya to Ntinda and Gayaza Road.
Stanbic banks are seen throughout Uganda, from Mbarare to Gulu. Information can be obtained from the bank branches. As for your American Express card: leave it at home – you can’t use it except at Major Hotels and Airlines. American Express members also have other benefits that may come in handy such as emergency cash.
You might be able to use U.S. dollars, but I would recommend exchanging your money for shillings (it’s about 3720 shillings to the U.S. dollar) A bottle of water is about 1000 shillings, a meal can range from 10,000 shillings to 50,000 shillings).
Cashing travelers checks can be difficult. Exchanging notes is possible in the larger towns if you need Ugandan Shillings. Note that there are better rates for exchanging larger notes (US$50 or more), so do it in big chunks if you need to. Try to have all your cash needs arranged before leaving Kampala if you can (‘red-fox’ forex on Kampala Road is thought to offer the best rates in the country).