Are you planning to travel to Lebanon this summer? Or perhaps you are already there? Rest assured you won’t be alone. Lebanon is expecting over 2 million tourists this summer according to this article from our friends at L’Orient Today, which is the highest level seen since the summer of 2019. This would lead to an expected $9B much-needed cash boost to the economy according to The National.
Now if you are reading this, the questions on your lips most probably are “How much cash should I bring with me?” “Can I pay in USD?” “Do I need to change USD on the black market into LBP and where can I do that?” “Do merchants accept cards? Are there any extra fees?”
If you’re planning a trip to Lebanon, you’ll need to know how to pay for things. Don’t worry, we got you covered. Here is a rundown of the best ways to pay in Lebanon in 2023.
Cash, even more than before, is king in Lebanon. It’s the most widely accepted form of payment. Nowadays, the availability of US dollars bills is no longer a problem and all merchants accept them, therefore the need to exchange your USD in LBP at a “saraf” (exchanger) or in a back alley in an “illegal” way is no longer a necessity. However, when paying in USD, you should be aware that you will be paying an “indirect” exchange fee, meaning that the merchant will take a small margin to protect himself/herself against the currency fluctuation when converting these USD into Lebanese Pounds (LBP). Also, most merchants might not be able to return the exact change in USD and therefore provide you with Lebanese Pounds as a change. Knowing that the biggest LBP bill is practically equivalent to 1 US dollar, you might end up with a big pack of bills that won’t fit in any wallet.
Another downside of cash is the risk of theft or loss is higher compared to digital payment methods. Moreover, carrying large amounts of cash can be inconvenient and unsafe. It’s important to exercise caution and use cash payments responsibly.
But don’t you worry, with Purpl, we bridge the gap between cash and cashless and instead of carrying big amounts of cash with you from abroad, we allow you to send instantly via our sending partners Remitly and Paysend, directly to your Purpl wallet (all you need is a smartphone and a phone number to receive the funds), and cash out cardlessly at your own convenience from any of the 120+ Banque Libano-Française ATMs all over Lebanon. Check out some of our users review for yourself:
Credit cards are not as widely accepted in Lebanon as they used to be. A minority of merchants or restaurants accept them today, and if they do, it could be for just part of the bill and with an additional surcharge (up to 5%) especially if it is an international card.
Additionally, it has become practically impossible to use an international credit card to withdraw from bank ATMs in Lebanon, and for the very few that provide this service, the cash withdrawal fee is fairly high.
This is where digital wallets, like Purpl, once again bridge the void that cash or credit cards can’t fill, by providing the advantages of both on just a smartphone.
As more Lebanese become open to cryptocurrencies, the use of digital assets like Bitcoin and Ethereum for payments is also growing, but it is worth mentioning it is illegal on Lebanese territory. Cryptocurrencies provide advantages such as lower transaction fees, faster cross-border transfers, and increased financial privacy.
While cryptocurrencies offer unique benefits, it’s important to note that their adoption is still in its early stages, and only a handful of establishments accept them as a payment method. Additionally, users must exercise caution when navigating the volatile nature of the cryptocurrency market and ensure they understand the security measures to safeguard their digital assets.
Digital wallets are becoming increasingly popular in Lebanon following the collapse of the banking sector and a majority of the Lebanese population becoming virtually unbanked.
Purpl is the new digital wallet that is quickly gaining popularity in Lebanon and has revolutionized how transactions are carried out in the country. Purpl is a mobile app that allows you to receive money instantly from more than 46 countries including the USA, Europe, UK, Canada, and UAE, via our partners Paysend and Remitly and cash out the received funds in USD, from any Banque Libano-Française ATMs, without a card or bank account, and with ZERO fees. It is a great option if you are worried to carry large amounts of cash from abroad, not sure how much to bring with you, or need to send money to your loved ones back home to pay bills.
Now let us let you in on a little secret. We have an exciting feature on the horizon that we can’t wait to share with you! Soon, you will be able to make payments directly at your favorite merchants using Purpl 📱 and QR code technology. Say goodbye to carrying bulks of cash or digging through your wallet. With Purpl, you will be able to streamline your purchases and enjoy a seamless checkout experience.✨
Written By: Karl Naim