Home to over 2% of the world’s population, Bangladesh is the eighth-most-populous country in the world. Whether you have family or friends who live there, plan on traveling there, or are simply curious, there is much to learn about Bangladesh’s currency, the Bangladeshi taka.
The good news is our team at Remitly can help you learn the basics. Read on for a complete introduction to Bangladeshi taka that includes a look at its history and denominations and tips on how to send and exchange Bangladesh currency.
What is Bangladesh currency?
As we’ve already established, the official currency of Bangladesh is the taka. You will often see it referred to as code BDT.
When writing out a value or price, you use the “৳” symbol. It goes directly before the number with no space. For example, you would write ৳150 to represent 150 Bangladeshi taka.
One taka is made up of 100 poishas. The singular form of poishas is poisha.
The Bangladesh Bank, the central bank of Bangladesh, is responsible for issuing most taka bills. The ৳1 and ৳2 notes are the exception, as the Bangladesh Ministry of Finance prints these notes.
In Bangladesh, you can find banknotes denominated as follows:
- 1 taka
- 2 takas
- 5 takas
- 10 takas
- 20 takas
- 50 takas
- 100 takas
- 500 takas
- 1000 takas
Bangladeshi coins are also available and come in the following denominations:
- 1 poisha
- 5 poishas
- 10 poishas
- 25 poishas
- 50 poishas
- 1 taka
- 2 takas
- 5 takes
The Modern History of the Taka
The taka only existed as a currency after Bangladesh became an independent nation in 1971. Bangladesh gained independence from Pakistan after a long and violent war, the Bangladesh War of Independence. When Bangladesh was still East Pakistan, it used the Pakistani rupee as its form of currency.
As a newly independent nation, Bangladesh declared the taka as its official currency and began printing it in 1972. Throughout the years, Bangladesh has introduced money in higher denominations, like the 50-taka note starting in 1977 and the 1,000-taka note starting in 2008.
5 Facts About the Taka
The Bangladesh taka is a fascinating currency. Here are five key facts about it.
1. The word “taka” comes from Sanskrit
Etymologically speaking, “taka” comes from the ancient Sanskrit word “tankah.” In Sanskrit, “tankah” describes an ancient silver coin. Across India, where the Sanskrit language originated, you will find that “taka” has taken on other meanings. Today, Bangladeshi people generally describe any form of money or cash, such as the U.S. dollar or euro, as “taka.”
2. One-taka notes and coins are different
You’ll find that notes and coins in the denomination of one taka are unique compared to those worth more. First, the signature of the Central Bank governor is printed on every banknote aside from the one-taka bill. This is because the one-taka note falls under the Bangladeshi Ministry of Economy.
One-taka coins are also different from other denominations. They are hardly ever used. They are so rare that if you have a chance to visit, you will most likely never come across one. They are no longer in circulation because they are now worth so little due to inflation.
3. One person is featured on all taka bills
Some countries have a different notable figure on each denomination of banknote and coin; however, the Bangladeshi taka only represents one person: Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was a political leader who is still highly revered and commemorated today. “Bangabandhu” translates to “friend of Bengal.” Often referred to as the Father of the Nation, he strived to make life better and fairer for the Bangladeshi people and ultimately established a democracy. He was assassinated in 1975.
Although every standard taka features the same historical figure, the different denominations are printed in various vibrant colors, such as purple, pink, green, yellow, blue, and brown.
4. Commemorative Banknotes
Bangladesh has different versions of banknotes to commemorate special events in history.
- 40th Victory Anniversary of Bangladesh
- In 2011, the central bank printed 40-taka bills to honor those who died fighting for Bangladeshi independence in 1971. Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman is featured on the note, along with the National Martyr’s Monument in Savar. The image of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman is different from the typical representation on non-commemorative banknotes.
- 60 years of National Language Movement
- 25th anniversary (silver jubilee) of the Security Printing Corporation
- In 2013, 25-taka bulls were printed with the National Martyr’s Monument in Savar on them.
- 100th anniversary of the Bangladesh National Museum
- In 2013, a new series of 100-taka banknotes were printed as a special edition with terra-cotta art featured as a tribute to the museum.
5. Criminals have produced counterfeit taka
With the use of modern technology, it is becoming easier to counterfeit money. In 2020, notorious criminals got their hands on software so effective it replicated both the watermark and the security threads printed by the Bangladesh Bank’s mint. Those involved were charged.
Exchanging currency for Bangladeshi taka
If you’re planning a trip to Bangladesh, it’s important to know how to exchange other currencies for Bangladeshi taka. Read on to learn more about Bangladeshi taka exchange rates and options.
Understanding exchange rates
Whenever you need to exchange one form of money for any other currency, paying attention to the exchange rate is important. An exchange rate tells you how much of one particular currency you can get in another form.
For example, imagine you want to exchange a 100 US dollar bill for Bangladeshi taka, and the exchange rate at that time is 1 USD = 108.48 BDT. To figure out how much you would receive in Bangladeshi taka, you would use the following equation
100 (USD) x 108.48 (BDT exchange rate) = 10,848 BDT
As you can see, you would receive 10,848 Bangladeshi takas.
Calculating amounts using the taka exchange rate is straightforward, but exchanging currency for Bangladeshi taka is a little more complicated because of fluctuations in the currency values.
How much different forms of currency are worth changes often. In fact, exchange rates can fluctuate from minute to minute in some cases. Also, not all currency exchange services offer the same rates.
To get the best deal possible when performing a foreign exchange transaction, shop around and compare the rates available from different services. Also, be sure to factor in any fees, as they will reduce the total amount of Bangladeshi taka you receive.
Where to get Bangladesh currency
Whether your trip to Bangladesh is for business or pleasure, you’ll likely need to exchange some of your home country’s currency for Bangladeshi taka.
Currency exchange services widely accept the Euro, US dollars, and the British pound — some also accept the Australian dollar. If your home country uses another currency, it’s wise to exchange it for USD at home before you travel to Bangladesh to ensure a smooth transaction.
There are several methods of exchanging Bangladeshi taka for foreign currency. Let’s take a look at each.
At Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka, you can visit a currency exchange counter to obtain Bangladeshi taka. Many travelers find this to be a convenient option, but the airport counters will typically charge you higher fees and give you a lower exchange rate when they convert the currency to Bangladesh taka.
If you want some cash to cover the costs of transportation to your hotel, you might want to exchange a small amount of money for Bangladesh taka at the airport and then visit another of the currency exchange services in the country later.
Currency exchange counters
In major cities, you can find standalone currency exchange services. These brick-and-mortar businesses often offer a better taka exchange rate and lower fees. Check the rates and fees at more than one before converting currency, as there may be a big difference between what various providers offer.
You can also visit a Bangladesh bank to exchange USD and other currencies for BDT. The Bangladeshi taka exchange rate tends to be less favorable at banks, but some people feel more secure exchanging money in a bank.
Major hotels that cater to international tourists may also offer foreign exchange services. As with banks and airport counters, hotels typically have less competitive rates and higher fees, but some travelers find the convenience worth the added cost.
By far, the easiest way to obtain banknotes is to visit an ATM. You can withdraw money from your bank account, which will automatically be converted to taka.
The Bangladesh bank that owns and operates the ATM will likely charge you a fee for this service, and your own bank may charge additional fees.
Alternatives to exchanging money for Bangladeshi takas
While it’s a good idea to exchange some of your currency for BDT, you may be able to use an alternative payment method for many purchases. Some alternatives include:
In major cities, many businesses will accept Visa and Mastercard credit cards. Your credit card company may assess a fee for using your card abroad.
Debit cards with the Visa or Mastercard logo can also be presented as payment anywhere that accepts credit cards. The amount you spend and any fee assessed by your bank will be deducted from your checking account.
Traveler’s checks are an alternative to banknotes that you can purchase in your home country. Most banks and hotels will accept traveler’s checks, so you can present them to exchange the U.S. or Australian dollar, the Euro, or the British pound to BDT.
Mobile payments like Apple Pay and Google Pay are newer technologies less widely accepted than credit cards in Bangladesh. However, you may be able to use them as a payment method at restaurants, shops, and attractions that are popular with tourists.
Sending Money to Bangladesh
You can send money to Bangladesh one of two ways:
- Banks: Your bank can assist you with sending money to Bangladesh via wire transfer. Exchange rates may be less favorable, and the fee may be higher, but you get the convenience of using money already in your bank account.
- Money transfer websites and apps: With a money transfer service like Remitly, you can send money to Bangladesh anytime from anywhere simply by logging into an app or website. Since they don’t have the overhead of brick-and-mortar locations, money transfer apps and sites often offer better rates and fee schedules. Plus, you can choose from a number of payment options, such as direct debit from your bank account, credit card, or debit card.