It covers payment methods and information on, banking systems, foreign exchange controls, and U.S. and correspondent banking.
Methods of Payment
In many areas of the economy, retail transactions are still generally completed on a cash basis. However, ATMs and credit/debit card payment machines are available in the retail market. Foreign credit cards are not universally accepted. Mobile payment systems have also started limited operations in Azerbaijan. Large transactions can be done using inter-bank wire transfers. Personal checks are not accepted anywhere. All payments must be made in the Azerbaijani manat, the local currency. Azerbaijan has established a credit rating agency, but credit rating and collections are not yet well developed in Azerbaijan.
For more information about the methods of payment or other trade finance options, please read the Trade Finance Guide available at The Trade Finance Guide: A Quick Reference for U.S. Exporters ..
Although long-term lending is increasing, the banking sector plays a small role in financing the real economy. Lack of credit, stringent collateral requirements, high interest rates, dollarization, limited correspondent banking relationships, and an inability to assess credit risk are key constraints to the development of private businesses.
Azerbaijani banks offer costly lending terms, usually 10-35% interest rates or higher in dollar-denominated loans with a maximum two-year term. Many Azerbaijani firms turn to private sources for finance. Some Azerbaijani banks have begun lending to the private sector, including construction, telecoms, food processing, and packaging. Western businesses use a handful of local banks for their local business dealings.
In 2021, bank assets grew 20% to AZN 38.5 billion ($22.7 billion), and liabilities grew 22.4% for a total of AZN 33.5 billion ($19.7 billion), according to the Central Bank of Azerbaijan. The banking sector’s capital totaled AZN 4.97 billion ($2.9 billion), and dollarization was at 41%.
Foreign Exchange Controls
Azerbaijan has a liberal foreign exchange system and, in general, there are no current restrictions on converting or transferring funds into freely usable currency at a legal, market-clearing rate. For more information, see the Conversion and Transfer Policies Section of the Investment Climate Statement.