Currency, Exchanging Money, Credit Cards, Tipping, Bargaining, Costs...:
At the moment there are 2 currenies actual in Mada. The new "aiary" (2500 Ar ~ 1€) is at the moment replacing the habitual "Franc Madagache" (12500 FMG ~ 1€). Pay attention with the banknotes ... they are similar but not the same value.
The tricky thing is - in bigger villages and cities they think always in FMG and at the country side in Ar. Why? Infrastructure and communication doesnt permit an equal distribution of the currency.
So pay attention by negociations - always ask with value they mean.
Best conditions at the airport. Caution at the blackmarket, and you will be asked often.
Travellerchecks - good idea but ... in mada you need to show your FACTURE of the checks, to prove that it was you who bought the checks ... if not they wound be exchanged, except in the american express office in Tana ... new orders after a big fraud in mada with travellerchecks.
Visa is for mada the best option ... works nearly everythere. Mastercard is bad choise - only in the BOA "Bank of Africa" with nearly a delay of 1 day it works ... max. amount till 400000 Ar.