The currency of Barbados is the Barbadian dollar (BBD or BDS). Robust, stable, and secure, the Barbados dollar has been pegged to the U.S. dollar at 1.98 to 1 since 1975.
British coinage and monetary policy strongly influenced a British colony, Barbados. Nevertheless, Spanish and Mexican currency was widely circulated in former times.
1949 – 1965
1949 rang in the introduction of the British West Indies dollar, officially linking Barbados with the British Eastern Caribbean territories, later replaced by the East Caribbean dollar (1965).
The Barbados dollar – created after the establishment of the Central Bank of Barbados (CBB) – replaced the East Caribbean dollar in 1973 and is still used today.
The currency of Barbados is the Barbadian dollar (BBD) divided into one hundred cents. There is also a 1 dollar coin. Coinage is available in 5, 10, and 25-cent pieces.
As of May 7th, 2014, the Central Bank of Barbados has not issued any 1-cent coins into circulation. At the time of the announcement, the coin was costing five times its face value in production costs, according to the Bank.
The coin, which has a face value equivalent to half of a U.S. cent, remains legal tender and may be used in commerce. By law, total cash payments at businesses across the country are rounded to the nearest 5-cent increment. Non-cash costs are not affected.
Most Barbadian coins are struck at the Royal Canadian Mint.
The 1-cent coin is struck in copper-plated zinc and features a replica of a broken trident; 5-cent pieces, struck in brass, display an image of the South Point Lighthouse while 10, 25 cents and 1-dollar coins are struck in cupro-nickel featuring a tern, the Morgan Lewis Windmill and a flying fish respectively.
The reverse side of each coin displays the Barbados Coat of Arms and the year the coin was minted.
Banknotes come in colorful denominations of 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100-dollar notes. Easily identifiable, each note features the portrait of a prominent Barbadian figure:
Central banks worldwide upgrade their banknotes periodically to try to stay ahead of counterfeiters. Technology had increased significantly since 2013 when the Central Bank of Barbados last changed Barbados’ banknotes, so we decided it was time to upgrade our notes to incorporate powerful new security features that are harder for counterfeiters to simulate but more accessible for you to use to authenticate your notes.
Since December 5th, 2022, Barbados’ New Banknotes are Now in Circulation, and the new notes are made of polymer rather than the traditional cotton-based “paper” substrate.
The Central Bank of Barbados first announced the new series on April 2022.
We also took the opportunity to modernize Barbados’ currency design and switch to a more durable substrate.
While Barbados is trying to reduce the use of cash, the goal is less-cash and not cashless. Money remains a popular way to pay – in 2020, there were 27 million notes in circulation with a face value of $816 million.
Even as more people begin to use digital payments, there will still be a need for cash, so the Bank will continue to ensure that it is not only available but also as secure as possible.
For international travelers visiting Barbados, American currency is generally accepted at a one-for-two Barbados dollar value island-wide.
Traveler’s checks and major credit cards, including Master Card, Visa, American Express, and Diners Club, are widely accepted by larger stores, restaurants, and hotels.
International debit cards may be used at most Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) to withdraw local currency. ATMs are found at commercial banks, shopping malls, major hotels, and tourist hubs.
There are six commercial banks in the country with branches in Bridgetown and the most important town centers:
— Barbados National Bank (BNB)
— Butterfield Bank
— First Caribbean International Bank
— Bank of Nova Scotia
— RBTT Barbados
— RBC Royal Bank of Canada.
Banks are generally open between 8 am to 3 pm Monday to Thursday and 8 am to 5 pm on Fridays.
Regulations are imposed when purchasing Barbados currency. Individuals are granted a yearly allowance of BDS $7,500.
Businesspersons allowed up to BDS $50,000 per year.
Requests for any other foreign exchange must be made directly to the Central Bank of Barbados (CBB) through an official application found on the CBB website or available at all banks nationwide.
As of September 21st, 2009, the approximate exchange rates (from the Central Bank of Barbados) are as follows:
Brett Callaghan is the founder and managing director of Totally Barbados. I specialize in writing content for the tourism industry for my island home of Barbados. I help companies build strategies to grow their businesses online with SMART marketing, advertising, and social media goals.