Barbados Currency and Money

Money tells a lot about a country and its people. The currency of Barbados is no exception. Strong, stable and secure, the Barbados dollar has been pegged to the US dollar at 1.98 to 1 since 1975.

A British colony, Barbados was strongly influenced by British coinage and monetary policy. Nevertheless, Spanish and Mexican currency were widely circulated in former times.

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.

Barbados’ unit of currency is the dollar which is divided into one hundred cents. Coinage is available in 1, 5, 10 and 25 cent pieces. There is also a 1 dollar coin.

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 cent 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.

Bank notes come in colourful denominations of 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 dollar notes. Easily identifiable, each note features the portrait of a prominent Barbadian figure:

— The 2 dollar bill is dedicated to John Redman Bowell
Sir Frank Worrell appears on 5 dollar notes
— The image of Charles Duncan O’Neal is portrayed on 10 dollar bills.
— On 20 dollar bills you will find the image of Samuel Jackman Prescod
 Errol Walton Barrow on 50 dollar notes
— While Sir Grantley Adams image is captured on the 100 dollar bill.

For international travellers visiting Barbados, American currency is generally accepted at a one-for-two Barbados’ dollar value island-wide.

Traveller’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 6 commercial banks in the country with branches in Bridgetown and most major town centres:

— 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.

Business persons allowed up to BDS $50,000 per year.

Request for any further 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 nation wide.

Foreign Exchange

As of September 21st, 2009, the approximate exchange rates (from the Central Bank of Barbados) are as follows:


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