When you travel abroad, it is always important to understand that the money you use back home may not be sufficient. While some tourist-based areas in Barbados may accept foreign currency, it is best to exchange your money when you arrive on the island.
The official currency of Barbados is the Barbadian Dollar (Currency Code: BBD). Denominated into notes of 100, 50, 20, 10, 5, and 2 BBD, each Barbadian dollar is divided into 100 cents with coins of 1, 5, 10, and 25 cents as well as $1BBD coins. The Barbadian dollar is tied to the U.S. dollar on a rate of exchange that is fixed at $1USD=$2BBD.
Commercial banks will exchange money at no charge, and the island is served by the Barbados National Bank and a range of at least six international banks, each with a main office in Bridgetown, the nation's capital. Further branches can be found in Hastings, Holetown, Speightstown, and Worthing. The airport and some larger hotels will exchange currency as well, but it may be at a higher rate of exchange than is necessary.
American Express, Barclaycard, Carte Blanche, Diners Club, Eurocard, MasterCard and Visa are accepted in the resorts, but cash is preferred for customs duty payment. Discover Card may be used in certain places. Check with your credit or debit card company for details of merchant acceptability and other services that may be available. Automatic teller machines are available on Barbados and are the easiest way to get cash while you're away from home. Look at the back of your bank card to see which network you're on, then call or check online for ATM locations at your destination. The Cirrus network is worldwide, and any debit card endorsed by a major credit card is virtually universally accepted. You may also get cash advances on your credit card at an ATM, provided that you've set up the system and have a personal identification number to use for such applications.
In Barbados travelers checks are accepted by all banks and most hotels. To avoid additional exchange rate charges, you are advised to take travelers checks in U.S. dollars or pounds sterling.
The import of local currency is unlimited, subject to declaration. The export of local currency is prohibited. In Barbados, the import and export of foreign currency is limited to the amount declared on arrival.
Cash is king, and knowing how to use it in Barbados will get you a lot farther than if you arrive unaware.
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