What Currency does Barbados use?

Barbados uses the Barbados Dollar as its official currency, often represented by the symbols “BBD” or “$”.

Distinctive in its design and reflecting the island’s rich history and culture, the Barbadian Dollar is the primary mode of transaction for goods and services on the island. Yet, for the convenience of travellers, the US Dollar is also widely accepted in most establishments, making financial transactions in Barbados both straightforward and flexible for visitors from around the globe.

The USD is always half the price shown in BBD.

History of Barbadian Currency

Long before the advent of the Barbadian Dollar, the island, under British colonial rule, relied on the British pound sterling. Coins from Britain, and even Spanish dollars, circulated the island, reflecting its position in global trade and colonial dynamics. In the early 1970s, in a move echoing its growing autonomy and post-independence identity, Barbados transitioned to its own currency. This shift was symbolic of breaking away from colonial economic ties and embracing a more localized economic structure.

The look of the Barbadian Dollar, from banknotes to coins, captures the essence of the island. From national heroes to iconic landmarks and endemic species, the currency serves as a miniature canvas of Barbadian heritage. The flying fish, for instance, featured on one of the coins, isn’t a nod to the island’s marine life but it’s also the Barbados national dish.

What denominations of the Barbados dollar can you get?

  • Coins: These come in denominations of 1 cent, 5 cents, 10 cents, 25 cents, and 1 dollar. Notably, the coins are distinct in size and design, making them easily distinguishable. As mentioned earlier, the imagery ranges from the iconic flying fish to the national coat of arms.

  • Banknotes: Barbadian banknotes are vibrant and varied, available in denominations of $2, $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100. Each note carries a unique color and features national heroes, historical events, or significant landmarks, adding a touch of Barbadian essence.

What is the Exchange rate of the Barbados dollar?

The value of the Barbadian Dollar is pegged to the US Dollar, with an exchange rate of 1 US Dollar to 2 Barbadian Dollars. This means its value doesn’t fluctuate wildly based on global currency market shifts but rather remains steady relative to the US Dollar.

Can you use USD in Barbados?

Most establishments in Barbados, especially those frequented by tourists such as hotels, restaurants, and popular attractions, accept the US Dollar.

While the official exchange rate is approximately 2 Barbadian Dollars to 1 US Dollar, it’s not uncommon for businesses to round it for simplicity. For instance, some places might offer a 1:2 rate, while others might round it off to a slightly less favourable rate for tourists. It’s always beneficial to ask beforehand.

While US Dollars are widely accepted, the change is often given in Barbadian Dollars. This system helps ensure that the local currency remains in circulation and also acquaints tourists with the local denominations.

USD and barbados banknotes together

Does that mean Barbados is a US territory?

Barbados is not a U.S. territory, and it does not use the U.S. dollar as its official currency. Barbados is an independent nation and its official currency is the Barbadian dollar (BBD). The misconception might arise because the U.S. dollar is widely accepted in many Caribbean countries due to the region’s heavy reliance on tourism, but each country maintains its own government and monetary system.

Using ATMs and Credit Cards in Barbados

ATMs are conveniently located across the island and there are several around the location of Villa Sunnyside Barbados. Most of these machines are linked to well-established local and international banks, such as CIBC FirstCaribbean, Scotiabank, and Republic Bank.

However, while ATMs do provide easy access to the local Barbadian Dollars, be mindful of potential transaction fees. These can arise from the local bank in Barbados or from your home bank, especially if they charge for international withdrawals.

You’ll be pleased to know that major credit cards, including Visa, MasterCard, and American Express, enjoy widespread acceptance. Larger establishments, such as hotels, restaurants, and upscale stores, readily accept these cards. Smaller shops might have a preference for cash transactions. This makes having a modest amount of Barbadian Dollars in your pocket a prudent choice.

The final word about Barbados currency

The Barbadian Dollar is set at a stable rate of 1 US Dollar to 2 Barbadian Dollars. This makes it easy for visitors and businesses alike.

This fixed rate eliminates the guesswork often associated with fluctuating exchange rates, ensuring that travellers can budget and plan their expenditures with confidence.

Visitors will find that many establishments readily accept both currencies. Whether you’re dining out or shopping in Bridgetown, both Barbadian and US dollars are typically welcomed.

Credit and debit cards are widely accepted across the island, making electronic payments convenient for tourists and residents.

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Villa Sunnyside Barbados

Villa Sunnyside Barbados

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Lucy Bridge

I love to travel with my family. Over the years, we’ve found ourselves coming back to the magic of Sunset Crest. So much so, that we finally decided to take the plunge and buy Villa Sunnyside in 2022!