Can I use US money in Jamaica?
Can I use US money in Jamaica? || Answered by Aneisha Dobson, Associate Writer
Yes you can! And in some cases, it might be recommended.
As fun and exciting travelling to Jamaica seems, I know that a lot of preparation goes into it.
And your question, "Can I use my currency or will I have to do a convert it?" is a very common one that usually weigh on the minds of other prospective travelers.
After all, a vacation entails eating in (our out of) restaurants, travelling from one place to another, exploring attractions and purchasing clothing and souvenirs. And all these activities require money.
United States citizens are common visitors to our island, therefore, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that US dollars are widely accepted in Jamaica.
But... An Important Consideration
United States Dollars are accepted here in Jamaica but, there are other factors that you should take into consideration.
First and foremost, let’s consider where you will be spending your money.
Most, if not all, hotels and resorts (especially the all-inclusive ones) quote their prices in US dollars. Evidently, this makes booking into the hotels much easier.
But, it’s not just hotel and resorts. There are a few restaurants, especially those in popular tourist areas like Ocho Rios, Negril and Montego Bay, which quote their prices in US as well.
Popular attractions, like Dunns River Falls, and private beaches, also quote their entrance fees in US dollars for non-residents.
Additionally, souvenir store are also known to price their items in US Dollars.
And even better than that, MasterCard and Visa cards are accepted throughout the island; point of point-of-sale machines have become increasing popular.
However, you should be quick to inquire about the possible fees and charges that you will incur when using your card in Jamaica!
Do I Even Need Any Jamaican Currency Then?
Yes, it is possible for a tourist to go throughout their entire vacation and not use Jamaican currency.
But, I know that not every tourist wants to spend their vacation in a hotel. Some want to explore the rural areas and experience the real Jamaica - as we call it.
Therefore, these tourist will more than likely spend at local street vendors, like Soupy, the local soup vendor, Nutsy, the peanut seller or the coconut man as well as corner bars and supermarkets.
In these cases, it is highly recommended that you have some Jamaican currency or small US bills (like US$1 or US$5). This leads to my second point, the exchange rate.
So What About The Exchange Rate?
Knowing the exchange rate between the US and Jamaican Dollar is very important as it you to determine, approximately, how much money they will actually need.
Bear in mind that Jamaica has a floating exchange rate though.
So, today it might be JA$125 to US$1. Then tomorrow it may jump to JA$133 to US$1. And by the next week, it could be back to JA$128 to Us$1.
According to the Bank of Jamaica, US$1 is currently equivalent to JA$128.80. If it is imperative that you convert from US to Jamaican, please be sure to do so at authorized cambios, commercial banks or at the airport.
But, as stated before, it is also common for merchants to transact business in US dollars.Does it really benefit me though?
This tactic employed by merchants is known as dynamic currency conversion and due to its convenience many travelers concede to its allure.
Basically, when you purchase something the merchant asks if you want it in local currency or your foreign currency. If you decide to go with your foreign currency, the merchant will calculate the local cost to foreign currency.
However, merchants may choose to use an unfavorable exchange rate to gain extra profit.
According to Business Insider article written by Mandi Woodruff, studies show that using a credit card when purchasing aboard actually saves travellers 8.1% when compared to the actual exchanging of currency at the banks, and a further 16.2% when compared to exchange services at the airport.
In the end though, the decision whether or not to convert is personal, I'm just giving you all the factors to consider.
Here, finally, are some useful tips for you.
• Inquire about possible credit cards charges for overseas usage.
• Create a budget to monitor your spending
• Know the exchange rate so you can convert for yourself.
I hope this was helpful. Happy vacationing!
Note. Be sure to read our article on how to travel with money in Jamaica
for even greater insights.
• BOJ Jamaica. (n.d.). FX Converter. Retrieved from http://boj.org.jm/foreign_exchange/fx_converter.php?amount=1¤cy=U.S.+DOLLAR
• Woodruff, M. (2012, June 19). What I Wish I'd Known About Currency Conversion Fees Before My Last Vacation. Retrieved from Business Insider: https://www.businessinsider.com.au/heres-what-i-wish-id-known-about-currency-conversion-fees-before-my-last-vacation-2012-6/amp