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Jamaica Currency
History, Denominations  & Current Exchange Rates

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Jamaica Currency | The New Bank Notes (source: Loop Jamaica)Jamaica Currency | The New Bank Notes (source: Loop Jamaica)

Contributed by Stacey Ann Gayle

Denoted by the code JMD, our local currency comes in the form of notes and coins, or dollars and cents.

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Jamaica Currency History

The first monies that were used here were pesos, reales and coins (gold and silver) used by the Spaniards, and pounds, shilling and pence use by the British.

In the 1960’s the Bank of Jamaica was given sole responsibility by the Jamaican parliament for providing coins and notes to be officially used for our currency.

The front of these moneys (then) bore a portrait of Queen Elizabeth 11, the Jamaican coat of arms, and the signature of the first governor of the bank, Stanley w. Payton. On the back appeared different images of Jamaican life.

Jamaican Currency Today

jamaica currency

Our money today can be identified either by a former national hero (or heroine), or a past leader of the country.

Also some national symbol would be on it too, for example the ackee - the national fruit, or the National Coat of Arms.

Growing up we would have these moneys in notes ranging from 50¢; $2.00; $5; $10 and $20 and could be used to purchase a lot of items at the local shop or supermarket.

Nowadays you will find them in coins of various shapes and sizes; sadly though, they cannot be used to purchase much - if anything at all!

The picture above shows what our notes once looked like, minus the still fairly new $5000 note that was released in 2009. However in 2022, it was announced that not only will we be receiving and upgrade on the current notes but we will be an additional note, the $2000. These notes are now officially in circulation, in June 2023, and they are absolutely beautiful. Our coins that are currently in use are in $1; $5; $10 and $20 denominations, these did not receive an upgrade. Here's what you will see on the new notes once you get your hands on them. 

  • Images of the late former prime ministers Edward Seaga and Michael Manley will appear on the new $2,000 notes.
  • Hugh Shearer and Donald Sangster, both former prime ministers, will appear on the updated $5,000 notes.
  • Norman Manley and Sir Alexander Bustamante, national heroes and founding fathers, will be featured prominently on the enhanced $1000 notes.
  • Sam Sharpe and Nanny of the Maroons will share the upgraded $500 notes.
  • National heroes Paul Bogle and George William Gordon will share the enhanced $50 notes. 
  • Marcus Garvey, Jamaica's first national hero, will be the only figure on the updated $100 notes.

The notes have improved durability and better material, improved security measures, raised dotting features for the blind, clear colors, and other distinctions between and among banknotes of various values.

What Is The Current Exchange Rate

The exchange rate varies daily, but as of November 6, 2019, the Jamaica currency rate (to the USD), according to the Bank Of Jamaica, was $139.39 Jamaican dollars to the US dollar. Remember this is the buying price, meaning the rate that banks will buy it from you at.

If they are selling (giving) it to you for Jamaican dollars, it is usually at at higher rate. At the above date, it was $141 JMD for 1 USD. The rate to buy and sell at each bank may differ. 

As of June 15, 2023 though, the exchange rate has gone up to JMD $154.52 per USD $1.

jamaica currency rates todayJamaica Currency (past) Rates
Jamaica currency past ratesJamaica Currency Exchange rate

Note that twenty (20) other currencies are listed with rates relative to the Jamaican Dollar, these are the...

  • E. C. DOLLAR
  • EURO
  • SWISS FRANC & the

Remember you can always get the most updated Jamaica exchange rate at the Bank Of Jamaica's website. Click this link to hop over and see for yourself.

I Should Tell You...

By the way, if you are coming here with USD, do note that most business places and institutions in Jamaica, especially those that do business in the tourist industry, does accept the use of the United States dollar so you and our visitors will have no problem when you get here.

You can exchange the US dollar or any other currency in Jamaica at any bank, Cambio or foreign exchange (fx) trader.

Electronic instruments are also widely accepted in Jamaica today.
Read more about how much money to bring to Jamaica here.

Recommended: Should I Take Cash Or Card To Jamaica, How Much Cash Can I Carry Legally To Jamaica?

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Return to Profile of Jamaica from Jamaica Currency
Return to My Island Jamaica Homepage from Jamaica Currency

References & Sources For Jamaica Currency

  2. Morgan, M. (2023, March 8). Jamaica’s Finance Minister says new banknotes set for public release by mid-June. CNW Network.
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