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What currency is accepted in Jamaica?


What currency is accepted in Jamaica? || Answered by Aneisha Dobson, Associate Writer

Great question!

Money is always an important factor to consider when travelling. Other than transportation and accommodation expenses, you’ll have to consider money for shopping and spending while on the island.

After all, I’m sure you’ll want to bring a piece of Jamaica back home.
Knowing whether or not your home currency is accepted is extremely important as it will obviously affect the ease or the difficult of conducting transactions.

On top of that, it is important to get familiarized with currency used in Jamaica. That’s where I’ll start off.

Local Currency – Jamaican Dollars


The official currency of Jamaica is known as Jamaican Dollars since 1969. Jamaican currency is a combination of coins and bank notes. Currently, in circulation are the:

  • $1
  • $5
  • $10
  • $20
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $1000 &
  • $5000


Note that as of February 15, 2018, the one, ten and twenty-five center were demonetized meaning they are no longer in circulation.

However, coins are still utilized.

Currently, the one, five, ten and twenty dollar are circulated as coins, while the other denominations are banknotes.

Our currency also strongly holds pieces of Jamaican heritage. For instance, some of the coins and banknotes depicts images of Jamaica’s National Heroes.

In regards to the value of the Jamaican Dollar, you’ll observe that the exchange rate tends to fluctuate. That’s because Jamaica has a floating exchange rate. Therefore, the exchange rate is determined by the demand and supply. You can read more about the Jamaican currency here.

Ok, now let’s move on to foreign currency.

The Darling Of Foreign Currencies


The foreign currency that is widely accepted in Jamaica is clearly the US Dollar. In fact, most business that are aimed towards attracting tourist usually quote prices in two main currencies: The Jamaican Dollar and the US Dollar.

That just means that you'll need to decide whether you will be spending US Dollars or Jamaican Dollars during on vacation. Please note that only US banknotes are accepted, not coins.

What if my home currency is not US Dollars?


Now this is where it can get a little tricky.

If your home currency is not US Dollars then your next best options is to convert it to the currency that you plan to use. However, you need to be smart about the conversion.

First, you’ll need to ascertain how convertible your home currency is. “Convertible” here means that the currency can be freely exchange into another currency.

The British pound, Euro, Canadian dollar, and US dollar are considered highly convertible currencies in Jamaica.

Second, you’ll need to determine which currency you’ll be mostly spending during your vacation, US Dollars or Jamaican Dollars.

If your home currency, other than USD, is highly convertible and you plan on spending US Dollars, it is advised that you do the conversion in your home country. On the other hand, if you plan on spending Jamaican Dollars, then you can do all the conversions here in Jamaica.

If your home currency is not highly convertible and you plan on spending US Dollars, then it’s still best you do the conversion in your home country. On the other hand, if you plan on spending mainly Jamaican dollars you’ll have to do two conversions.

The first conversion will be conducted in your home country where you’ll convert your home currency to US Dollars. Then when you arrive in Jamaica you convert the US Dollars to Jamaican Dollars.

I know, it sounds tedious. However, in the end the sun, sea and sand is worth the hassle :-)

Before You Go


Before you go, I want to highlight another important factor, and that’s where you’ll be spending your money.

As simple as it sounds, knowing where you’ll shop will aid in determining which currency is ideal for you.

For instance, if you plan to spend most of your time at a hotel or an all-inclusive resort, you’ll realize that do they accept foreign currency, specifically the US Dollars.

In fact, most establishments that are geared towards drawing tourists, including restaurants, natural attractions and souvenir stores, usually quote there prices both in US Dollars as well as Jamaican Dollars.

In local establishments, such as the supermarkets and corner shops, they mainly price their goods and services in Jamaican Dollars. However, from personal experience, living in Montego Bay for a number of years, I’ve realised that most businesses are willing to take US Dollars when offered.

However, the down side to this is that vendors can set the exchange rate to their advantage!

Also, I must mention that if you are to receive change from your purchase, you’ll receive it in Jamaican Dollars even though you paid in US Dollars.

In addition, since most establishments have already adopted a cashless system all you’ll need is your credit card.

However, do ensure that you speak to your credit cards issuer in regards to possible charges for using your card while in Jamaica. Also, when doing your conversion, I highly recommend an authorized cambio or commercial bank.


Above all, always be mindful of the current exchange rate!
Good luck and happy spending!

Regards,
AD

P.S. If this article was helpful to you, please consider sharing with someone using the links below.


References

  • Thomas Cook. (n.d.). Jamaica Currency. Retrieved from Thomas Cook: https://www.thomascook.com/holidays/caribbean/jamaica/currency/

  • Black's Law Dictionary . (n.d.). Convertible Currency.
    Retrieved from Black's Law Dictionary : https://thelawdictionary.org/convertible-currency/&ved=2ahUKEwjR54HgpsniAhWx1lkKHTm0BF8QwaICMAx6BAgNEC8&usg=AOvVaw1OjEVroRrmGybCNq1g-JBt

  • TripAdvisor. (n.d.). Jamaica: Which Currency Should Be Used . Retrieved from TripAdvisor: https://www.tripadvisor.co.nz/ShowTopic-g147309-i69-k10131325-Currency_to_take-Jamaica.htm

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