If you have planned a trip to the Bahamas, apart from the tourist attractions, it is important to familiarize yourself with the Bahamian dollar - the Bahama’s currency - and all its specificities. The value of the Bahamian dollar and the characteristics of Bahamian coins and banknotes will surely be of great benefit to you during your stay.
In this article, you will find tips about using the BSD during your stay, the relationship between the USD and BSD, the history and the origin of the currency, and some interesting facts.
What currency do the Bahamas use? The Bahamian dollar (BSD) has been the national currency of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas since 1966. It is denoted by the symbol B$ to distinguish it from other dollar-denominated currencies and consists of 100 cents. The value of the BSD is pegged to the USD and is managed by the Central Bank of the Bahamas. Bahamian money comes in $1, $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100 bills.
Since the Bahamas was a British colony from 1718 to 1973, the British pound (GBP) was previously used at a rate of 7 shillings per BSD. After that, they gained independence and became a self-governing nation within the British Commonwealth in 1964.
Since the value of the Bahamian dollar is pegged to the USD, the real value of the BSD depends on the Bahamian economy. The Bahamian economy is largely sustained by tourism and the fishing industry, so the stability of the Bahamian dollar also depends on trade power. And the Bahamas' GNP (Gross National Product) is one of the highest in the region.
You will find more on the connection of the BSD to the USD and the use of Bahama’s currency in the US below.
If you are traveling from the US to the Bahamas, you do not need to exchange money because the US and Bahamian dollars are of equal value and the USD is generally accepted. However, if you are coming from another country, you will need to buy the local currency.
The Central Bank aims to maintain stable Bahamian currency exchange conditions in order to maintain parity between the US dollar and the Bahamian dollar.
The good thing is that when you stay in the Bahamas, you don't have to worry about which currency to use because businesses don't care if you pay in US dollars or Bahamian dollars, except that you can't get change in USD. The advantage is that you won't incur any Bahamas currency exchange fees.
Using USD in the Bahamas is widely accepted - some vendors will even prefer that you pay them in USD, so it's not only possible to buy using US dollars, it's desirable. For example, casinos only accept US dollars, and as for ATMs, so-called home ATMs dispense US currency.
ATMs can be found everywhere except on remote and inaccessible islands. ATMs are widely available in banks, stores, resorts, and shopping centers. ATMs can be found throughout Nassau, Paradise Island, and Freeport, but are much more difficult on the smaller and more remote islands.
However, if you're going a bit further than an excursion, bring more money because you won't have many options for exchanging. It is worth mentioning that one of the safer ways to pay is by credit card, but still, ask where they are accepted.
Coins in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 15, 25, 50 cents, 1, and 2 dollars were introduced in the Bahamas in 1966. Different coins are made of different materials, for example, the 1 cent is made of nickel-brass, the 5, 10, and 15 cents are made of copper-nickel, and the 50 cents and B$1 are made of silver. Relative to US coins, the 1-cent coin is similar in size to the US $1, and the 5 and 25-cent coins are similar in size but different in composition.
Bahama’s currency is recognizable by the Bahamian coat of arms on one side of the coin with the inscription "Commonwealth of the Bahamas" and the date. And on the other side of the coin are items that reflect Bahamian culture. For example, 1 cent has 3 starfish painted on it, 5 cents a pineapple, 15 cents a hibiscus, and 25 cents an indigenous lup. The Bahama’s currency is particularly interesting in its own right, and at the same time has value.
The Bahamian currency has seen several revisions over the past twenty years, with the most significant change taking place to mark the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus's landing on the Bahamian island known as San Salvador.
Planning a vacation to the Bahamas? Before you leave, get to know all the interesting things about the unique currency of the Bahamas.
As we have already said, Bahama’s currency is distinctive in its design, and each banknote is specific in its own way.
Thus, the B$0.50, B$10 and B$100 banknotes have a picture of Queen Elizabeth II, today's Queen of England. Also, among the important figures you can see on Bahamian dollars are politicians Roland Theodore Simonette and Milo Butler.
These images are actually watermarks that are engraved on banknotes using a special technique. In addition to people, you can also find national landmarks such as Nassau Harbor and the Bahamas Central Bank Building, and national animals such as the blue marlin.
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