I’m writing this post because during my 4 week stay in Barbados, I experienced certain issues with regards to cash, credit/debit card payments and ATM withdrawal. This happened due to restrictions in Barbados and this post is to shed some light on these issues in order to help anyone who plans on visiting the island to know what to expect.

Prior to traveling to Barbados, most people want to know how much money you can bring into the island and how much you have to declare with Customs at the airport. The answer is; all individual visitors are only allowed to bring in B$5000  or US$2,500 in cash on arrival at Grantley Adams International Airport without declaring it. Any sum above this amount must be declared with Customs….

For family members, each adult can bring up to B$5000 or US$2,500 individually and total sum in cash for a family cannot exceed B$10,000 or US$5000. However, based on what I experienced at the airport, if you don’t declare any sums, no one asks you any questions.

That being said, keep in mind that foreign currency is highly restricted/regulated in Barbados and you cannot withdraw dollars, pounds or any foreign currency besides of the Barbadian dollar from the ATM machines. ATM withdrawals will require the conversion of the said sum from the currency of origin to Barbadian dollar.

For example; If you want to withdraw B$1000, and your account currency in your home country is in Shekel, the ATM will convert the sum from Shekel to Barbadian dollars using the conversion rate at the time, lets say 1B$ to = 1.8460 NIS, plus 1% fee (depending on how much you’re withdrawing) therefore, for this withdrawal, your account will be charged B$1,010 or 1,864.50 NIS, not including home bank charges. (Picture below)

receipt showing ATM withdrawal charges plus exchange rate
Receipt showing ATM withdrawal and currency conversion fee in Barbadian dollars

If you desperately need US Dollars, you need to go in person to a bank with your international passport and return flight ticket to exchange money. The reason for the return flight ticket is to show that you’ll be leaving Barbados and the money will be spent overseas. (Crazy, I know). So it is advised to bring your USD’s with you to avoid paying huge conversion fees and to not end up stranded if your card gets declined or blocked for any reason.

In my next Post, i’ll explain how my debit card got blocked after I used it to pay at an Asian restaurant in Cave Shepherd Mall in Barbados and how to prevent this from happening to you.

Bonus Tip: Most vendors whether mall or corner shop will gladly receive your USD in exchange for BD as it is rare to come by.

PS: The information on this page is deemed accurate at the time it was posted. Also, this is not legal advice and should not be considered as such. Five foot nomad is not liable for any misrepresentation or misinterpretation of any posts on its website.

Cover Photo by Pixabay from Pexels