The Dominican Peso, written as RD$ or referred to
as DOP on some financial web sites, is currently (October 2003) selling
RD$37 = US$1. This is the rate the webmaster recently
various cambios (money exchange) in Boca Chica. The official
rate is typically lower.
To see current official rates, click HERE.
US Dollars or Dominican Pesos.
US Dollars can be used almost everywhere in the tourist areas, but your
change will likely be in Dominican Pesos and store owners frequently
take a peso
or so off the exchange rate, in their favor. Outside of the
however, Dominican Pesos are expected and it can be difficult to find a
exchange your dollars. Canadian and European currencies can
exchanged and change houses located throughout the tourist areas but
are not accepted by merchants. The same can be said about
US Dollars or Other Currency.
Note that it is almost always best to change only
US Dollars for Dominican
Pesos. While various other currencies such as Canadian,
German, Swiss, etc. can be exchanged for Dominican Pesos quite readily
tourist areas, one will save 10-35% by first converting to US Dollars
at a good
rate before coming to the Dominican Republic and then changing US
Where to Change.
One option is to already have exchanged some money before you leave.
This saves you time but you need to do it where you can get a
decent exchange rate. You can also use the below service to redeem any
remaining Dominican Pesos after your trip back to your home currency,
for the best possible rate. I recommend the below link:
Upon arrival in the Dominican Republic, you will
also have the opportunity to
purchase Dominican Pesos at a change booth located right at the
The cambio just before passing through immigration at the Santo Domingo
actually pays as good of a rate of exchange for US Dollars as the best
cambios, so go ahead and exchange your money at the airport if you
This is unusual compared to most international airport cambios.
Money can be changed for Dominican Pesos at many
change booths located
throughout the world in international airports but they give a poor
rate. These should only be used as a last resort should you
convert your Dominican Pesos back into another currency after you have
left the Dominican Republic. I have seen change booths that
will buy or
sell Dominican Pesos in Newark and Miami airports. Remember,
money is not accepted at any cash exchange.
Counterfeit Money / Damaged or Defaced
Be aware that counterfeiting is a problem (local and foreign
When changing large bills (US$100), place a mark on each bill so that
cashier cannot return you the money, claiming it to be
the cashier your bills are marked and show the mark to avoid any
fast-switching. When receiving Dominican pesos (RD$500 and
the bills flat out in front of you and tilt the bill towards and then
yourself. Look for the yellow fluorescent stripe about 1/2
about 1 inch from the right edge, and running from the top of the bill
bottom. It will reflect when viewed from an angle but will
not when viewed
from directly overhead.
Please be aware that the country will soon no longer accept bills that
markings of any kind. Many businesses already will not except
has been written on or bears ink stamps as was typical of cambios that
identify money that came from them and that they certify as not being
Banks are one of the worst places to purchase Dominican Pesos but they
the only choice when selling a currency obscure to the Dominican
trying to cash a travelers check that has been refused
unless you are changing thousands of dollars, there really isn't much
difference between the best and worst places to exchange your
Most hotels will exchange a limited amount of Dominican Pesos for your
currency, but in exchange for this service, you will usually not
receive the best exchange
Located throughout the tourist areas there are many cash exchange
These are the best places to change money.
J&F is a good place to change money in Boca Chica, located next
to the Don
Juan Hotel (west).
Another secure place with the Western Union,
located at the TriCom office
directly behind the Don Juan Beach Resort. There is also a
center for making overseas calls.
Beware of people changing money on the street, offering excellent
rates. Not only is it illegal, most will attempt to scam you
slight of hand or some other trick and they are pretty good at it.
Your international ATM cards (Plus or Cirrus system compatible) will
work in the
Dominican Republic and you will get the official exchange rate less a
commission, however note that the "official" exchange rate can be as
much as 10% worse than the rates offered at cambios. There
machines located throughout the country, especially in the larger
cities and the
tourist areas. While convenient to use, I don't recommend
using ATM cards
accept as a last resort. Should your card be retained by the
happens even occasionally even where you live, you will waste a lot of
to get it back, that is, if you still have a week left in the country
have to leave. Still, these can be very useful should you
short on cash.
Keep in mind that a machine may work one day with
your card, and the next day
it may not (communications troubles, etc.). You may have to
machines to find one that works with your card on any particular
found that the BTH Bank Machine (map
location yellow 22)
has been pretty reliable as a connection to the Cirrus money card
Your credit card (American Express, Visa, MasterCard) will generally be
throughout the country with hotels, restaurants, and merchants but
purchases will often require that you present your passport.
rules used for computing the rate of exchange for ATM cards apply to
cards. You can also use your MasterCard or Visa to obtain
via a cash advance. Just walk into any bank and ask to see a
person. If you do decide to use a credit card, monitor your
closely, as some have reported fraudulent charges appearing after
their cards in the Dominican Republic. This of course is not
unique to the
Dominican Republic and can happen domestically as well.
Banco Reserva located in the side of Boca Chica
Investing in Dominican Pesos.
Visitors will often be lured by stories of
investment accounts paying 20-25%
annual interest or more. It is true. But be aware
investments are unsecured, that the interest is paid in Dominican
Pesos, and if
history repeats itself, the value of the peso compared to the US Dollar
fall very quickly. Thus, the interest rate is commensurate
with the risk involved.
Money Transfer - Options for Sending
Western Union is popular and
convenient. Transaction costs run
about US$80 per US$1000 sent. Frequent users can send up to
$2000/month. Transfer is immediate. Recipients
pickup their money at
any Western Union office. Users can pay at any Western Union
location, by credit card from their web site, or by credit card over
A VISA debit card is issued in the name
you specify and delivered to the
address you specify. It's use is limited to funds available
in the Visa Buxx account. You add funds via a web site and
the funds can come from a credit card or a bank account. Fees
are US$3 for every US$250 deposited to the card
(can be done on-line and via your credit card). Up to
US$988 can be credited to the card per month.
That's US$1000 including the $3 fee on each of 4 transactions of US$247.
Bank ATM card.
The least costly option is to open a new checking
and savings account. Do not link them, and get ATM cards
issued for each. The ATM card for the checking account may be
offered as a Debit card as well. The person to whom you wish
to send money gets the ATM card associated with the checking
account. If it is a Debit card, they can also use it like a
credit card, subjected to a credit limit equal to the amount of money
in the account. Note that debit cards do not offer the same
fraud protection that credit cards offer and if stolen, could be used
to empty the account with no recourse.
Ask that the checking account be linked to the ATM card for the Savings
To send money, use the ATM card to deposit into savings and then
transfer it to checking. Optionally, the sender can
deposit money into the savings account via an on-line banking
transaction. The bank machine
transaction withdrawal limit is irrelevant, I've been able to withdraw
RD$20,000 in a single transaction and repeat up to the daily limit of
Be aware that giving your bank card to another
person is usually in violation
of bank agreements.
I would recommend against this because I recently
read a report that a reputable
bank received money transferred from the USA and then refused
to put it in the valid recipient's account, effectively stealing the
amount. That said, there are usually fees on the order of
US$35 for both the sender
and the receiver participating in a bank transfer, also known as a wire
but I've seen some institutions that do not charge to receive or charge
than US$10. Banks will generally use the official exchange
rate, which is always lower than that being paid by cambios in the DR
not as good as
credit and ATM cards, which themselves always pay slightly less than
I personally tried to wire money from an American
bank account to a Banco Popular account and the receiving bank, after 1
week was still unable to receive the money and I had to cancel the
transaction. This cost me fees and time.