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Local Currency Preferences

Lakewood, Ohio
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9 posts
6 reviews
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Local Currency Preferences

Just curious about currency preferences around the island. Would the local merchants prefer ECs over US currency? If we bring US $$'s, should we go to the bank and convert them to ECs?

We will also have an ATM card that will spit out ECs.

Is there any benefit to using one or the other? We just want to go with the flow.

Thanks,

Bill & Jan

Vancouver, Canada
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1. Re: Local Currency Preferences

Whenever we have asked merchants which they prefer EC or US, we have always been told EC. If you pay in US $, it will be difficult for the merchant to give you US change. A US transaction requires a conversion to EC and local currency given as change.

As my math skills for converting back and forth are not the best, I prefer to stick to the local currency, easier for all involved.

We find the ATM machines very accessible and take out EC cash whenever we need it.

Credit cards are accepted at almost all hotels and restaurants.

Nevis
Destination Expert
for Nevis
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6,943 posts
9 reviews
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2. Re: Local Currency Preferences

Well, $US are widely accepted around the island - 99.999% of the vendors will accept them and they all have calculators on hand to figure out the conversion to the $EC price. In fact, they are very skilled at conversions. Many vendors, especially those who cater to the tourist trade, will have prices marked in both $EC and $US. As Rainy pointed out if you pay in $US some vendors will give you change in $EC. For what it is worth, in the 12 years I've been living on the island I have never once ran into a vendor who didn't accept $US.

There is usually a slight pricing advantage if you pay in $EC but unless you are making a major purchase the difference is minimal.

FYI - the official exchange rate is $1US=$2.6882EC but many vendors will use $1US=$2.70EC and you could see anything between $2.60EC to $2.70=$1.00EC.

Now, here's a very easy way to do the conversion in your head:

Divide $EC price by 3 and add 10%. The result will be within pennies of the "official rate". Example: $12.00EC / 3 = $4.00 then $4.00 + $.40 = $4.40US. (In this case if you used the official $2.6882 rate the actual conversion would be $4.46US) .

And, yes ATM's around the island dispense $EC.

So, don't waste your time going to the bank to exchange your $US for $EC - you can't do it at a US bank before you leave and the lines at the banks on Nevis are usually long and slow moving. Use $US when you first get on island and get $EC from ATM's when or if you need more cash.

Fort Myers Beach...
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109 posts
4 reviews
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3. Re: Local Currency Preferences

On a recent trip to Nevis, I ordered $EC at Bank of America a couple weeks before I left. I wasn't sure what would be preferred and didn't want to arrive late on a Friday with only $US. Turned out I didn't really need it. Purchases and tips were welcomed in $US or credit card all over the island. The only place where prices were marked only in $EC were a drug store and a grocery store in Charlestown.

I used up the last of my $EC on part of my hotel bill so it all worked out.

Slovenia
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for Costa Rica
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15,052 posts
60 reviews
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4. Re: Local Currency Preferences

I only use US$ if agreed in advance with hotel owner. Otherwise ATM card and local currency. And I always come back with some EC$ ... good excuse to visit Caribbean again!

Northern Ohio
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16 reviews
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5. Re: Local Currency Preferences

I've found that you can get by fine with USD, though if you pay with a credit card, most places charge in EC$ and the charges are then converted to USD ...and then, many (most?) credit cards charge anywhere from 2 - 3% service charge to convert the foreign exchange.

Check with your credit card company. I now use my Capital One MC on Nevis because there's no conversion charges and the last time I was there, I probably spent $50 - $60 USD in conversion charges from Chase and Amex (Amex does have some cards that don't charge conversion, but alas, I didn't have one. :(

Lakewood, Ohio
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9 posts
6 reviews
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6. Re: Local Currency Preferences

Thank you all for your information and wisdom!

We'll see you tomorrow. All packed and can't wait!

Thanks,

Bill & Jan

7. Re: Local Currency Preferences

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