Currency in Tonga

A Travel Money Guide to Tonga

A small island country located in the South Pacific, Tonga features some of the most beautiful beaches known to man.

In addition to the dozen of islands for you to explore, Tonga is also one of the two places in the world where you can jump in the water and swim with humpback whales. It really is a dreamy tropical paradise!

Learn about the currency in Tonga and the appropriate travel money options for your trip. Our guide will help you figure out the best way to take your money to Tonga. Read on to find out:

What Is the Best Currency to Use in Tonga?

Tongan currency TOP banknotes and coins

The best currency to use in Tonga is the Tongan Pa’anga. It’s represented by the international code TOP and the symbol $.

As with the Aussie dollar, the Tongan Pa’anga is made up of 100 cents and comprises a mixture of banknotes and coins.

Tonga’s banknotes come as $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100. Coins are available in 5 cents, 10 cents, 20 cents, 50 cents and 1 dollar.

Can I Use Australian Dollars in Tonga?

In planning your trip to Tonga, bear in mind that Australian dollars are not accepted across the islands. The Aussie dollar has no value to locals and will need to be converted into Tongan Pa’anga before you begin your adventures.

What Currency Do They Accept in Tonga?

You cannot use foreign currencies in Tonga but rest assured that Tonga money changers will be happy to exchange all major foreign currencies including Australia, US or New Zealand dollars, for the local dollar.

Using Your Bank Card in Tonga

Some of the best travel money cards include debit, credit and prepaid cards. Across the islands, you’ll find that hotels and resorts will allow credit card payment. However, majority of the merchants will only accept cash.

Whether you decide to pay with a debit or credit card is your choice, as long as you’re aware of the fees and charges incurred by the different cards.

Debit Cards

Debit cards are most useful for ATM withdrawals but there are a handful of businesses in Tonga that will allow you to pay by card.

Depending on which card you use, you may face excessive bank fees for each transaction. These fees may include foreign ATM withdrawal fees and conversion fees.

We recommend searching for a bank card that’s designed for frequent travellers. Some travel-friendly debit cards that waive a portion of the charges include Wise, ING, Citibank and Revolut.

Credit cards are accepted as currency in Fiji

Credit Cards

While certain hotels and resorts will accept a credit card, it’s good to rely on cash most of the time in Tonga.

You’ll be able to use your credit cards at an ATM but be mindful that you must have a four-digit pin code to withdraw cash. There are ATMs available throughout Tonga but not in all of the islands. So, when you find yourself at the airport or near a bank, ensure that you top up with cash.

Some credit cards come with attractive features for frequent travellers, including complimentary travel insurance, rewards points, and additional security measures.

But the perks are countered by some exorbitant charges if you use your card overseas, including:

  • International transaction fees
  • High exchange rate margins
  • ATM fees
  • Potential ‘cash advance fees’ if you use an ATM

As with debit cards, there are some exceptions. Bankwest Platinum and 28 Degrees cards are designed for travellers and waive the currency conversion fees.

Prepaid Travel Cards

Currently, no Aussie prepaid travel cards allow you to load up on Tongan Pa’anga so it won’t be much use to you during your trip to Tonga.

One may use a prepaid travel card in Tonga as it will waive foreign currency conversion fees on unsupported currencies. But you’ll still have to pay to load and reload your card, so travel cards would not be recommended if Tonga is your only destination on this trip.

Currency Converter for the Tongan Pa’anga

The Tongan Pa’anga is relatively stable to the Australian dollar (AUD) and the New Zealand dollar. Converting AUD to TOP is easy with our currency conversion tool.

Simply enter in the value and currencies to figure out how much it would cost you to buy Tongan Pa’anga with S Money today. We use the same mid-market rate you’d find on Google or


*Wholesale exchange rate updated

How to Exchange Currency in Tonga

Most small businesses and merchants in Tonga will only accept cash as they won't have the facilities to allow card payments. Remember to plan in advance and stock up with the right bills before you explore the beautiful experiences Tonga has in store.

You can get currency in Fiji through the available ATMs

ATMs in Tonga

When you withdraw money from the ATM, the money will be in Tongan Pa’anga. It’s important to note that ATMs can be found in Nuku’alofa (Tongatapu), Neiafu (Vava’u), Pangai (Ha’apai) and ‘Ohonua (‘Eua). However, there are no ATMs on other islands.

If you decide to withdraw from an ATM in Tonga, you may pay an expensive fee for the transaction. Tongan ATMS typically  charge TOP $8 – 10 per withdrawal. And that’s on top of any foreign ATM withdrawal or currency conversion fee your bank might impose per transaction.

ANZ operates in Tonga. So if you have a card from ANZ, you can avoid the ATM withdrawal fee by using the ATM that corresponds to your bank card.

Important note: Make sure you notify your bank about your travels. If you don’t, they could consider any Tongan purchases as suspicious activity and freeze your card.

Currency Exchange in Tonga

There are various ways to change your AUD into TOP in Tonga. Choose between money changers at the airport or at major hotels or resorts. It would be wise to prepare cash before your trip or top up with cash when you pass an ATM as they become less frequent the further you explore out to remote islands.

Alternatively, you can head to ANZ Bank as they also provide reliable exchange services.

For currency exchange in Fiji you can use a money exchange
Traveller's cheques are still accepted as currency in Fiji

Travellers Cheques

Some banks and hotels in Tonga still cash traveller’s cheques. But that doesn’t mean you should invest in them. You’ll get just as much value (if not more) out of alternatives such as ATM withdrawals and direct cash exchanges.

Buying Tongan Pa’anga Before You Go

There’s always a comfort in having the local cash on you as soon as you leave the airport. Luckily, buying Tongan Pa’anga before you leave home can be a seamless process, with three main options to suit your needs:

  • Buy TOP online and have it delivered or collect it in-store.
  • Buy from a bureau de change.
  • Buy at your home airport.

Since bureau de change desks at Australian airports are renowned for their poor rates, we recommend avoiding them and picking up your currency ahead of time.

A fuss-free way to secure your travel money is to order it online. It can be delivered to your door or made available for pick-up at a convenient location.
Online currency providers offer competitive deals you’re unlikely to find elsewhere. For example, S Money offers the same rate listed on Google and

If you’re in the city, an alternative is to visit a CBD bureau de change. Suburban outlets don’t have the competition to keep prices low and banks often supply high fees and poor rates.

How Much Cash Should I Bring to Tonga?

If you don’t want to convert leftover foreign cash back into AUD at the end of a trip, simply calculate your budget and plan accordingly. This will help you to avoid the unnecessary fees that come with this chore!

Your budget will depend on your travel itinerary and whether you prefer backpacking or luxury. We recommend putting aside roughly $290 per day for Tonga, depending on your own needs.

Here are some of the average costs to help you calculate your own budget (all quoted in the Tongan Pa’anga):


A private room for two


A standard dinner


A beer


A short taxi ride


A full day island tour

Track the best time to buy currency

We match the currency exchange rate with the rate shown on Google or Xe. In real time.

This means you never pay over-inflated rates and can be 100% positive you are getting the most competitive rate for currency exchange.

  • Check out the daily rates:

Not ready to buy yet?
You can get a free rate tracker!

Updated: Posted on