The Travel Money Guide to Currency in Tahiti
Tahiti, the Queen of the South Pacific, is the largest in the French Polynesian chain of islands. But it isn’t a budget destination and to get the most out of your trip, it’s a good idea to learn everything you can about the local currency and payment options before you go.
The official currency of Tahiti is the CFP Franc (XPF). It's best to exchange money or use your credit card in Tahiti. If you can't buy some before your trip, the next best options are Australian Dollars (AUD), US Dollars (USD) or Euros (EUR). You can easily change these 3 currencies at the main Faa'a International Airport, local banks and hotels.
Want to learn more about the CFP Franc and how to get your hands on it for the best value? Read on to find out:
What Currency is Used in Tahiti?
What is the currency of Tahiti
The national currency of Tahiti is the CFP Franc. The CFP was introduced in 1945 and is issued by the Institut d’émission d’Outre-Mer (IEOM). It’s also used in other French collectivities, including French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Wallis and Futuna.
Do They Accept Australian Dollars in Tahiti?
Tahiti is a popular cruise destination. With a high number of single-day visitors from Australia, some businesses (particularly those near the cruise ship terminal) will accept AUD.
Even so, it’s better to have CFP francs on hand. Businesses are likely to factor conversion costs into their prices. So you could end up paying a far less favourable rate in Aussie dollars than if you’d just used the local money.
How to Buy CFP Franc Before You Go
There’s a certain reassurance that comes with stepping off the plane (or cruise ship) already cashed up with CFP Franc.
Buying CFP Franc before you leave Australian shores isn’t just convenient. It can also save you money. But it all depends on where you get your CFP Franc in Australia. There are three main options:
- Buy XPF online and have it delivered or collect it in-store
- Buy from a money changer
- Buy at your home airport
Currency exchange offices at Australian airports are notorious for their poor rates and commissions so we recommend avoiding that option entirely.
You’ll easily find a bureau de change near you; even suburban shopping centres should have at least one. But it’s better to get your money from an inner-city bureau if possible. They have more competition, which is likely to drive their rates down.
If there’s already too much running around to do ahead of your trip, consider ordering CFP Franc online. You can choose to have them delivered or made available for pick-up at a location near you.
Online orders are often the best value too, especially if you go with S Money, which offers the same rates listed on Google and XE.com.
How to Change Currency When You Arrive
Places like Pape'ete, and Punaauia receive great numbers of tourists, so there are facilities to cater to money exchanges. Beyond these major destinations, it’s best to get cash before you venture into remote territory.
We’re all used to getting our cash out at ATMs so it seems like the most convenient way to secure local cash in Tahiti. Plus there are BNC and BCI ATMs at the Fa’a international airport, making things extra easy.
Aside from the airpot, ATMs are readily available in Tahitian banks. It’s worth noting that some ATMs are only accessible during the bank’s opening hours. And even when they are open 24/7, they might not necessarily offer the best value.
Depending on your bank, you may have to pay for overseas ATM withdrawals and currency conversions. To reduce the amount you’ll pay in fees, try to withdraw just the right amount of money you’ll need for the duration of your trip.
Don’t forget: Let your bank know you’re travelling! If they detect a foreign transaction but aren’t aware you’re overseas, they could end up freezing your card.
Currency Exchange in Tahiti
The best place to exchange money is at Tahiti-Fa’a’a airport, which has two foreign exchanges offices (Banque Socredo and Banque de Tahiti) opened at the arrival and departure gates for international flights.
Please note: Some islands and atolls like Tuamotu, Gambier and Austral Islands, have no money exchange facilities
Not worth the bother! Travellers cheques are so outdated, very few banks even accept them any more.
Using Your Bank Card
Most Tahitian businesses are well set up to receive card payments. But before you use your bank card willy-nilly, it’s worth reading up on the fees and charges you might incur.
You’ll probably want a debit card if you plan to withdraw money from an ATM. While you may also be able to pay with a debit card in some businesses in the major destinations, you might discover some hefty fees on your account summary.
Depending on your bank, you could be hit with fees for foreign ATM withdrawals or currency conversions. But some banks are better than others; we recommend checking out ING, Revolut, and TransferWise, all of which have travel-friendly debit cards that waive these charges.
Credit cards can come with some enticing perks, including added security, loyalty programs, and even free travel insurance.
But are they worth it?
Major local businesses, including hotels, restaurants, airline offices, and department stores, accept credit cards. But you might have to pay a surcharge.
Mastercard and Visa are widely accepted. You may also be able to use your American Express card, though local ATMs won’t accept them.
Just be aware of additional charges you may incur for foreign transactions. These could include:
- International transaction fees
- High exchange rate margins
- ATM fees
- Potential ‘cash advance fees’ if you use an ATM
If you still prefer credit cards over any other payment, consider going with a company that offers cards that waive certain travel fees. Bankwest Platinum and 28 Degrees both have travel-friendly cards.
Prepaid Travel Cards
The biggest advantages of prepaid travel cards are that you can lock in a favourable exchange rate. You also get a handy back-up card.
Just remember that while they are convenient, you could end up paying a long list of hidden fees. Many travel cards still impose:
- Currency conversion fees
- Uncompetitive exchange rates
- International ATM withdrawal fees
- Initial load fees
- Reload fees
- Inactivity fees