What is the Currency of Samoa?

By Sharon Omondi on August 1 2017 in Economics

Samoan tālā banknotes.
Samoan tālā banknotes.

What is the Samoan Currency?

Samoa is a country found in Polynesia and is made up of islands including Savai’i, which is the largest island, located in the South Pacific. The currency of Samoa is the Samoan tālā. The Samoan tālā’s code is written as WST and its currency symbol is $. In addition to WST, other codes used to signify the tālā are SAT, ST, and T. The Samoan tālā is most commonly exchanged with the New Zealand Dollar (NZD). The Samoan tālā is minted and circulated by the Central Bank of Samoa. Prior to Samoa's independence from New Zealand in 1962, the country's currency was the Western Samoan pound, as well as the New Zealand dollar.


In 1967, new coins in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 sene and $1 tālā coins were introduced. They replaced the New Zealand coins which were previously used. The coins were struck in bronze and cupro-nickel metals. Additionally, they had the national emblem on the reverse side and the portrait of Malietoa Tanumafili on the obverse of the coins. James Bass designed a new series of coins in 1974. The coins had an agricultural theme which featured locally grown produce such as pineapples, banana trees, palm trees, and cocoa pods. 1 Samoan tālā is subdivided into 100 sene. The coins currently in use in Samoa are 10, 20, and 50 sene, and 1 and 2 tālā.


The first tālā banknotes were issued in 1967 in denominations of 1, 5, and 10 tālā. Shortly afterwards, the 5 tālā was introduced. In subsequent years, the 50 and 100 tālā notes were issued and the 1 tālā was abolished. In 2008, De La Rue began printing a new series of Samoan banknotes which had a security thread, modern designs, and brighter colors. Presently, the banknotes in circulation are 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 tālā.

Features of the Samoan Tālā Banknotes

The first banknote is the $2 tālā, which is blue-yellow in appearance. The Samoan $5 tālā is a red-pink banknote which is made of polymer plastic. The front side features the nation’s sandy beaches which points to the significance the tourism industry has on the economic growth of the country. On the other hand, the Samoan $10 tālā is a blue-green banknote whose front side features the victory of the Samoa’s rugby sevens team in the year 2007, whereas the reverse side features the children of Samoa. The third banknote, the Samoan $20 tālā, is a yellow-orange banknote. On its front side is a magnificent waterfall, while the reverse side portrays the nation’s national bird called “Manumea” and the national flower called “Teuila.” The Samoan $50 tālā is a purple-blue banknote and the Samoan $100 tālā is an emerald green banknote made of polymer plastic. The reverse side of the note has a photo of Samoa’s Cathedral of Apia. On the other hand, the obverse side has a portrait of the Late Malietoa Tanumafili II, who was the nation’s leader.

Exchange Rate Against the US Dollar

As of July 10, 2017, 1 Samoan tālā was exchanged for 0.4001 US dollars.

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