What Is the Currency of Trinidad and Tobago?

By John Misachi on August 2 2017 in Economics

Trinidad and Tobago dollar banknotes.

What Is the Currency of Trinidad and Tobago?

Trinidad and Tobago is an indistinguishable island located in the Arctic border of South America. It is the third richest country in the Americas in terms of purchasing power parity. The World Bank classifies the country as a high-income economy due to its primary industrial economy that depends on petroleum and petrochemical industries. The country’s wealth is attributed to the large oil reserves and exploitation of natural gas, which is a major export. The official currency in Trinidad and Tobago is the Trinidad and Tobago dollar, which is commonly abbreviated with a dollar sign as TT$ (pronounced as teetee), and is subdivided into 100 cents. It is minted and distributed by the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago.

History of the Trinidad and Tobago Dollar

Prior to the Trinidad and Tobago dollar, the Trinidadian dollar and the Tobagan dollar which were the country’s official currencies. Having been a British colony, the currency history follows a similar trend as the other British Eastern Caribbean colonies that used the British West Indies dollar as the legal tender. In 1964, Trinidad and Tobago introduced their own currency (dollars), which were in use until 1976 when the Trinidad and Tobago dollar and the Eastern Caribbean dollar ended their relationship, leaving the dollar as the legal tender on the island. The exchange rate remained tied to the traditional rate of one pound being equivalent to four dollars and eighty cents, in accordance with the gold sovereign. In 1989, VAT was introduced and the dollar switched the exchange rate system from a fixed regime to a managed floating regime.


The use of coins in the country commenced in 1966 when they were minted and distributed in denominations of 1¢, 5¢, 10¢, 25¢, and 50¢. In 1969, the first coin in the dollar denomination was distributed, but later replaced with a smaller coin in 1995. The 1¢ and 5¢ coins are struck with a bronze, while the rest are struck with cupro-nickel. On the obverse, the coins bear the Trinidad and Tobago's Coat of Arms, while the reverse has exclusive designs featuring the coin itself that lasted up to 1976, with added extra designs of a flower or a national bird. In addition, there are $5, $10, $100, and $200 coins, which are no longer in use but can be found at the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago as souvenirs for tourists.


The first government banknotes were issued in 1905 by the Royal Bank of Canada in denominations of $5, $20 & $100. The notes replicated the set of circumstances prevailing at the time, with a hundred dollars equivalent to twenty pounds, sixteen shillings, and eight pence sterling. The state of affairs was solely for the Eastern Caribbean region owing to the geographic propinquity to British Guiana. The current notes in circulation were issued in 1964 by the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago. The obverse of the notes features the coat of arms in the middle, a national bird and a landmark in Trinidad. The reverse bears the portrait of the building of the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago. The newest issue banknotes released in 2003 added new security features, as well as making them darker in their different colors.

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