What is the Best Way to Pay in Samoa? 💰 [2023]
What is the Best Way to Pay in Samoa? 💰 [2023]

What is the Best Way to Pay in Samoa? 💰 [2024]

© SamoaPocketGuide.com

The Best Payment Methods in Samoa

So you’re going through the “essentials” planning stage for your trip to Samoa? Don’t worry, it’s going to be pretty simple when it comes to figuring out what payment method you’re going to choose. Cash is king in Samoa, so having enough of the local currency, Samoan Tala, to pay your way is essential. In between, some merchants also accept Visa and MasterCard should you want to pay with a credit or debit card. Other forms of payment in Samoa are scarce. Regardless, we compare all of the ways to pay in Samoa in this guide.

How much will you spend in Samoa? Find out in our complete guide to Spending Money to Take to Samoa.

Currency in Samoa

First things first, you need to know the currency in Samoa. Samoa uses Samoan Tala and Sene. Prices in Samoa are usually written as a dollar symbol ($), while internationally, the currency is displayed as “ST”, “ST$” or “WST”.

Coins come in values of 10¢, 20¢, 50¢, $1 and $2.

Notes come in values of $5, $10, $20, $50, $100 and $100.

See our complete article on What is the Currency of Samoa? for more information.

What is the Best Way to Pay in Samoa? 💰 [2023]© SamoaPocketGuide.com

Cash (Samoan Tala and Sene)

Cash is by far the most accepted payment method in Samoa. There are many instances where cash is the only accepted payment method, such as entry fees for natural attractions and beaches, to pay for staying at some beach fales, as well as buses, taxis, markets, some small tour operators and more.

However, like anywhere in the world, most travellers don’t like to travel with all the cash they will need for one holiday for obvious security reasons. We recommend withdrawing cash from ATMs every few days or exchanging foreign currency at banks or currency exchange bureaus, where possible. On the other hand, you don’t want to make separate withdrawals too often in order to save on withdrawal fees.

Get an idea of how much money to have available each day by using our guide, How Much Spending Money Do You Need for Samoa?

How to Get Samoan Tala in Samoa

There are more than 25 ATMs in Samoa, mostly found in Apia, Faleolo Airport and Mulifanua Wharf on Upolu and in various villages around Savai’i. Check out the ATM locations across both islands in our Information, Shops & Services in Samoa.

You can withdraw Samoan Tala from ATMs using overseas debit and credit cards (BSP ATMs accept Visa, MasterCard, Cirrus, JCB, Union, Plus Card and BSP PacifiCard) but note there will be foreign exchange fees applied by your bank, as well as a withdrawal fee of around ST$5-$16 from the ATM.

Another way to get Samoan Tala in Samoa is to exchange currency at the local banks or currency exchange bureaus. Banks can be found at Faleolo Aiport, Vaitele and Apia on Upolu and in Salelologa on Savai’i. Compare all of your foreign exchange options using The Best Places to Exchange Currency in Samoa.

What is the Best Way to Pay in Samoa? 💰 [2023]© SamoaPocketGuide.com

Credit and Debit Cards

For ease and security, paying by credit or debit card (or “EFTPOS” as some people call it on this side of the world) is a popular payment option at resorts, as well as restaurants, shops and car rentals, particularly in Apia. However, there are many instances where vendors do not accept credit or debit cards, so it’s best to always have enough cash available.

Get an idea of how much money to have available each day by using our guide, How Much Spending Money Do You Need for Samoa?

Which Credit and Debit Cards are Accepted in Samoa?

Visa and MasterCard cards are the most accepted brand of credit and debit cards in Samoa, as long as they have a four-digit PIN code. Some vendors also accept Cirrus, JCB, Union, Plus Card and American Express.

Credit and Debit Card Charges

Your credit or debit card’s issuing bank will likely have a fee for a “foreign currency service”, which is typically 1-3% of the transaction in your home currency. This fee is often also applied when using an ATM in Samoa. Note that almost all Samoan businesses apply a card fee of 3-5% for each transaction, making this an expensive form of payment especially if used frequently.

Learn more about using a bank card to pay your way through Samoa in our complete guide, Can You Use Your Credit or Debit Card in Samoa?

What is the Best Way to Pay in Samoa? 💰 [2023]© SamoaPocketGuide.com

Traveller’s Cheques

For the very limited number of travellers still using traveller’s cheques, they can only be redeemed at Samoa’s “major” banks, meaning your best bet is to redeem them at branches in the centre of Apia.

Due to processing fees, unfavourable exchange rates, and the limited options to redeem them, we don’t recommend using traveller’s cheques in Samoa.

What is the Best Way to Pay in Samoa? 💰 [2023]© SamoaPocketGuide.com

Travel Money Cards

In short, you will struggle to find a travel money card, otherwise known as a travel prepaid card, that has Samoan Tala as a currency choice.

If you have purchased a travel money card to use for other countries around the world, know that it’s highly unlikely that you’ll be able to use it in Samoa. The next best alternative is a credit card if you’re looking for the same security a travel prepaid card offers.

What is the Best Way to Pay in Samoa? 💰 [2023]© SamoaPocketGuide.com

Frequently Asked Questions About How to Pay in Samoa

Let’s go over some of the most asked questions about ways to pay in Samoa. If your question hasn’t been answered already, then you might get it answered here!

Should I Take Cash to Samoa?

Yes, it is a good idea to take some cash to Samoa in order to exchange it for local Samoan Tala at banks and currency exchange bureaus. This will save on ATM withdrawal fees, as well as card fees charged by local vendors. Cash is the preferred method of payment in Samoa, so it’s always handy to have some available.

Do People Use the Tala as Currency in Samoa?

Yes, tala is the currency of Samoa. However, some shops in Apia accept NZD, AUD and USD in cash when rates are favourable.

Do Shops in Samoa Accept Foreign Currencies?

Yes, some shops in Samoa, especially in Apia, accept foreign currencies like NZD, AUD and USD in cash when rates are favourable. If you want to use foreign currency, ask the store attendant if they accept it. Regardless, it’s a good idea to have some Samoan Tala as a backup.

More About How to Pay in Samoa

That’s it for our complete guide on the best ways to pay in Samoa. For more money tips, check out our other awesome guides:

Finally, plan your entire trip with frugality in mind with The Backpacking & Budget Travel Guide to Samoa.

Author

Laura S.

This article was reviewed and published by Laura, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Samoa Pocket Guide. Since arriving solo in the South Pacific over 10 years ago with nothing but a backpack and a background in journalism, her mission has been to show the world how easy (and awesome) it is to explore a paradise such as Samoa. She knows the islands inside out and loves sharing tips on how best to experience Upolu and Savai’i’s must-dos and hidden gems. Laura is also the editor of several other South Pacific travel guides.

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