What is the Currency of Samoa? 💵
What is the Currency of Samoa? 💵

What is the Currency of Samoa? 💵

© SamoaPocketGuide.com

About Samoan Tala

Yes, Samoa has its own currency known as Samoan Tala and is often seen as “ST”, “ST$” or “WST” (meaning Western Samoan Tala, which was the old name of Samoa). Tala is typically written as a dollar sign “$” while Sene is written with a cents sign “¢”.

In this guide to the currency of Samoa, we will go over money tips, currency exchange, the tax system affecting visitors, the banking system and even the money culture so you know what to expect when it comes to your money in Samoa.

5 Money Tips for Samoa

  1. Cash is king – prepare to have cash for most of your money exchanges in Samoa
  2. Although there are more than 25 ATMs in Samoa, you’ll rarely find them outside of Apia, Faleolo Airport, Mulifanua Wharf and Salelologa so make your withdrawals before leaving these locations
  3. Banks are typically the best place to exchange foreign currency for tourists, however, you’ll only find them in Apia, Salelologa and Faleolo Airport
  4. Let your bank at home know you are travelling overseas to avoid a security lock on your card
  5. Avoid travel money cards (you won’t find one with Samoan Tala) and traveller’s cheques (which are hard to redeem and expensive).

For more tips concerning money and currency, take a look at the 20 Tips to Save Money in Samoa.

What is the Currency of Samoa? 💵© SamoaPocketGuide.com

Samoa Currency Values

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”. For Sene, the symbol for cents (¢) may be used. 100 Sene equals one Tala.

Note that it is common for local vendors to say the word “dollars” when stating a price, but they almost always mean tala.

Samoan Tala Coins

Samoan Tala coins come in values of 10¢, 20¢, 50¢, $1 and $2.

Samoan Tala Bank Notes

Samoan Tala notes come in values of $5, $10, $20, $50, $100 and $100.

What is the Currency of Samoa? 💵© SamoaPocketGuide.com

Samoa Currency Culture

In this section, we will cover a few aspects of the money culture in Samoa, as a couple of things may be different from back home.

Tipping in Samoa

Although it is always appreciated, tipping is not mandatory in Samoa. Tipping is mostly reserved for outstanding service and it is absolutely up to you whether or not to choose to tip and to choose the value.

During cultural performances such as fiafia nights, tipping is expected. During the last song of the show, the dance crew will place a tanoa (large wooden carved bowl) on the floor in front of the performers. The usual tip is between ST$10 and ST$50 per spectator. Spectators now can stand up and place a cash tip inside the bowl to reward the performers. As a side note, once the last song is over, spectators are always welcome to take photos with the dance crew.

Check out our Samoa Tipping & Tax Guide for more information.

Cash or Card?

Cash is king in Samoa. Cash in the local currency of Samoan Tala is the most accepted form of payment and, in many instances, the only form of payment. It’s a good idea to always have enough Samoan Tala in cash available to pay your way. See some recommended values in How Much Spending Money Do You Need for Samoa?

Most stores and restaurants in Apia, as well as resorts around the country, accept foreign credit and debit cards as long as they have a four-digit PIN encoded. The most accepted cards are those issued by Visa or MasterCard, but some vendors also accept Cirrus, JCB, Union, Plus Card and American Express.

All ATM withdrawals in Samoa are in Samoan Tala. Banks and currency exchange bureaus will exchange foreign currency. Some retailers in Apia also accept NZD, AUD and USD in cash when rates are favourable.

Learn more about how to pay using our guide, What is the Best Way to Pay in Samoa?

Swedish Rounding/Cash Rounding

Because the smallest coin that Samoan Tala offers is 10 sene, all prices will be rounded up to the nearest 10 sene when paying with cash. If you are using a credit or debit card, however, Swedish rounding does not apply, as you will pay the exact price.

What is the Currency of Samoa? 💵© SamoaPocketGuide.com

Currency Exchange in Samoa

Currency can be exchanged in banks and local currency exchange outlets located at Faleolo Airport, Apia and Salelologa. Local exchange rates tend to be better than what’s found overseas. Find out more in The Best Place to Exchange Currency in Samoa.

There are no restrictions on how much cash you can bring into Samoa, but you will need to declare, complete a cash reporting form and pay duty on more than ST$20,000 through Customs. Find out more in What to Declare When Arriving in Samoa.

When withdrawing money from an ATM in Samoa, the money will be in Samoan Tala. ATMs are available on both Upolu and Savai’i in locations, as listed in the Information, Shops & Services in Samoa.

What are the Exchange Rates Like for the Samoan Tala?

Samoan Tala has quite an advantageous exchange rate when compared to the New Zealand, Australian, US or Canadian Dollar, so if exchanging from these currencies, your holiday just got a little cheaper. Learn more about exchange rates for Samoan Tala in our guide, Is Samoa Expensive?

What is the Currency of Samoa? 💵© SamoaPocketGuide.com

Banking and ATMs in Samoa

Samoa’s banks are generally open between 9 am and 4 pm, Monday to Friday and sometimes from 9 am to 12 pm on a Saturday. You will find a variety of banks in Samoa, including the Bank of the South Pacific (BSP), Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) and the National Bank of Samoa (NBS). BSP and ANZ deal in foreign exchange; while NBS mainly deals in local banking.

ATMs are available on both Upolu and Savai’i, but note that there are no ATMs on the east side of Upolu. Most international credit or debit cards will work in BSP ATMs (the most common ATM) as long as your card has a four-digit pin code and they are Visa, MasterCard, Cirrus, JCB, Union, Plus Card and BSP PacifiCard. We recommend letting your bank know before visiting Samoa so that they don’t lock your card for being used overseas.

For details on banks and ATMs across all of the islands, start with our Information, Shops & Services in Samoa.

What is the Currency of Samoa? 💵© SamoaPocketGuide.com

Taxes in Samoa

There are a limited number of taxes in Samoa that are likely to affect visitors, including Value Added Goods and Services Tax (VAGST) and the Departure Tax.

Value Added Goods and Services Tax

All goods and services purchased in Samoa are subject to a 15% Value Added Goods and Services Tax known as VAGST. The VAGST of a purchase is typically included in the advertised price unless stated otherwise.

Departure Tax

The Samoa Departure Tax is included in your flight ticket price and is not collected at the airport unless you’re travelling to American Samoa. International passengers, except children under 12 years old, are charged ST$65 for Departure Tax from Samoa.

Learn more about the taxes in the Samoa Tipping & Tax Guide for Travellers.

More About the Samoa Currency

That’s it for our complete guide to the currency of Samoa but that’s by no means the end of our money advice! Check out the following guides for more tips:

Finally, plan your entire budget for your trip using The Backpacking & Budget Travel Guide to Samoa.

Author

Robin C.

This article was reviewed and published by Robin, the co-founder of Samoa Pocket Guide. He has lived, worked and travelled across 16 different countries before settling in the South Pacific, so he knows a thing or two about planning the perfect trip in this corner of the world. Robin works and consults regularly with the Samoa Tourism Authority, a local government body representing the tourism industry. Robin is also the co-founder of several other South Pacific travel guides and is a regular host of webinars with the South Pacific Tourism Organisation.

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