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  • Writer's pictureCindy Van Dyck

FAQ: Everything you need to know about using money in the Dominican Republic

Updated: Nov 24, 2023


Money, tips and credit cards in the Dominican Republic: everything you need to know about it
Picture Credits: Canva.com

Your hotel is already booked along with your flight, but what about the expenses you will make during your trip? Excursions, tips, buying souvenirs, these are expenses that you can't always calculate exactly in advance, and then it's handy to have the right information on how to withdraw and use money in the Dominican Republic. Therefore, we will tell you all about it in this article. That way you can handle your money safely and correctly.


Determine a clear budget in what you want to spend per category.

Before you leave, it's helpful to set up a budget so that you can get an idea in advance of what you will spend in addition to your hotel and flight. This will prevent you from going over your vacation budget, because with exchange rates changing all the time, things can sometimes end up more expensive than you expected. And you obviously want to return home feeling worry-free. So decide how much you want to spend on excursions, souvenirs, meals outside the hotel and any upgrades or transportation.


How much cash do you need?

Are you staying at an all-inclusive hotel? Then most of your vacation is already included and paid for in advance. Now, of course, you can book additional excursions at the hotel itself from travel agencies that cooperate with the hotel. However, they often do not accept credit cards, so it is handy to have a minimum of cash with you. A realistic budget (for two people) is 250€.


Of course you also have, if desired, tips from the staff. Even though this is not the custom in every culture or family, waiters and most hotel or travel staff, live on tips. So it is always highly appreciated when you leave something behind when providing good service. A realistic budget here is for 50€ to 100€, depending on how long you stay and how you want to split it. An example: did a waitress give you a week of good service at the restaurant? Then you can give her a minimum tip of 50€ for your stay. Do you have the ability to give more? Then you can definitely do so. Everyone's budget is personal, as well as the choice about whether or not to tip. Likewise in local restaurants. You give what you feel the service was worth of!


This gives a total budget of 350€ (per two people) extra that you can spend in cash. A bottle of water during an excursion or a snack can also be included. Personal shopping expenses are not included in this calculation.


Where can you safely withdraw cash?

100% security you obviously don't have anywhere, but definitely and especially don't go changing your money with people who talk to you on the street. Whether you are in your hotel, in a city or even Zona Colonial, there are official ATMs everywhere (mainly in large supermarkets) that allow you to withdraw money.


The most well-known banks are Scotiabank , BHD, Banco Popular and Banreservas. Each of them has an ATM or branch in just about every major supermarket such as Bravo, La Sirena and Jumbo. Go there every time you want to withdraw money.


Withdrawing with a foreign card will by default cost you about 5€ in transaction fees.


Now the big question is also always: is it okay to withdraw money at the airport. And here actually the answer depends on you: yes the percentage in exchange rate is slightly higher at the airport. But if you have to pay a cab each time from your hotel to the supermarket (there and back) then you actually end up being just as expensive. So see what is easiest for you.


What about the use of credit cards?

In the Dominican Republic, the use of bank cards and credit cards is becoming increasingly easy. Major stores, shopping centers, gas stations and tourist restaurants in the major known areas accept card use.


Although sometimes there are difficulties because their own bank, for example, does not accept your card. So be prepared to have several credit cards on hand, or to provide a certain amount of cash each time. After all, you don't want to stand all night washing dishes to pay your bill.


Also beware of fraud with your credit card as everywhere else in the world. Never hand it over in the billing folder, never hand your card personally to a person at the gas station or anywhere else. Copying credit cards is not unheard of and it is better to prevent than to have to intervene afterwards.


One of the cards we personally recommend is REVOLUT*. It works so far in every store, restaurant or place we have visited and can be managed through an app: on here you can see your spending in detail per day, you can hide your balance, charge directly from your own credit cards and are protected against fraud. You can manually block the strip, magnet, chip ed and reactivate it when needed. This is also super convenient for online payments as it creates a virtual card that is valid only once. When used, this number is destroyed and you digitally receive a new number for the next transaction. This way you are smart about fraud!


You can apply for your REVOLUT* card via this link. There are even numerous benefits at airports and you can insure yourself in case of theft or delayed flights. We are definitely very happy with our card!


Extra tips and tricks

As we have been traveling to the Dominican Republic a numerous of times, we would like to share three other very important tips with you:


1. Never keep your cards, neither your cash, in the same case as your phone. If your phone unfortunately gets lost or stolen, at least you still have all your money! Same for your ID card or drivers license. Never keep them together!


2. When calculating tips, notice that in restaurant, they will already charge you a legal fee of 10% of service tip. However this tip will often go to the whole team of that day/night. So if you want to reward the waiter itself, give a little extra after paying your bill. There is by the way no option to refuse the legal fee, it's always added at the end together with the VAT (called ITBIS in the Dominican Republic).


3. Never withdraw money in small quantities such as 20€. The transaction fee of 5€ will stay the same as if you withdraw 250€ for example. So make sure you take what you need in one withdrawal to avoid paying a lot of fees. Also important: most machines only allow you to withdraw 10.000 or 20.000 pesos per session. So you might need to do it twice. However this limit might change in hotels.


 

Wherever you are in the world, not just so the Dominican Republic, it is recommended that you always handle your money with care and caution. Never take large sums on a trip, divide your money with your partner in case the other loses it, and never show how much money you have in your pocket or how many cards you own. You want to avoid theft and mainly avoid becoming a victim of scams. That money every day, everywhere. So take this advice with you when you travel, too. And once you're ready we just wish you an amazing stay in the Dominican Republic. We are sure you will love it!



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