Dollar currencies around the world

When you think of a Dollar, you probably think about the USA.

Upon independence, the US Congress established the US Mint and declared the Dollar as the national currency in 1792.

The Dollar is not an English term though, it’s actually the anglicised version of the German word ‘Thaler’ which was a coin first issued in Bohemia in the 1500s.

The first Dollars to be used in the Americas were worth seven silver coins of the Spanish Empire.

There are currently well over twenty different currencies named Dollar. Take a read below to find out what they are.

Australian Dollar (AUD)

The Australian Dollar was first introduced in 1966, replacing the pre-decimal Australian Pound.

It was historically pegged to Sterling, then the USD but is now free-floating. It is one of the most traded currencies in the world. 

You can read more on our dedicated AUD currency profile.

Bahamas Dollar (BSD)

For many years the Bahamas used Sterling as their currency. This made sense given their size and their position being a colony of Britain.

In the 60s as independence drew closer, the islands introduced the Bahamas Dollar into circulation. 

The Bahamas Dollar was initially pegged to Sterling but after a few years was pegged to the USD at a rate of parity. This was in large part due to the economic connection between the nation and the United States. The islands sit just a couple of hundred miles off the coast of Florida and are heavily reliant on US tourism (and US offshore banking.)

Barbados Dollar (BBD)

The Barbadian Dollar has been in use, in various guises for over a hundred years. It became a fully independent currency in the 70s following the nation’s exit from the eastern Caribbean’s monetary union.

Since its inception, it has been pegged to USD. Currently, the official rate sits at just under a 2 BBD to 1 USD ratio.

The currency is noted for its bright and colourful designs. Starting in December 2022, the Central Bank of Barbados began a full roll-out of polymer banknotes. 

Belize Dollar (BZD)

Belize is a Central American country with a population of just 441,471 people. It was once known as British Honduras.

The Belize Dollar was first introduced in the late 1800s as the British Honduran Dollar. 

For most of its history, it has been pegged to the US Dollar. It has been managed by the Central Bank of Belize since the country gained its independence from the UK in 1981.

The Belize Dollar is noted for featuring prominent images of HM Queen Elizabeth II on all of its banknotes.

Bermudian Dollar (BMD)

Whilst not an independent country, the island of Bermuda technically has their own currency managed by the Bermuda Monetary Authority.

Until 1970, the Pound Sterling was in use on the island. This all changed with the Bermudian Dollar’s introduction. The currency was intended to be fully tied to the USD and thus align Bermuda more closely with the United States.

Today both the Bermudian Dollar and the US Dollar are used interchangeably on the island as the currency is set at an exchange rate of 1:1. 

Brunei Dollar (BND)

The Brunei Dollar was introduced in 1967 to replace the Malaya & British Borneo Dollar (after that currency was phased out and replaced by the Malaysian Ringgit and the Singapore Dollar.)

Upon its introduction, it was exchangeable at par with both aforementioned currencies. The equal exchangeability with the Ringgit ceased in 1973.

To this day though the Brunei Dollar and the Singapore Dollar are mutually exchangeable, either currency can be used in both countries. 

Unlike most other currencies on this list, the Brunei Dollar is not divided into 100 cents but rather 100 sen!

Canadian Dollar (CAD)

The Canadian Dollar (CAD) was first introduced in 1867, replacing the Canadian pound. 

It is subdivided into 100 cents and is also often referred to as the “loonie” due to the loon bird featured on the one-dollar coin. 

You can read more on our dedicated CAD currency profile.

Cayman Islands Dollar (KYD)

Like Bermuda (discussed above,) when most people think of the Cayman Islands, they think of it as an off-shore territory. Most people don’t realise that despite not technically being an independent country, they still have their own fully independent currency.

For a long time, the Jamaica Dollar was used as the islands were governed by the British colonial administration based in Jamaica’s capital Kingston. The Cayman Islands Dollar was introduced in 1970.

The KYD is pegged to the USD at a rate set by the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority. It is one of the world’s highest-valued currencies.

East Caribbean (Monetary Union) Dollar (XCD)

 The EC$ stems from the British West Indies dollar which was replaced in the 60’s. The EC$ was initially pegged to Sterling but in the 1970’s this was switched, with the currency now pegged to the US Dollar.
The EC$ is managed by the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank in Basseterre, St. Kitts. Its constituent countries are: 🇦🇮 Anguilla, 🇦🇬 Antigua and Barbuda, 🇩🇲 Dominica, 🇬🇩 Grenada, 🇲🇸 Montserrat, 🇰🇳 Saint Kitts and Nevis, 🇱🇨 Saint Lucia and 🇻🇨 Saint Vincent & the Grenadines. Together they have a combined population of around 700,000 people.

Fijian Dollar (FJD)

The monetary history of Fiji is quite complex. It has had its own currency since 1873. Between that year and 1969, it used the Fiji Pound. This currency though was never a variation of the Sterling. It had different pegs and valuations during the over 100 years of existence.

In 1969, the Fiji Dollar was introduced at a rate of 2 to 1. The Dollar name was chosen as at the time, the value was much closer to USD than it was to GBP.

The Fijian Dollar is noted for its bold banknote design with bright colours and striking imagery.

Guyanan Dollar (GYD)

The Guyanese dollar is actually one of the world’s older currencies. It was introduced by the British Colonial Administration in the 1830s.

The history and fortunes of the currency were fundamentally linked to that of the former British West Indies Dollar and the current East Caribbean Dollar (detailed above.)

The Guyanese Dollar is noted for some of its high-denomination banknotes which include the $1000, $2000 and $5000. The smallest coin in circulation is $1.

Hong Kong Dollar (HKD)

The Hong Kong dollar has a long and interesting history dating back to the 19th century when the colony of Hong Kong was first established. 

We have a whole article dedicated to the HKD and the power of Hong Kong here. You can also read more on our dedicated HKD currency profile.

Jamaican Dollar (JMD)

Jamaica has used the Dollar since it replaced the Jamaican Pound (a sterling-linked currency) in 1969. 

During Colonial times, currency on the island was always in a different category to the rest of Britain’s Caribbean colonies. It never used the British West Indies Pound for example. 

Whilst technically being divided into 100 cents, these are no longer in use. The Bank of Jamaica took them out of circulation in 2018.

Liberian Dollar (LRD)

Given its close historic ties to the United States (the capital Monrovia is named after US President James Monroe), it’s not surprising that Liberia’s currency is the Dollar.

Between 1847 until 1907 the country used the first Liberian Dollar which was pegged at par to USD. For a while, it used the British West African Pound and also the US Dollar. 

The current Liberian Dollar has now been in use since 1943. The currency is noted for its limited use of coins. Only the $1 and $2 are minted.

Namibian Dollar (NAD)

Namibia is one of the world’s newer countries, having only gained independence in 1990. Until this time it was governed by Apartheid South Africa as a quasi-colony and therefore used the South African Rand.

Many names were considered by the newly created Bank of Namibia, but they settled on Dollar and formally introduced the currency in 1993. 

The currency is fundamentally linked to the South African Rand as it is part of the Common Monetary Area in Southern Africa. The Rand is legal tender in Namibia and the currencies are exchangeable at par.

New Zealand Dollar (NZD)

The NZD is the official currency of New Zealand and is also used in the Cook Islands, Niue, Tokelau and the Pitcairn Islands. The currency is subdivided into 100 cents.

You can read more on our dedicated NZD currency profile.

Singapore Dollar (SGD)

The Singapore dollar (also known as Singdollar) is the official currency of Singapore. It is divided into 100 cents and is normally abbreviated with the dollar sign $, or S$ to distinguish it from other dollar-denominated currencies like the AUD, HKD or CAD

We have a whole article dedicated to the economy of Singapore and its currency power here. You can also read more on our dedicated SGD currency profile.

Solomon Islands Dollar (SBD)

Until the 1970s, the Solomon Islands were governed by Australia. The Australian Pound and then the Australian Dollar (AUD) were therefore circulated in the country.

Following their independence, the new government introduced the Solomon Islands Dollar (SBD) (at par with AUD) to the nation. There was an initial peg set at 1 AUD: 1.05 SBD, however given the vast gaps between the economies of the two nations, this was not sustainable. Over the years the value of the Solomon Islands dollar has plummeted against AUD. 

Banknotes of the Solomon Islands Dollar are particularly noted for their bold designs and bright colours.

Suriname Dollar (SRD)

Suriname is a relatively small country of just under 600,000 people on South America’s northeastern Atlantic coast. It’s overshadowed by its overwhelming neighbour to the south: Brazil.

Suriname is a former colony of the Netherlands, gaining independence in 1975. For a long time, Suriname used a variation on the Dutch Guilder, ironically using a guilder for a few years after Holland had replaced it with the Euro. However, following a long period of inflation, it was replaced in 2004 with the new Surinamese Dollar.

It’s often referred to locally as the SRD because the use of the USD is so commonplace in this part of South America. The currency is not freely traded and has rigidly fixed rates, set by the Central Bank in Suriname’s capital Paramaribo.

The currency is divided into 100 cents.

New Taiwan Dollar (TWD)

Officially named the New Taiwan Dollar, NT$ has been the currency of Taiwan since 1949. It replaced the ‘old Taiwan Dollar’ at a rate of 40,000 to 1.

The currency is subdivided into 10 jiao and 100 fen. These are rarely referred to though given the rate of inflation. The $1 coin is the smallest denomination that is generally circulated.

In a recent survey, it was found to be the world’s 17th most traded currency.

Trinidad & Tobago Dollar (TTD)

The Trinidad and Tobago Dollar (TTD) has been the currency of Trinidad and Tobago since in 1964, two years after their independence from the UK. 

Previously the country used the British West Indies Dollar but along with Jamaica, chose to not join the newly emerging East Caribbean currency union.

The Trinidad and Tobago Dollar is in the process of moving to using polymer banknotes like in the UK. It is also one of the increasing numbers of currencies to have removed the 1-cent coin from circulation.

US Dollar (USD)

The United States is one of the few countries that has had the same consistent currency throughout its history.

The Dollar is not an English term, it’s actually Spanish, with the first dollars in the Americas being worth seven silver coins of the Spanish Empire.

Upon independence, the US Congress established the US Mint and declared the Dollar as the national currency in 1792. They began issuing dollar coins straight away.

The first notes were printed during the US Civil War in the 1860s. (The Southern States also issued a ‘Confederate Dollar’ during the short-lived southern confederacy).

In 1900 the US Dollar joined the gold standard, remaining linked until the 1970s. It was during the Second World War that the Dollar became a world currency and the most used internationally.

The US Dollar coin and banknote design are one of the least changed out of all currencies. In present-day America, there is a large campaign to get a woman featured on a banknote for the first time. The current aim is to have the legendary figure Harriet Tubman featured on the $20 note.

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