Legal tender is the Bermuda dollar (BD$), which is divided into 100 cents. It's pegged through gold to the U.S. dollar on an equal basis -- BD$1 equals US$1.
U.S. currency is generally accepted in shops, restaurants, and hotels. Currency from the United Kingdom and other foreign countries is usually not accepted, but can be easily exchanged for Bermuda dollars at banks and hotels. You should exchange enough petty cash to cover airport incidentals, tipping, and transportation to your hotel before you leave home, or withdraw money upon arrival at an airport ATM. For up-to-the-minute currency conversions, visit www.xe.com/ucc.
ATMs -- The easiest and best way to get cash away from home is from an ATM. These machines are plentiful in Bermuda. The Cirrus (tel. 800/424-7787; www.mastercard.com) and PLUS (www.visa.com) networks span the globe; look at the back of your bank card to see which network you're on, and then call or check online for ATM locations at your destination. Be sure you know your personal identification number (PIN) and daily withdrawal limit before you depart. Note: Remember that many banks impose a fee every time you use a card at another bank's ATM, and that fee can be higher for international transactions (up to $5 or more) than for domestic ones (where they're rarely more than $2). In addition, the bank from which you withdraw cash may charge its own fee. For international withdrawal fees, ask your bank.
Credit Cards -- Credit cards are another safe way to carry money, but their use has become more difficult, especially in Bermuda . They also provide a convenient record of all your expenses, and they generally offer relatively good exchange rates. But note that many banks now assess a 1% to 3% "transaction fee" on all charges you incur abroad (whether you're using the local currency or your native currency).
There is almost no difference in the acceptance of a debit or a standard credit card.
Note: The Discover Card (popular in the U.S.) is not accepted in Bermuda. MasterCard and Visa, however, are generally accepted.
"Chip and PIN" represents a change in the way that credit and debit cards are used. The program is designed to cut down on the fraudulent use of credit cards. More and more banks are issuing customers Chip and PIN versions of their debit or credit cards. In the future, it will be common for vendors to ask for a four-digit personal identification number or PIN when you use your credit card.
Warning: A number of places in Bermuda are moving to this new system. In the changeover in technology, some retailers have falsely concluded that they can no longer take swipe cards, or can't take signature cards that don't have PINs. In the interim between traditional swipe credit cards and those with an embedded computer chip, here's what you can do to protect yourself: Get a 4-digit PIN from your credit card's issuing bank before leaving home.
Traveler's Checks -- You can buy traveler's checks, which are widely accepted in Bermuda, at most banks. The most popular traveler's checks are offered by American Express (tel. 800/528-4800 or 800/221-7282 for cardholders); Visa (tel. 888/713-3424); and MasterCard (tel. 800/223-9920).
If you carry traveler's checks, keep a record of their serial numbers separate from your checks in the event that they are stolen or lost. You'll get a refund faster if you know the numbers.
Another option is the new prepaid traveler's check cards, reloadable cards that work much like debit cards but aren't linked to your checking account. The American Express Travelers Cheque Card, for example, requires a minimum deposit, sets a maximum balance, and has a one-time issuance fee of $15. You can withdraw money from an ATM (for a fee of $2.50 per transaction, not including bank fees), and the funds can be purchased in dollars, euros, or pounds. If you lose the card, your available funds will be refunded within 24 hours.
For help with currency conversions, tip calculations, and more, download Frommer's convenient Travel Tools app for your mobile device. Go to www.frommers.com/go/mobile and click on the Travel Tools icon.
What Things Cost in Bermuda (BD$/US$)
Average 15-minute taxi ride $20.00
Bus from the City of Hamilton to Ireland Island $4.50
Double room at Elbow Beach (very expensive) $445.00-$715.00
Double room at Dawkins Manor (moderate) $125.00-$290.00
Double room at Robin's Nest (inexpensive) $150.00
Lunch for one at Bonefish Bar & Grill (moderate) $20.00
Lunch for one at the Hickory Stick (inexpensive) $12.00
Dinner for one at Ascots (expensive) $55.00
Dinner for one at La Rustico (moderate) $30.00
Dinner for one at Chopsticks (inexpensive) $24.00
Bottle of beer in a bar $4.50
Coca-Cola in a cafe $3.00-$4.00
Cup of coffee in a cafe $2.75
Glass of planter's punch in a restaurant $7.50
Admission to Bermuda Maritime Museum $10.00
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.