The U.S. dollar is the legal currency of the Turks and Caicos. Traveler's checks are accepted at most places, as are Visa, MasterCard, and American Express.
The easiest and best way to get cash away from home is from an ATM.
Be sure you know your personal identification number (PIN) and your daily withdrawal limit before you leave home. Also keep in mind that many banks impose a fee every time a card is used at a different bank's ATM, and that fee is often higher for international transactions than for domestic ones. And if you use a debit card, the fees may be higher still -- again, check with your bank before you leave home. On top of this, the bank from which you withdraw cash may charge its own fee. For international withdrawal fees, contact your bank for the details before you leave home.
Small Bills & Loose Change -- Provo has an increasing number of ATMs (aka ABMs), but don't expect to find a cash machine on every street corner -- and the other islands may have only one or two ATMs total (or none, in the case of North and Middle Caicos). So if you plan to travel to some of the less developed islands, it's a good idea to bring plenty of petty cash (small bills and loose change) for snacks, incidentals, and gratuities. Note that the Provo airport finally has an ATM; the Scotiabank cash machine is located in the airport check-in hall.
You can get traveler's checks at almost any bank. They are offered in denominations of $20, $50, $100, $500, and sometimes $1,000. Generally, you'll pay a service charge ranging from 1% to 4%.
The most popular traveler's checks are offered by American Express (tel. 800/807-6233 or 800/221-7282 for cardholders -- this number accepts collect calls, offers service in several foreign languages, and exempts Amex gold and platinum cardholders from the 1% fee); Visa (tel. 800/732-1322) -- AAA members can obtain Visa checks for a $9.95 fee (for checks up to $1,500) at most AAA offices or by calling tel. 866/339-3378; and MasterCard (tel. 800/223-9920).
If you carry traveler's checks, be sure to 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.
Credit cards are a safe way to carry money, they provide a convenient record of all your expenses, and they generally offer relatively good exchange rates. You can also withdraw cash advances from your credit cards at banks or ATMs, provided you know your PIN. Keep in mind that you'll pay interest from the moment of your withdrawal, even if you pay your monthly bills on time. Also 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).
Almost every credit card company has an emergency toll-free number that you can call if your wallet or purse is stolen. Credit card companies may be able to wire cash advances immediately, and in many places they can deliver an emergency credit card in a day or two. Citicorp Visa's U.S. emergency number is tel. 800/336-8472. American Express cardholders and traveler's check holders should call tel. 800/221-7282 for all money emergencies. MasterCard holders should call tel. 800/307-7309.
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.