In French Polynesia, we use Pacific francs (XPF). Created in 1945, right after the Bretton Woods Conference, the currency is divided into bills of 10 000, 5 000, 1 000 and 500 and pieces of 100, 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1xpf.
If nowadays, everyone is familiar with the currency, there used to be quite a few different ones within the territory.
In the 1890s, we mainly used French francs and then, when the Bank of Indochina undertook to open a bank branch in Papeete in 1905, we started using piasters.
Due to its insularity, Polynesia progressively opened up to international trade, which is why so many currencies were put into circulation, like the Chilean peso.
Converting pacific francs into euros:
Surprisingly, the exchange rate is fixed in this case, it is established as follows:
1 € = 119,33 CFP et 1 000 CFP = 8,38 €.
Converting pacific francs into US dollars:
On January 7th, 2020, the exchange rate was the following:
1 USD = 107,45 CFP and 1 000 CFP = 9,31 USD
Unfortunately, you are really unlikely to find Pacific francs in your country. The best option is therefore to withdraw cash from local ATMs. As you arrive, you will have the opportunity to do so at the currency exchange office located in the Tahiti-Faa’a airport, open during departure and arrival times of international flights.
If you plan to take the ferry boat and head to Moorea, please note that an office is also available at the ocean liner quay, open 7/7, from 08:45AM to 04:45PM.
Most resorts and cruise ships also propose this kind of service.
Eventually, the three local banks also turn out to own their respective exchange office. Are to be found in Tahiti:
Make sure to seek for further information regarding commissions as it may change from one bank to another and depends on whether you exchange cash or traveler’s checks.
The Society islands, namely Tahiti, Moorea, Raiatea, Huahine and Bora Bora are equipped with ATMs. If however you do not find any, you can still withdraw some cash via cash advance service at the counter of a post office (OPT) on presentation of an ID.
Furthermore, most credit cards (Visa, masterCard) are accepted in almost every hotel, restaurant and shop, at least in the most popular islands. However, you may not be able to use it within markets and convenience stores of the most isolated islands.
Some atolls, like the Tuamotu, the Gambier, the Austral archipelagos and the Marquesas islands do not provide any option to withdraw cash.
The American Express et Diners Club cards are accepted in a few establishments, which require a minimum amount of purchase. Nevertheless they include an insurance which may cover your stay.