The Central Bank has the exclusive right to issue and redeem currency notes and coins in Trinidad and Tobago. In carrying out this function the Bank, with the approval of the Ministry of Finance, makes decisions on the denomination, the substrate and the characteristics of notes and coins.
There are five denominations each of currency notes and coins in circulation. The five denominations of coins are the 1 cent, 5 cents, 10 cents, 25 cents and 50 cents, and the six denominations of banknotes are $1, $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100. In addition, the Bank has issued limited amounts of one dollar coins to mark special events such as the United Nations “Food For All” campaign in 1979. The Bank has also issued commemorative coins in celebration of special events and occasions of national significance. These have been issued either as individual units or as part of a suite of coins.
The Bank issues notes and coins to the commercial banks which supply the public’s requirements. The commercial banks redeem banknotes surplus to their needs back to the Central Bank. In so doing, the banknotes are withdrawn from circulation. The Bank processes redeemed notes and destroys unfit notes using a sophisticated and environmentally friendly banknote destruction process.
A banknote or coin that has become mutilated or impaired can be redeemed under certain conditions. According to the Central Bank Act Chapter 79:02, “the Bank may in its absolute discretion as an act of grace refund the value of a mutilated or impaired note or a coin which has been tampered with.” The Bank would accept from the public mutilated or impaired TT notes and exchange such notes for new or fit notes subject to the following conditions:
- Mutilated or impaired notes, whether in one piece or in several pieces, may be redeemed at the full face value of the notes if the fragments or pieces represent an area in excess of fifty per cent of the total area of a currency note.
- No value should be ascribed to a mutilated or impaired note and no mutilated or impaired note should be redeemed for any value if the area of the note or pieces presented represent fifty per cent or less of the total area of the note.
- No value should be ascribed to any note which appears to be deliberately mutilated or impaired.
Further information on the country’s currency can be found in:
Brown, Deryck R. 1989. History of Money and Banking in Trinidad and Tobago from 1789 to 1989. Port-of-Spain: Paria Publs. for the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago.
History of Money in Trinidad and Tobago
Want to get a closer look at the history of money? Visit the Central Bank Museum or take a quick view of the Bank's publication - Post-Independence History of Trinidad and Tobago Banknotes 1962 - 2012.
Trinidad and Tobago’s currency system has historically been characterized by a multitude of currencies on account of the occupation of the islands by major colonial powers of predominately French, Spanish and British origin. Upon occupation of Trinidad in 1797, the British encountered a rudimentary system devoid of banks and bank notes. This was also true of Tobago’s monetary arrangements at this time. The existing money, limited in supply, consisted of Spanish, Mexican, Portuguese and French currencies. The diversity of the coins’ origin was matched by their varying characteristics in terms of weight, size, metal composition and authenticity. Read more