Officially known as the Republic of China, Taiwan is an island state, largely dominated by vast mountain ranges and pristine wilderness. It's one of the most densely populated states on the planet and has an exceptionally interesting past. Its capital city is Taipei, with New Taipei City being its largest city. A diverse place with a lot to offer, Taiwan has grown over the years into a popular touristic hotspot for Asia explorers and adventurers.
If you’re heading to Taiwan on vacation, there are several factors you need to think about. One of the most important aspects of planning any vacation is working out your budget and getting some of the local currency. If you’re wondering about the official currency of Taiwan, whether you can pay by card in Taiwan, and other top tips for making payments in Taiwan, this is the guide for you.
Official Currency in Taiwan
The currency used in Taiwan is the New Taiwan dollar. The symbol for this currency is NT$ and its ISO code is TWD. A single New Taiwan dollar is dived up into ten times or 100 cents, but these smaller units of currency aren't actually used in Taiwan, so the only unit travelers need to know is the dollar itself.
The Central Bank of the Republic of China issues the New Taiwan dollar, and this form of currency was first established back in 1949, replacing the former 'Old' Taiwan dollar. The value of a New Taiwan dollar can change a lot over time, so it’s always important to consult currency charts to get up-to-date information.
Coins and Notes in Taiwan
There are currently six coins being used in the New Taiwan dollar currency system:
- NT$ 1/2
- NT$ 1
- NT$ 5
- NT$ 10
- NT$ 20
- NT$ 50
The coins follow the standard color and size systems seen in many other currencies. The smallest value coins (NT$ 1/2 and NT$ 1) are copper-colored. The next two values (NT$ 5 and NT$ 10) are made of cupronickel. Finally, the last two values (NT$ 20 and NT$ 50) are made of aluminum bronze. The coins are all circular.
Taiwan’s currency also involves the use of the following notes:
- NT$ 100
- NT$ 200
- NT$ 500
- NT$ 1000
- NT$ 2000
The notes used in the New Taiwan dollar are made with bright colors to help set them apart from each other. The color code, from lowest value to highest value, goes red, green, brown, blue, and purple. Each of the notes also gets slightly longer as the value increases. The notes feature their monetary value in the corner and are decorated with images associated with Taiwan, including flowers and animals.
Using Credit Cards in Taiwan
A lot of vendors in Taiwan will only take cash, but plenty of shops and restaurants also accept cards. Mobile payments like Apple Pay and Android Pay are becoming more commonplace in Taiwan too, so it's not too hard to get around and pay for goods and services without needing to rely on cash all the time. Using credit cards whenever you can in Taiwan is wise as you won't have to pay large fees.
Using Other Currencies in Taiwan
The only currency accepted throughout Taiwan is the New Taiwan dollar. It’s impossible to use other currencies in this country, except at certain department stores where US dollars may be accepted.
Tips for Currency in Taiwan
Always stay safe with your cards and cash in Taiwan and follow these tips to have a great time:
- Speak to your bank before you travel and find out how much they’re going to charge you for using your card abroad. You can sometimes get different cards with lower fees and charges for international transactions.
- Some banks will charge you every single time you take cash from an ATM in Taiwan, so try to minimize the number of times you rely on these machines.
- Tipping isn't obligatory or expected in Taiwan, but hotel workers, tour guides, and restaurant staff will always be happy to receive a tip for good service or a job well done.
- If you're going to get some NT$, it's best to get some of your own cash converted at home before you travel as the exchange rates at places around Taiwan can often be quite poor.
- If you do choose to wait until you arrive in Taiwan to get some New Taiwan dollars, getting them from an ATM will usually reward you with the strongest rate.