What is the Currency in Tonga?(c) tongapocketguide.com
What is the Currency in Tonga?

What is the Currency in Tonga? 💵

(c) tongapocketguide.com

About the Tongan Pa’anga

The unit of currency in Tonga is the Tongan Pa’anga, often seen written as “TOP” or “TOP$”. Pa’anga is typically written as a dollar sign “$” while Seniti is written with a cents sign “¢”. You’ll also hear people verbally refer to the currency of Tonga as “TOP”.

In this guide to the currency of Tonga, we will go over money tips, currency exchange, the tax system affecting visitors, the banking system and even the money culture so you know what to expect when it comes to your money in Tonga.

5 Money Tips for Tonga

  1. Cash is king – prepare to have cash for most of your money exchanges in Tonga
  2. There are less than 20 ATMs in Tonga, so make your withdrawals before leaving Tonga’s major towns
  3. Banks are typically the best place to exchange foreign currency for tourists, however, you’ll only find them in Nuku’alofa, Neiafu, Angaha and Pangai (Ha’apai)
  4. Let your bank at home know you are travelling overseas to avoid a security lock on your card
  5. Avoid travel money cards (you won’t find one with Tongan Pa’anga) and traveller’s cheques (which are hard to redeem and expensive).

For more tips concerning money and currency, take a look at the 20 Tips to Save Money in Tonga.

What is the Currency in Tonga?© TongaPocketGuide.com

Tonga Currency Values

Tonga uses Tongan Pa’anga and Seniti. Prices in Tonga are usually written as a dollar symbol ($), while internationally, the currency is displayed as “TOP” or “TOP$“. For Seniti, the symbol for cents (¢) may be used. 100 Seniti equals one Pa’anga.

Tongan Pa’anga Coins

Tongan Pa’anga coins come in values of , 10¢, 20¢, 50¢ and $1.

Tongan Pa’anga Bank Notes

Tongan Pa’anga notes come in values of $2, $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100.

What is the Currency in Tonga?(c) tongapocketguide.com

Tonga Currency Culture

There are a few ways that Tonga deals with money that might be different from what you are used to at home.

Tipping in Tonga

Tipping is not expected nor mandatory in Tonga. However, it is welcomed and appreciated as a gratuity for good service. Another token of appreciation is gifts from the visitor’s homeland. Tipping cultural performers by tucking notes into their outfits or on the floor in front of them is a common and accepted practice known as fakapale.

Check out our Tonga Tipping & Tax Guide for more information.

Cash or Card?

In Tonga, it’s a good idea to rely on cash most of the time, while having a credit/debit card as a backup. Credit cards are not widely accepted, so it’s best to always assume you can only pay with cash and have the funds in cash ready to do so. See some recommended values in How Much Spending Money Do You Need for Tonga?

All ATM withdrawals in Tonga are in Tongan Pa’anga. Banks and currency exchange bureaus will exchange foreign currency. All these services are limited to each island group’s main towns, so it’s best to get enough local currency at these locations before visiting remote areas.

Learn more about how to pay using our guide, What is the Best Way to Pay in Tonga?

Swedish Rounding / Cash Rounding

Because there are no coins in the Tongan currency with the value of 1 or 2 seniti, retailers will either round the price up or down to the nearest 5 or 10 cents when paying with cash. If you are using a credit or debit card, however, Swedish rounding does not apply, as you will pay the exact price.

What is the Currency in Tonga?© TongaPocketGuide.com

Currency Exchange in Tonga

Currency can be exchanged in banks and local currency exchange outlets mostly found at Fua’amotu Airport and Tonga’s main town centres; Nuku’alofa (Tongatapu), Neiafu (Vava’u), Pangai (Ha’apai) and Angaha (‘Eua). Local exchange rates tend to be better than what’s found overseas. Find out more in The Best Place to Exchange Currency in Tonga.

If exchanging currency before arriving in Tonga, be sure to leave plenty of time to exchange before your trip, as Tongan Pa’anga is often a currency that some overseas currency outlets have to order in.

There are no restrictions on how much cash you can bring into Tonga, but you will need to declare, complete a cash reporting form and pay duty on more than TOP$10,000 through Customs. Find out more in What to Declare When Arriving in Tonga.

When withdrawing money from an ATM in Tonga, the money will be in Tongan Pa’anga. ATMs are available in Nuku’alofa (Tongatapu), Neiafu (Vava’u) and, Pangai (Ha’apai). There are no ATMs on other islands.

What is the Currency in Tonga?(c) tongapocketguide.com

Banking and ATMs in Tonga

Tonga’s banks are generally open between 9 am to 4 pm Monday to Friday. You will find a variety of banks in Tonga, including Bank of the South Pacific (BSP), Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ), Tonga Development Bank (TDB) and MBf Bank; all of which deal in foreign exchange.

ATMs are only available at Fua’amotu Airport and in Nuku’alofa town centre in Tongatapu, in Vava’u in Neiafu town centre, as well as in Pangai in Ha’apai. Most international credit or debit cards will work in ATMs as long as your card has a four-digit PIN code. We recommend letting your bank know before visiting Tonga so that they don’t lock your card for being used overseas.

Learn more about using your credit card in our guide, Can You Use Your Credit or Debit Card in Tonga? Plus, for details on banks and ATMs across all of the island groups, check out Information, Shops & Services in TongatapuInformation, Shops & Services on ‘Eua, Information, Shops & Services in Ha’apai and Information, Shops & Services in Vava’u.

What is the Currency in Tonga?(c) tongapocketguide.com

Taxes in Tonga

There are a limited number of taxes in Tonga that are likely to affect visitors, including the Consumption Tax (CT) and the Departure Tax.

Consumption Tax

All goods and services purchased in Tonga are subject to a 15% Consumption Tax known as CT. The CT of a purchase is typically included in the advertised price unless stated otherwise.

Departure Tax

The Tonga Departure Tax is included in your flight ticket price and is not collected at the airport. International passengers, except infants not taking a seat on the flight, are charged TOP$55 for Departure Tax from Tonga.

Learn more about the taxes in the Tonga Tax & Tipping Guide for Travellers.

More About the Currency in Tonga

That’s it for our complete guide to the currency of Tonga but that’s by no means the end of our money advice! Check out the following guides for more tips:

Finally, for more money tips, see How Much Spending Money Do You Need for Tonga? as well as a full travel budget in Tonga Travel Budget: How Much Does a Trip to Tonga Cost?


Robin (Lopini) C.

This article was reviewed and published by Robin, the co-founder of Tonga Pocket Guide. He has lived, worked and travelled across 16 different countries before settling in the South Pacific, so he knows a thing or two about planning the perfect trip in this corner of the world. Robin works and consults regularly with the Ministry of Tourism of Tonga. Robin is also the co-founder of several other South Pacific travel guides and is a regular host of webinars with the South Pacific Tourism Organisation.

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