The Dominican peso (RD$) is the official unit of currency. You can change money at the airport or at a bank. In the Colonial Zone, banks are located on Calle Isabel La Católica, to the north of El Conde. You will also be approached by many people on the street offering to change dollars/euros to pesos. It is best to use banks instead.
Cash Cards and Credit Cards
Inform your bank and credit card companies that you will be traveling to the Dominican Republic. If you do not inform them of your trip ahead of time, they may block your cards due to fraud concerns.
You can use your international ATM card at any bank to withdraw pesos. Be aware that many cash machines have a low transaction limit (as low as US$50), so ask what the limit is before using the machine or cancel the transaction if the limit is too low. You can use the same machine twice, but be aware that your bank will charge a fee for each transaction. Scotiabank and Banco Popular currently have the highest limits, at 10,000 pesos (approx. US$250) per transaction.
Some banks will also allow you to get cash by charging the transaction to your credit card at the teller’s window.
In general, credit cards should only be used at the most reputable establishments. Credit card fraud is a major issue in the country, as there are many scams to duplicate or clone cards. When in doubt, pay with cash.
In addition to pesos, some shops and other establishments will accept payment in US dollars and even Euros. Be sure to ask first. Change is normally given in pesos.
A service fee is added to all restaurant bills. However, as waitstaff may or may not receive this money (depending on the ethics of the restaurant owner) many guests leave an additional 10% tip in cash.
Tips are only expected if the driver has helped with baggage. However, tips are always appreciated. 10% is sufficient.
The usual tip for porters is $1 per bag. Maids should be tipped $1 per day. Note: If you have Euros, pounds or Canadian dollars, do not give a 1 Euro/pound/dollar coin as a tip. It is very difficult to exchange foreign coins for pesos.