Money, Banking and Taxes

Cayman's banking system, our currency and why we don't have direct taxation.

Jessica Wright image
Last updated 19 December, 2023

The official currency of the Cayman Islands is the CI dollar (KYD). The exchange rate is tied to the US dollar with CI$1 being equivalent to US$1.25.

Cayman's Currency

CI dollars are issued in denominations of $1, $5, $10, $25, $50 and $100. US dollars are also widely accepted but you will probably receive change in KYD. Most stores, restaurants and resorts accept credit cards but do check first. Credit cards are always charged in US$.

ATMs can be found throughout the islands at all bank branches and also at major supermarkets. Be aware that in Little Cayman there is just one bank and it is not open every day so make sure you have enough cash to see you through.

CI to USD Conversion Table


USD to CI Conversion Table


Taxes for Visitors

A government tourist tax of 10% will be added to your hotel bill unless you can prove you are a Cayman resident. Some hotels may also add a gratuity charge. There is no sales tax.


If gratuities are not already included, it is customary to tip approximately 15% for good service and more if you were really impressed.

Cayman Banks

Regulated by the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority (CIMA), banking in the Cayman Islands is a major part of Cayman’s financial sector, with 94 banks (November 2023) licensed.

The total international (cross-border positions in all currency and domestic positions in foreign currency) assets and liabilities were reported as US$518billion and US$517 billion respectively in December 2021. Cayman is ranked 15th internationally in terms of cross-border assets and the same for cross-border liabilities. The majority of these banks are branches, subsidiaries and affiliates of established international financial institutions conducting business in the international markets. The banking sector hires highly skilled professionals and is one of the most prominent employers on the Island. Cayman Islands’ banks are bound by strict anti-money laundering laws, which together with Know-Your-Customer (KYC) regulations, are recognised as meeting or exceeding those of all major onshore jurisdictions.

The 94 banks licensed in Cayman are split into A and B classes, with the former licence permitting banks to carry out local and international business. There are currently 3 Class A licensed banks and 8 Class A bank & trusts in the Cayman Islands, with six out of that 11 carrying out retail services. The other 83 banks hold Class B licences and are mainly restricted to offshore transactions with non-residents. Of the current 94 banks licensed in Cayman, 12 are from Europe, 9 from the USA, 19 from the Caribbean and Central America, 16 from Asia and Australia, 12 from Canada and Mexico, 24 from South America and two from the Middle East and Africa. To see a list of the banks licensed in the Cayman Islands visit

Removal from FATF

Cayman Economic Outlook 2024

Take a more detailed look at the socio-economic status of the Cayman Islands and what lies ahead for 2024 by clicking HERE. 

The Cayman Islands has successfully exited the Financial Action Task Force's (FATF) money laundering 'grey list' after more than two years of dedicated efforts. This significant accomplishment, announced on October 27th, 2023, follows a constructive meeting of the FATF Plenary in Paris. The 'grey list' classification is reserved for nations actively addressing deficiencies in anti-money laundering, terrorist financing, and proliferation financing measures. To align with global standards, the Cayman Islands established a new police unit, enacted legislative changes, and implemented updated standards for realtors and precious metal dealers.

This removal holds importance for the Islands' financial services industry, reaffirming their commitment to combatting financial crimes and creating a favorable environment for foreign investment. Notably, the Cayman Islands now proudly stands on the 'White List,' reflecting their success in addressing regulatory concerns, which bodes well for the finance industry's future in Cayman. As of December 2023, the jurisdiction is now undergoing removal from additional entities' listings associated with AML/CFT/CPF policies. The CI Government has already received notification of the EU Commission's issuance of a delegated regulation, specifically addressing the delisting of the Cayman Islands from its AML black-list and the Islands have also been officially removed from the UK's AML list, as of early December 2023.

Cayman's Economic Performance

A look at the economic future of Cayman using current trends as a starting point. Click HERE.

Taxation in the Cayman Islands

It has been suggested unofficially, that a tax haven is somewhere that has little or no taxation, protects personal financial information through laws blocking the sharing of information and exhibits an obvious lack of transparency. Although the Cayman Islands are often referred to as a ‘tax haven’, this does not mean it is an uncooperative jurisdiction with regards to tax matters or other criminal matters.

Indeed, the Cayman Islands have been making large efforts to be transparent and to sign laws that benefit foreign governments in the sharing of information and this has paid dividends. In 2000, the Cayman Islands Government signed up to the OECD’s project to eliminate harmful tax practices and join the Global Forum on Taxation. In 2001, as a demonstration of the OECD commitment, the Cayman Islands signed a tax information exchange agreement with the US which is in force for all civil and criminal matters. A few years later, the Cayman Islands agreed to implement the European Union Savings Directive, automatically reporting bilaterally to each of the 27 EU member states the interest income earned by EU citizens in Cayman Islands bank accounts.

Since then the Cayman Islands have also signed numerous tax information exchange agreements with G-20 and/or OECD countries modelled on the OECD standard for bilateral tax information exchange and continues to actively negotiate additional agreements. Furthermore, the Cayman Islands has pioneered a unilateral mechanism, which provides for precisely the same range of tax information exchange in relation to tax information matters without a bilateral treaty and thereby provides access to a further 22 countries including the United Kingdom, Japan, India, South Africa and Germany among others.

The willingness of the Cayman Islands to be an open and cooperative jurisdiction resulting in it being added to the OECD ‘white list’ perhaps demonstrates that the label ‘tax haven’ is somewhat outdated and simply unfair. The professional service providers based in the Cayman Islands prefer (in recognition of the efforts undertaken) that a modern term of being a ‘tax neutral jurisdiction’ be used.

These efforts on the part of the Cayman Islands have been rewarded by an increase in transactional flows; this is no doubt because of the institutional business which was attracted to the Cayman Islands as a result of its tax neutrality and its improved reputation internationally as a cooperative financial jurisdiction.


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