Unit of Currency
While the official currency in Panama is the US Dollar, the country also has its own currency, which is the Balboa (PAB). It is named after Vasco Nuñez de Balboa, a Spanish explorer, conquistador and governor, known for crossing the Isthmus of Panama to the Pacific Ocean in 1513, becoming the first European to lead an expedition to have reached the Pacific from the New World.
The Balboa exists only in coins, and is tied to the U.S. Dollar (USD) at a rate of 1 PAB = 1 USD. It is divided into 100 cents (centésimos) that have the same value, size, weight and use the same metal as the U.S. coins. In fact, they are both used equally and are completely interchangeable in Panama. The only paper currency used is the American Dollar.
Since Panama’s currency is actually the US Dollar, the Panamanian government cannot devalue the money or print more paper notes – it can only issue new coins. This has been highly beneficial for Panama, providing the country with monetary stability.
As the country uses the US currency, it does not have a Central Bank. Instead, the Superintendencia de Bancos, a government agency whose leader is appointed by the president, has the role of supervising banking activity in the country. It also regulates mortgages, loans and liens. (For more information on the Superintendencia de Bancos).
To see the current exchange rate go to: