5 Things to Know About Money in Ecuador

Last updated on June 7th, 2024 at 10:25 am

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If you are living abroad and want to send money home to Ecuador, or if you are planning a visit to this South American country, you may need to convert your Canadian dollars, euros, pesos, or other currency into U.S. dollars. That is because the U.S. dollar is the official currency of Ecuador — and it has been for over 20 years.

Money in Ecuador

5 Facts About Money in Ecuador

1. The old Ecuadorian currency was called the “sucre.”

The Ecuadorian Sucre was the legal tender of Ecuador from the late 1800s until the year 2000. It was issued by the Banco Central del Ecuador (Central Bank of Ecuador).

The sucre got its name from Antonio José de Sucre, the president of Bolivia in the early 1800s, who was a widely respected leader in Latin America and the liberator of what is now Ecuador.

At the time of his presidency, Sucre wanted to form an independent nation and become its first president. He wanted independence from Spain and the liberation of Latin American territory. He was assassinated in 1830.

Although the sucre is no longer in use, it still represents an important part of Ecuador’s history.

2. The U.S. dollar replaced the sucre in 2000.

By the end of the 20th century, Ecuador was experiencing significant economic instability. Bursts of inflation were causing prices to skyrocket and the sucre became worth less and less. In 2000, Ecuador decided to replace its own currency with U.S. dollars.

The switch made use of Ecuador’s trade surplus; by selling more oil and other products for U.S. dollars, it could bring more money into circulation. Ecuadorians had a limited time to exchange their sucre for dollars at a fixed rate.

Since the transition, Ecuador’s inflation rates have stabilized and, on average, the economy has grown.

3. Ecuador has a long history of currencies.

The sucre had been the official currency of Ecuador for many decades by the time it was retired. Between 1884 and 1898 it was backed by silver, and from 1898 to 1914 it was backed by gold. In 1914 it became unconvertible. The gold standard returned in 1927, ending a few years later in 1932.

But the sucre was not the first currency used in Ecuador. In the 1800s, a number of different coins were used as Ecuador became a state and eventually a republic. The coins were a mix of foreign-minted and Ecuadorian-produced coins.

Ecuadorian money throughout that century included the “peso fuerte,” the “franco,” and another version of the peso before the sucre became standard in 1884.

4. Ecuador’s exports are a major part of the economy.

Petroleum is Ecuador’s largest and most significant export, but it is not the only one. Ecuador also exports more bananas than any other country in the world. Other major exports include shrimp, gold, cocoa, sugar cane, fruit, and even cut flowers.

5. Many Ecuadorian citizens send money home from abroad.

From 1976 to 2020, remittances — that is, money sent home by Ecuadorians living outside the country — made up an average of 2.94% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). As of 2020, the total amount sent was over $3 billion U.S. dollars.

Exchange Rate

To find the current exchange rate for sending money to Ecuador, check out today’s rates with Remitly.

About Ecuador

Ecuador is located in the northwest part of South America, on the Pacific coast. The country’s population is about 17.6 million. Its largest city, Guayaquil, is home to about two million people, and another 1.4 million live in the capital city of Quito.

Ecuador is known as one of only 17 “megadiverse” countries in the world. Its ecosystems include the coastline, the Andes mountains, the Amazon rainforest, and the Galapagos Islands, which are located far off the coast. The country plays an important role in ecological preservation.

Ecuador’s history dates back thousands of years. Early inhabitants of what is now known as Ecuador were part of the Inca civilization. After a period of Spanish colonization, followed by about eight years as part of a confederation called Gran Colombia, Ecuador became an independent republic in 1830.

Money in Ecuador

Sending Money to Ecuador

You can send money to Ecuador with Remitly. New customers may be eligible for a special offer on their first transfer. Send money to your loved ones in Ecuador safely and securely with Remitly.

Further Reading

If you have enjoyed learning about Ecuador, check out some more reading about world cultures and money transfer.