The currency used in French Polynesia is the French Pacific Franc, abbreviated XPF or CFP. Denominations are available in 1/2/5/10/20/50 and 100 coins, and 500/1,000/5,000 and 10,000 bills. The exchange rate with the Euro is a fixed flat rate (1 Euro (€) = 119.33 Pacific Franc), but it fluctuates against the U.S. dollar (USD).
The bank and ATM at Faa'a International Airport are open to meet all international flights, meaning you can exchange money upon arrival. The international banks in Papeete include Banque de Polynésie (www.sg-bdp.pf), Banque Socredo (www.socredo.pf) and Banque de Tahiti (www.banque-tahiti.pf). The international hotels will also exchange currency, but usually at a higher exchange rate. The banks are always closed on Sunday with limited hours on Saturday, but there are plenty of ATMs located downtown. Since credit cards are often accepted in the tourist areas, it is not necessary to exchange large amounts.
Credit cards are widely used throughout the main islands. The more commonly accepted credit cards include Visa and Mastercard, followed by American Express. Please note that not all hotels and restaurants accept American Express. Once you get to the smaller, more isolated atolls such as Manihi and Fakarava, you will most likely need to carry cash for the stores, restaurants and pensions located away from the major resorts.
Tipping is not customary in French Polynesia and is therefore not expected. If you choose to tip for exemplary service, the gesture is always welcomed and appreciated.