Currency Exchange in the United States

The United States uses the United States dollar ($) as its currency, divided into 100 cents (¢).American bills usually come in denominations of $1, $5, $10 and $20. Denominations of $2, $50 and $100 can also be found, but they are uncommon, especially the $2 bill. All $1, $2, $5, $50 and $100 bills, and older $10 and $20 bills are all green.

The standard coins are the penny (1¢, copper color), the nickel (5¢, silver color), the dime (10¢, silver color) and the quarter (25¢, silver color). Note: united travel The size of American coins does not necessarily correspond to their relative value: the dime is the smallest coin, followed by the penny, nickel and quarter in that order. Large 50¢ and $1 coins are uncommon. $1 coins (silver or gold) slightly larger than a quarter have been introduced, but are uncommon.

There is a large variety of different coins in circulation. In many cases, for a particular denomination the coins will have an identical front but totally different backs. For example, for quarters (25¢), each state is commemorated on the back of the coin. This means that there are 50 different coins, in addition to the traditional eagle and the 1976 bicentennial commemorative quarter.

Conversion

The dollar is one of the world’s most common currencies and is convertible to most other currencies. Conversion rates vary daily and are available online. Foreign currencies are almost never accepted. Canadian currency is sometimes accepted at larger stores within 100 miles of the border, but discounted for the exchange rate.

Some U.S. banks will only change currency for customers. Foreign travelers are often the exception, as long as you have proper identification (passport) and a major currency. It is best to call ahead to verify that you will be able to make the exchange.

Note: It is not common to find currency exchange centers outside of major coastal and border cities, and international airports. Many banks can also provide currency exchange services, though certainly not for large amounts of money. You are best to bring dollars with you from your home country.

ATMs

Most automated teller machines (ATMs) can handle foreign bank cards or credit cards bearing Visa/Plus or MasterCard/Cirrus logo; note, however, that many ATMs charge fees of about $1.50 for use with cards not from the bank operating the ATM (this is often waived for cards issued outside of the USA but then again, banks in one’s home country may charge their own fees). Smaller ATMs found in restaurants etc. often charge higher fees.

Note: For German travelers, customers of “Deutsche Bank” are not charged for withdrawals from ATM machines that are operated by Bank of America. If you intend to use your overseas bank card or credit card, be certain that you have a PIN (personal identification number) that will work internationally (usually 4 digits) and that you know how much each transaction will cost (minimum and percentage exchange rate fees).

Credit Cards

Major credit cards such as Visa and MasterCard are widely used. Other cards such as American Express and Discover are also accepted, but not as widely. Almost all sit-down restaurants, hotels, and stores will accept credit cards. Authorization is made by signing a sales slip or sometimes a computer pad. When making large purchases, it is fairly typical for stores to ask for picture identification, but no additional security precautions are taken, so guard your cards carefully.

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