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What does America use for currency?

United States of America (“America” or “US”) is an unparalleled travel destination offering experiences you won’t find anywhere else in the world. Are you looking to find out what currency America uses, how much money to take, and how much things cost? This guide tells you everything you need to know about travel money in America and how best to buy US Dollars.

US Currency

So, what does America use for currency? It’s the US Dollar, the symbol is $, and it has the abbreviation USD.

The History of the US Dollar

The US Dollar has a rich history and was established as the country's official currency in 1792[1]. It has since become one of the most widely used currencies in the world.

What coins do they use in the US?

US coins come in various denominations, including:

  • 1 cent (penny)
  • 5 cents (nickel)
  • 10 cents (dime)
  • 25 cents (quarter)
  • 50 cents (half dollar)
  • $1 (silver dollar coin)

What banknotes do they use in the US?

US banknotes come in these denominations:

  • $1
  • $2
  • $5
  • $10
  • $20
  • $50
  • $100

The designs of these notes often feature prominent American figures and symbols.

What countries use the US Dollar?

While the US Dollar is primarily used in the US, it is also the official currency of several other countries and territories, including Ecuador, El Salvador, East Timor, and Zimbabwe, among others[2]. More than 65 countries peg their currencies to the US Dollar and even 11 foreign nations use it as their official currency of exchange. The US Dollar maintains its status as the world's primary reserve currency due to its extensive global usage and the substantial cash reserves held by numerous nations.

US Dollar to Pound

Now that you know what currency is used in America, you’ll want to know its value in comparison to other currencies. The exchange rates between the US Dollar and other currencies, such as the Euro or British Pound, fluctuate based on market conditions.

As of October 2023, $1 US Dollar is roughly equivalent to 85p in the UK So, $10 is worth around £8.50. Of course, this fluctuates with the value of both currencies.

Check out this page for our current US Dollar rate.

Buy US Dollars before your trip

How Much Money Should I Bring to the US?

Determining how much money to bring to America depends on your travel plans and budget. Setting a daily spending limit can help you manage your expenses effectively. If you need additional funds during your trip, you can easily find ATMs and currency exchange services across the country. At Travelex it’s easy to buy US Dollars online, or you can click and collect from one of our UK stores.

How far will my US Dollars go?

The cost of living in America can vary greatly depending on the region you visit. Major cities tend to be more expensive, especially for accommodation and dining out. However, America also offers plenty of budget-friendly options, allowing travellers to manage their expenses effectively.

Tipping in America is customary, and it's common to leave a tip in restaurants, taxis, and other service-oriented businesses. It could be easier to leave a cash tip, so make sure you pick up your currency with us before you fly.

As an average daily budget[3], the below examples may give you an indication of what you’ll need:

  • Budget travellers: $50 - $150 per day.
  • Mid-range travellers: $150 - $300 per day.
  • Luxury travellers: $300 and above per day.

Always try to plan ahead, research specific destinations, and create a budget tailored to your travel plans and preferences. Additionally, having a buffer for unexpected expenses is always a good practice.

Can I use my cards in the US?

Most outlets in America accept payment with both debit and credit cards, including major international brands like Visa, Mastercard, and American Express. ATMs are widely available, making it convenient for travellers to withdraw cash if needed.

Additional card payment options

Another convenient option is the Travelex Money Card - an easy and safe way to manage your holiday money in America. Load the card with money, then use it across the country wherever Mastercard Prepaid is accepted. The Travelex Money Card is widely accepted and allows you to top up your card with a range of currencies, including US Dollars. Plus, you can spend anything you don’t use on your next trip.

Buy US Dollars and get ready to explore!

Now that you know all about the currency of America, you can prepare for your exciting trip to the United States. Organise your finances and consider the convenient Travelex Money Card option to make your travel experience even smoother. To discover more about the attractions and activities in America, don’t miss our comprehensive travel guide, offering valuable insights for your journey across this diverse and vibrant country.

[1] Sourced: October 2023
[2] Sourced: October 2023
[3] Sourced: October 2023.