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United States Currency

Learn about U.S. paper and coin money, or learn how to convert between international currencies.

American Money

The United States issues paper currency and coins to pay for purchases, taxes, and debts.

Paper Money

American paper currency is issued in seven denominations: $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100. The Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) manufactures paper money. It also redesigns money, with new appearances and enhanced security features. BEP includes security features to prevent counterfeiting. Purchase commemorative or bulk versions of American currency through the Bureau's Money Store.

The United States no longer issues bills in larger denominations, such as $500, $1,000, $5,000, and $10,000 bills. However, they are still legal tender and may still be in circulation. All U.S. currency issued since 1861 is valid and redeemable at its full face value.

Coins

The United States issues several denominations, with the most common being: 1¢, 5¢, 10¢, 25¢, 50¢, and $1. The U.S. Mint manufactures and circulates coins to pay for goods and services. It also issues collectible and commemorative coins for sale. These coins honor a person, place, or event.

Mutilated Money

If you have paper money that is extremely damaged, you can redeem it with the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. Examples of damaged paper money include:

  • Bills that are less than one half of the bill
  • Bills in such a condition that you're unable to tell the denomination.

If you have paper money that is dirty, defaced, torn or more than half of the original size, you can exchange it for ia bill that's in better shape at your local bank.

You can redeem bent or partial coins through the Mutilated Coin Redemption Program.

Video: How to Authenticate U.S. Currency

Learn how to use the security features in the design of U.S. paper money.

Currency Exchange

Each country has its own currency to buy and sell products and services. The exchange rate between two countries tells you the price you pay to buy another country's currency.  

Exchanging Currency

Research the costs and process of purchasing currency for a foreign country:

  • Use online currency conversion tools. They let you compare the value of your country's currency to the value of other countries' currencies.
  • Check the Federal Reserve Board's list of exchange rates for over 20 countries against the value of the U.S. dollar.  
  • Check with local banks to learn how to buy currency for another country.
  • Compare the fees for using currency exchange booths, exchange machines, and ATMs. 

If you use a credit card or ATM card abroad, the exchange rate will be different than the rates at currency exchange booths.

Cash Limits When Traveling Abroad or Entering the U.S.

Video: Field Trip to the Money Factory

Meet Brian, a designer and Dixie, an engraver. Learn about their jobs and how money is made. Here's a lesson plan.

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Last Updated: September 6, 2019

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