United States Currency

Learn about American money.

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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 several denominations: $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100. The Bureau of Engraving and Printing manufactures paper money. It also redesigns money, with new appearances and enhanced security features to prevent counterfeiting. You can 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. 


The United States issues several denominations, with the most common being: 1¢, 5¢, 10¢, 25¢, 50¢, and $1. The U.S. Mint is responsible for manufacturing and circulating coins to pay for goods and services. It also issues collectible and commemorative coins that honor a person, place, or event and are available for purchase.

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, or in such a condition that you are unable to tell the denomination of the bill. If you have paper money that is dirty, defaced, torn, or more than half of the original size, you can take it to your local bank to exchange it for a bill that is in better shape.

If you have any coins that are fused, melted, or mutilated in any other way, you can send them to the U.S. Mint for evaluation. You can exchange other coins that aren't severely damaged at your local bank.

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Currency Exchange

Each country has its own currency or monetary system for buying and selling products and services, and the currency value for each country is based on many economic factors. When you travel internationally, you will want to have some of that country's currency on hand to buy products or services. 

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

Exchanging Currency

You have several options for purchasing currency for a foreign country:

  • Currency conversion tools are available online to compare the value of your country's currency with the value of other countries' currencies including a weekly list from the Federal Reserve Board showing the currency value of over 20 countries against the value of the U.S. dollar. The rates are not in real time. 
  • Check with your local bank or a travel agent before you travel to find out how to buy currency for the country or countries you plan to visit.
  • Most large international airports or train stations have currency exchange booths, exchange vending machines, and ATMs. Some institutions may charge a fee or commission for the exchange service.

If you plan to use a credit card or ATM card abroad, contact your credit card company or your bank to find out if and where you can use your cards.

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