Practical Information

Money and how to Pay in the United States

Pay in the United States, how about that? What is the currency? On this page you will find everything about paying in the United States.

The dollar is the national currency of the United States (US $). This is divided into hundred dollar cents, also known as cents or pennies. The following currencies are also in use: nickel (5 cents), dime (10 cents), quarter (25 cents), half dollar (50 cents) and dollar (100 cents). The (Kennedy) half dollar and (Susan Anthony) dollar coins are rare in the payment system.

On holiday in the United States you need money and depending on the length of your holiday, your wishes can be quite a bit. There are a number of possibilities to fulfill all your purchases and the like:

A: Cash

B: Credit card

C: PIN card (called the Europass or World Pass with Cirrus logo)

It is not advisable to bring large amounts of cash on a journey. Imagine that you lose your money or your attractive thick wallet becomes the target of thieves. Moreover, there are more than enough opportunities to get contact money in the United States. A number of tips below should ensure that you can go on vacation without worries and that if it ever would be disappointing, there are still solutions.

Credit Card

The most widely used means of payment in the US is the Credit Card. Americans are crazy about it. Virtually everywhere you enter can be paid with a credit card. The supermarket, the motel / hotel, petrol station, other shops etc. etc. all have the possibility to use a credit card. Advantages are countless: you always have financial resources in your pocket without actually having money, if the card is stolen you can immediately block it against misuse, and in many cases you will be able to receive a replacement credit card at your holiday address within a few days. In some cases purchases are insured for a period of three months (this service does not offer all credit card companys). You simply pay your bill through your regular bank account monthly, you can rent a car without any problems for which a guarantee must be left etc. etc.

Note, however, check before your departure whether your bank charges costs per payment, otherwise in the case of small expenses it may be wise to pay in cash. Check also before departure if your limit (day / week / month limit) is sufficient and let it increase if you are in doubt. When determining your limit, take into account the fact that certain deposits have already been removed from your limit as if you had already issued this. These deposits are only returned to your credit card when the rental period ends.

It does not happen often anymore, but it is also possible that one prints your credit card on a sales slip for the deposit. Please note that if you get a refund that the slip on which the imprint is made will be destroyed, your signature is already here! Often you are also offered the opportunity to withdraw cash with your Credit Card from banks or ATMs. However, in many cases you have to pay extra for this.

Withdraw money

Furthermore, if you are in possession of a debit card with Cirrus and / or Maestro logo, you can withdraw money from almost all ATMs. An ATM often stands in the somewhat better supermarkets and sometimes in petrol stations. Of course they can also be found at banks. Either as we know them: in the wall, or as so-called drive thru where you do not even have to leave the car. Opening the window and the card in the slot is sufficient. Sometimes a 5 or 6 digit PIN code is requested, but if you only have 4, you still enter your 4-digit PIN code and confirm it.

Please note that with many banks you first have to put your bank card on world coverage, otherwise it will not work in the United States. Ask for this at your own bank!

At some ATMs you have to pay a small fee for a withdrawal. You must think of plus minus two dollars. If you have to pay a fee, this will be communicated to you in advance and you will be asked whether you agree with these costs. If you do not agree, the transaction will be terminated free of charge. You can also make payments with payment terminals with your debit card with Maestro logo. Note: at some vending machines you are asked if you want to make another transaction. Then choose no. If you walk away without making a choice, you run the risk that, if someone comes after you, this person can withdraw money from your account.


If you do not have a credit card or a debit card, there is another alternative; cash. Cash is useful to carry on for cases where a credit card does not provide. Despite the popularity of this card, credit card payment is not possible everywhere. It is therefore recommended that you have, for example, two hundred dollars for those cases. Paper money is available in America in 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 dollar bills. The most accepted are the 1, 5, 10, 20 and 50 dollar bills. You almost never encounter a two dollar bill. These are very popular with collectors.

They do not like to see you pay with a 100 dollar bill and in some cases they are even refused by the shopkeeper, especially in the night hours. You often find a sign with the text at the entrance to the shop: No 100 dollar bills accepted. However, you should keep in mind that all paper money in America has the same size. The only thing that differs is the amounts that are on it and the headlines. 

The American money is not beautiful, each banknote has the same colors, each banknote has the same size regardless of value. The US dollar is a global payment method. In almost every country in the world the Dollar is an accepted means of payment (in trade).


Below you will find some images of American money and a summary of some facts:

  • Every day, 37 million new banknotes are printed in America!
  • 95% Of these new notes are replacing old ones!
  • The first paper American money was printed in 1861.
  • A banknote weighs about 1 gram.
  • Approximately 18 tons of ink are used per day.
  • Since 1969 the hundred dollar bill is the highest value in circulation.
  • Since 2003 there is a new “line” dollar banknotes, more colors will be used. Below you see the newest 100 dollar bill.

Old banknotes

The dollars below are officially no longer in circulation but can still occur in payment traffic. The notes also have their declared value. And admittedly the chance is very small that you still see them because the available dollars are almost certainly owned by collectors.

Read here what the Currency of the Dollar is

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