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Forms of Money Around the World

Written By: Daniel Gleich

Money, also called currency, is important to our economy. It allows us to purchase goods and services. But not all countries use the same type of currency. So, how do we exchange one type of currency for another in order to buy goods from different parts of the world? We use the currency exchange system that tells us how much our dollars are worth in other countries. When you travel to different countries, you might notice that your money goes further or not as far depending on where you are. This is called the exchange rate and it changes often. To better understand this complex system, let's take a look at the different types of currencies around the world and how they differ in terms of value and exchange rate.

Major Currencies

The U.S. dollar (USD) is the world's most widely used currency. It makes up almost half of all global trade and purchases, also called financial transactions. It is accepted in nearly every country and is used as a benchmark for many other currencies. The value of the U.S. dollar can change but generally remains valuable because so many people and so many countries use it.

The Euro (EUR) is the official currency of most countries in the European Union, a group of countries in Europe. It was introduced in 1999 and is now used by 20 EU-member nations as their primary form of money. The euro is also accepted throughout much of Europe, making it a popular choice for travelers and businesses.

The Japanese Yen (JPY) is the national currency of Japan. It has been used since 1871 and is the third most widely traded currency in the world.

The British Pound Sterling (GBP) is the official currency of the United Kingdom, South Sandwich Islands, and South Georgia. It is the fourth most traded currency in the world and is accepted in more than 140 countries.

The Australian dollar (AUD) is the official currency of Australia. It was introduced in 1966 and is accepted throughout much of Asia, Europe, and the United States.

The Canadian dollar (CAD) is the official currency of Canada and its overseas territories. It has been circulated, or used, since 1871. The CAD is accepted throughout much of Europe, Asia, and the United States.

The Swiss franc (CHF) is the official currency of Switzerland and Liechtenstein. It was introduced in 1850. The franc is accepted in many countries and used as a benchmark for other currencies.

The Chinese Renminbi (CNY) is the official currency of China. It was introduced in 1948 and is different from Yuan, which is the basic unit of Renminbi.

Other Major Currencies Around the World

In addition to the major currencies listed above, there are other currencies around the world that are widely accepted and traded. In Africa, there is the South African rand (ZAR), the Egyptian pound (EGP), Kenyan Shilling (KES) and the Nigerian naira (NGN). In Latin America, there is the Mexican peso (MXN), the Brazilian real (BRL), and the Colombian peso (COP). And in Asia, there are many currencies including India's rupee (INR), Thailand's baht (THB), and the Singapore dollar (SGD).

Currency Exchange Rates Against the U.S Dollar

  • Euro (EUR): 1 EUR = 1.09 USD

  • Japanese Yen (JPY):1 JPY = 0.0075 USD

  • British Pound Sterling (GBP): 1 GBP = 1.24 USD

  • Australian Dollar (AUD): 1 AUD = 0.71 USD

  • Canadian Dollar (CAD): 1 CAD = 0.67 USD

  • Swiss Franc (CHF): 1 CHF = 1.11 USD

  • Chinese Renminbi (CNY):1 CNY = 0.5 USD

  • South African Rand (ZAR): 1 ZAR = 0.054 USD

  • Egyptian Pound (EGP): 1 EGP = 0.032 USD

  • Kenya Shilling (KES): 1 KES = 0.0075 USD

  • Nigerian Naira (NGN):1 NGN = 0.0022 USD

  • Mexican Peso (MXN): 1 MXN = 0.055 USD

  • Brazilian Real (BRL): 1 BRL = 0.18 USD

  • Colombian Peso (COP):1 COP = 0.00022 USD

  • India Rupee (INR): 1 INR = 0.014 USD

  • Thailand Baht (THB): 1 THB = 0.029 USD

  • Singapore Dollar (SGD):1 SGD = 0.75 USD

Where Is Your Currency Accepted?

Some countries accept different types of currency, whereas other countries only use one. The US dollar, being the most widely accepted, can be used in many different places, but not everywhere. It might be helpful before you and your family leave on a trip to find out where you can use your currency. If you find that your money isn't accepted where you are traveling, you will need to exchange it for the local currency.



US Dollar

United States, American Samoa, Bonaire, British Indian Ocean Territory, British Virgin Islands, Caribbean Netherlands, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guam, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, Panama, Puerto Rico, Timor-Leste, Turks and Caicos Islands, United States Minor Outlying Islands, U.S. Virgin Islands, Zimbabwe (unofficial)


Eurozone (20 countries), Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, Vatican City

Japanese Yen


British Pound

United Kingdom, Isle of Man, Jersey, Guernsey, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, Tristan da Cunha

Swiss Franc

Switzerland, Liechtenstein

Canadian Dollar


Australian Dollar

Australia, Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Norfolk Island

New Zealand Dollar

New Zealand, Cook Islands, Niue, Pitcairn Islands

Chinese Yuan and Renminbi


Hong Kong Dollar

Hong Kong

Singapore Dollar


South Korean Won

South Korea

Indian Rupee

India, Bhutan

Mexican Peso


Brazilian Real


South African Rand

South Africa, Lesotho, Namibia, Swaziland

Russian Ruble


Saudi Riyal

Saudi Arabia

United Arab Emirates Dirham

United Arab Emirates

Turkish Lira

Turkey, Northern Cyprus

Swedish Krona


Norwegian Krone

Norway, Svalbard and Jan Mayen, Bouvet Island, Queen Maud Land, Peter I Island

Danish Krone

Denmark, Faroe Islands, Greenland

Israeli Shekel

Israel, Palestinian territories

Egyptian Pound


Nigerian Naira


Argentine Peso


Chilean Peso


Colombian Peso


Peruvian Sol


Philippine Peso


Thai Baht


Malaysian Ringgit


Indonesian Rupiah


Pakistani Rupee


Vietnamese Dong


Additional Resources


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