There are 164 official national currencies circulating around the world. The top ten currencies used in chronological order are:
- U. S. Dollar
- Japanese Yen
- British Pound
- Australian Dollar
- Swiss Franc
- Canadian Dollar
- Hong Kong Dollar
- Malaysian Ringed
- Swedish Krona
The US Dollar is used in 10 foreign countries, the US and its territories. The European euro is used in 19 of 28 EU countries and some non-EU countries. The West African CFA franc is used in 8 African countries and the Central African CFA franc in 6 African countries. The East Caribbean dollar is used in 6 Caribbean nations.
The world’s most-traded currency is the US dollar with about 47% share of global payments and 87% of the forex market’s daily turnover and in second place is the Euro, having about 33% of the daily forex transactions and 28% share of the international bank payments.
It is a good idea to have some foreign currency with you before you leave the airport of your destination to handle expenses such as taxis, meals, or tips. You can avoid the hassle of exchanging currency upon arrival as some airports by obtaining foreign currency prior to arrival.
There are few larger banks (such as Bank of America & Wells Fargo) that allow the exchange of foreign currency into USD. Some banks may even allow you to deposit foreign currency directly into you bank account, however, you will need to check with your bank. Travelex allows you to order over 50 foreign currencies online and either choose between home delivery or pickup from one of the many Travelex stores across the US.
Bank of America members can exchange foreign currency (no coins) for U.S. dollars at a full-service banking center. You may go online to view the exchange rates for that country and find out how much your foreign currency is currently worth in U.S. dollars. Wells Fargo has currency for over 100 countries with over 70 currencies (exchange rates are updated daily) through their online order site.
If you are unable to obtain the currency you require, you may always exchange money at the local airport, bank, hotel, or any reputable currency exchange provider.
When you return, Wells Fargo often will buy back your foreign currency at many Wells Fargo locations in the US. The money exchange in the airport will also buy back currency, however, beware the buy back rates may be different. For example, at the airport in Dakar the exchange rate is $1 USD to 500 CFAs, although the buyback is 650 CFAs to $1 USD. Essentially, you may have purchased 45,000 CFAs for $90 USD, however, the buyback exchange may result in $69 USD.
The best way to prevent feeling ripped off when buying back currency is to limit and manage the amount of foreign currency you have in your possession. You may also hold onto to your foreign currency and wait until the rates are more favorable.
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