Types of Foreign Currency

by Carol D. Phelps; Updated September 26, 2017
British Currency: Wads of twenty pound banknotes in pile, close-up

Understanding the varied types of foreign currencies and exchange rates is a daunting but needed skill in our global world. This knowledge affects decisions ranging from choosing travel destinations to short- and long-term financial investments.

Most Commonly Used Currencies:

Japanese yen

Over 150 types of currencies exist in the world. The most common are : •E.U.: Euro-EUR •U.S.: Dollar-USD •U.K.: Pound-GBP •Switzerland: Swiss Franc-CHF •Japan: Yen-JYP

Other Known Currencies:

Close-up of paper money

Other widely known currencies are: •Mexico: Peso- MXN •Sweden: Krona- SEK •India: Rupee-INR •Russia: Ruble-RUB

Countries which use the Euro:


The following countries use the Euro as their form of currency: •Andorra •Austria •Belgium •Cyprus •Finland •France •Germany •Greece •Ireland •Italy •Kosovo •Luxembourg •Malta •Monaco •Montenegro •Netherlands •Portugal •San Marino •Slovakia •Slovenia •Spain •Vatican City

Countries That Use the U.S. Dollar:

Mixed denomination single dollar bills

The USD is the most widely used currency in most international transactions. In addition to the U.S. and its regions--Puerto Rico, Northern Mariana Islands, U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa and Guam--some other countries use the U.S. Dollar as its official currency.

They are: •East Timor •British Indian Ocean •British Virgin Islands •Ecuador •El Salvador •Marshall Islands •Federated States of Micronesia •Palau •Panama •Turks and Caicos Islands

Sources on Foreign Currencies

Close-up of a Currency Exchange Sign

Popular travels sites contain information regarding the specific currency used and the exchange conversions for most countries and geographies. For up-to-the-minute investment and trading decisions, consult on-line sources for exchange rates, and major global brokerage firms and banks. Be prepared to be awed by the diversity of the information contained on foreign currency. They often are a mirror to the cultural identities of the specific countries.


About the Author

Carol Phelps has a MBA in Finance, and over 20 years in corporate finance driving financial profitability. Her passions are economic development and sustainable entrepreneurship worldwide. She writes articles on topics ranging from fiscal controls, budgeting, and planning tools to the effective use of social media to increase business results.

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  • Adam Gault/Digital Vision/Getty Images
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