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Money in the UK

The currency used in the UK is the pound sterling (£) issued by the Bank of England. Scotland and Northern Ireland also issue their own banknotes and used locally alongside banknotes issued by the Bank of England. The Scottish and Northern Irish banknotes are legal tender throughout the UK but some establishments outside Scotland and Northern Ireland may not accept them due to unfamiliarity with the banknotes. However, they are exchangeable with the local banks for banknotes issued by the Bank of England. Currency notes are in £5, £10, £20 and £50 with £100 notes issued in Scotland. Coins are in pennies (p) and include 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p and 50p as well as £1 and £2 coins.

Currency Exchange

You can cash foreign currencies for the pound sterling with banks and authorised moneychangers in the UK. Currencies commonly accepted for exchange include the euro, US dollar, Japanese yen, Swiss franc and kroner from the Scandinavian countries. Moneychangers are common in areas often frequented by foreign tourists especially in London as well as at airports and seaports. Some moneychangers may advertise attractive rates but may charge higher fees or commissions than the banks.

Pound sterling notes by Lensicle

Cash Advance

Most banks will advance you cash against your credit card and the most commonly accepted are Visa and MasterCard. You can also use your credit cards for cash advance from the ATMs (also known as cashpoints). Besides the banks, you can also find ATMs at major shopping streets, shopping centres, airports and even some pubs. Remember that ATMs may charge a fee for each transaction. If using a credit card issued outside of the UK, check whether your card is valid for use in the UK.

Barclays ATM by Philafrenzy

Credit Cards

Many establishments across the UK accept credit cards. Visa and MasterCard are the most accepted but some do accept American Express and Diners Club. Travel agents, airlines, car rental companies, major retailers, hotels and restaurants generally accept credit cards. Payments at smaller establishments such as neighbourhood shops and street kiosks are generally in cash.

Shopping along London's Regent Street by Lewis Clarke

Travellers' Cheques

Travellers’ cheques issued by Thomas Cook and Amex are the most commonly used in the UK. These travellers’ cheques are cashable at Thomas Cook and Amex branches throughout the country. Many banks will accept travellers’ cheques but charge a small commission for exchanging them for cash.

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