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You took foreign money home from a trip. Here's how to get cash for it. – The Washington Post

Unspent foreign currency is a waste of money, yet we often return home with foreign notes stuffed in our wallets and jingling in our pockets.

According to a global charity OxfamThere’s an estimated 2.7 billion pounds ($3.4 billion) worth of unused foreign currency circulating in the UK. American tourists are also hoarding other countries’ money. Many of your friends and neighbours are likely to have sandwich bag-fuls of coins or small stacks of bills stashed away in their homes.

“When you break a $20 or £20 note, you get some smaller denomination notes and coins that end up in a drawer or a jar.” Top Left Currency.comhelps people convert their foreign currency into cash. “But there’s a lot you can do creatively with notes and coins.”

Instead of throwing your cash in the junkyard, you can squeeze value out of your leftover notes and coins and use it for yourself or for a greater cause.

Paula Twidale, Senior Vice President AAA Travelhas warned against holding foreign cash for long periods, as over time it could become obsolete. Croatia India replaced its national currency, the kuna, with the euro. In 2016 it abolished all 500 and 1,000 rupee notes and introduced 2,000 rupee notes, which were demonetised last year.

To minimize financial losses, switch to paying with cash a few days before you travel. Tip hotel and restaurant staff and put coins in street performers’ instrument cases. Pay part (or all) of your hotel bill with paper money when you check out. Use taxis that accept paper money.

Unfortunately, when it comes to dealing in foreign currency, ATMs don’t work both ways: you can withdraw foreign currency from an overseas bank ATM, but you can’t get the notes back into your account.

However, you can sell unused notes to a bank or a specialized currency exchange shop.

Tweedale recommends selling any remaining foreign currency at your departure airport or when you arrive in the U.S. The convenience and speed will make up for the less than favorable rates and fees.

On a recent weekday morning, I carried two quart-size freezer bags filled with more than two dozen bills into a Bank of America branch in Washington. The teller inspected each bill, checking the year, denomination, and condition. More bills were rejected than accepted, and the most common phrase I heard was “out of circulation.” I made $112 on Peruvian, British, Canadian, and Jamaican legal tender. As for the Turkish lira, I made just 58 cents because my bank only accepts $20 bills.

After visiting the bank I took a chance and tried elsewhere.

Owner Mark Broder Treasure Trove Foreign Currency Exchange The Washington, DC, merchant says about 40 percent of his business is trade-ins for U.S. dollars. Though he deals in about 90 different currencies, he can’t accept every note that slides across his desk; many are outdated or worthless — Irish Republic one-pound notes, Pakistani rupees, and Argentine pesos, for example, “aren’t worth a penny,” he says. But he accepts the artifacts as donations and distributes them to collectors and children.

Many banks offer similar services to their customers. Typically, banks buy back hard currencies but not soft or demonetized currencies (hard currencies are stable, whereas soft currencies are volatile).

Coin and collectible dealers often buy foreign currency, but for a lower amount than you’d get at a bank or exchange office. On the other hand, these stores often buy obscure or outdated notes and coins that are no longer disposable.

I decided to get rid of some foreign currency and stopped by. Capitol Coin and Stamp Companyis a Washington, D.C., collectibles store that’s been in business for more than 60 years. Owner Nelson Whitman poured the coins onto a small mat covered in black cloth. “All these old things are worthless,” he said. “They’re out of date.”

But they were not entirely worthless. He took out about $11 worth of British coins and offered to pay for them at 10 cents each. He would sell them for 20 cents each. He wrote out a bill for $7.50 and paid in cash.

Savvy online sellers can try their luck through sites like eBay and Facebook groups. Coin Collecting Buying Selling Trading Questions.

To find out the list price, Broder suggested using Google Lens, which he demonstrated by taking a photo of my Algerian 1,000 dinar note and discovering a similar note listed on eBay for $13, nearly double its face value.

Use a surplus currency expert

If you still have money left over, you can enlist the help of a company that specializes in finding storage for unused or unwanted currency.

Van Poppel Top Left Currency.com“Packages full of foreign notes and coins arrive at his office in Datchet, just outside London, every day. His staff route the money to organisations that might buy or accept it, such as national banks. His team also gets requests from film studios who want vintage banknotes to use as film props.”

“If it’s a period piece set in the 1970s, the studio is going to want something that was popular at the time,” he says. “For an actor, authenticity is always better.”

Van Poppel said that while currency yields may be disappointing, sometimes money isn’t the goal.

“Some people send us tiny amounts for less than the cost of postage,” he says, “and when I ask them why, they say they’re happy they’re putting it to good use, it’s not going to waste, and it keeps their cupboards clean.”

Charitable and Other Donations

At airports around the world, travelers can drop their spare bills into donation boxes (or, in many cases, giant globes) to be donated to charity. At some international airlines, flight attendants collect loose change from passengers, which is then donated to nonprofits that work on causes like child hunger and community programs.

Through Help AllianceLufthansa Worldwide, a non-profit organisation set up by employees of the Lufthansa Group, allows passengers on long-haul flights operated by Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines, Edelweiss Air, Brussels Airlines, Eurowings and Condor to make hard currency donations, as well as at German airports.

Since 1991, UNICEF has worked with airlines to: A good change The initiative accepts foreign currency through its aviation industry partners, as well as donations from individuals via mail or in person. Oxfam International, The company has branches in about two dozen countries that run similar programs.

of Humane Society of the United States Cash and coin donations in foreign currency will be accepted.

You can also contact local schools and libraries to ask for donations of currency that educators can use for lessons, art projects, exhibits, and more.

Finally, if your friends or family are planning on traveling abroad, gift them some unused currency.