Paying in dollars

The currency of the United States is the US Dollar. Credit cards are accepted nearly everywhere and prices are shown without sales tax. Paying in dollars can be confusing for foreigners in the USA.

American Dollar (USD)

In the USA you can pay in cash with 6 coins and 7 bills. Don’t be surprised when someone asks if you have a ‘dime’ or a ‘quarter’. Coins are often referred to with a name. The 1 dollar coins is almost never used because there is also a 1 dollar bill.


  • 1 cent: Penny
  • 5 cent: Nickel
  • 10 cent: Dime
  • 25 cent: Quarter
  • 50 cent: Half dollar
  • 100 cent: Dollar


  • 1 dollar
  • 2 dollar
  • 5 dollar
  • 10 dollar
  • 20 dollar
  • 50 dollar
  • 100 dollar

You will probably never encounter a 2 dollar bill as these are rarely used. When paying you should be carefull to look at the number on the bills because they are the same size and color.

Credit and debit cards

The one item you definitely need in the USA is the credit card! Americans can’t live without it. You can use it everwhere. When you’re ready to pay in a store, they will ask you “Debit or credit?”. Say “Credit” if you want to pay by credit card and “Debit” if you want to use your debit card. Most credit cards like VISA, Mastercard, American Express, … are widely accepted.

It’s important to know that it’s best to pay with you credit card and withdraw money from an ATM with your debit card because of the fees your bank will charge you for the transaction.

Be aware:  European cards are blocked from usage outside of Europe by default to prevent fraud. You have to unblock you cards to use them in the USA. Check with your bank before you leave.

Sales tax

The price in stores is often not the price you’ll have to pay. Usually the prices are before sales tax. So you have to add the sales tax to the total amount when paying. This sales tax varies from state to state. A complete overview is available on Wikipedia (

Some states don’t have a sales tax!
>> Check which states you have to visit to shop without sales tax!


Tipping is very common in the USA
>> Read all about tipping in America

Exchanging your currency to dollars

You can pay with your cards, but you better take some cash with you.
>> Read more about exchanging money for dollars

At you can order dollars online!


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