How to Cash in Old Foreign Money

You can easily exchange or cash in foreign currency at a local bank, at a currency exchange business at an airport or at a coin dealership in your area. Depending on how old your money is, it might be worth more as a collectible than its face value.

Read More​: Who Buys Foreign Currency?

Do Some Research

Before you cash in your coins and notes, do some online research to see if any of your money has become collectible. If so, it might be worth more than the amount of the currency. Don’t assume that because a coin or note is no longer legal tender that it can’t be exchanged or has no value. A foreign currency list should include old and new coins and notes.

You can also look for a coin trader in your area to see if they can help. Be aware that an unscrupulous coin dealer might not offer you fair value if you bring in a rare coin and have no idea what it’s worth. That’s why some pre-visit research is important.

Start With Your Bank

If you have a bank account, call the bank or drop by and ask if they exchange or cash in in foreign currency. If you’ll be dropping by without calling, put your coins and bills in envelopes based on country. If you only have money from one country, you can put it in a jar (depending on how many coins you have) or an envelope.

When you get to the bank, ask the greeter whether you should wait in line for a teller or if you need to speak to someone else. Be prepared to pay a small fee for this service, depending on whether you’re not a customer with the bank or based on the type of account you have with the bank.

Exchange It at the Airport

Airports with international flights have currency exchanges so that passengers going to a foreign country can land with local money in their pockets, or travelers returning from a trip can exchange any extra foreign money they have. Ask an airport agent where a currency exchange is located and bring your money to the counter or booth to trade-in.

Check to see if an airport’s currency exchanges are behind a security check-in. If so, you’ll have to wait until the next time you travel to use this option.

Try an Online Exchange

If you can’t exchange your money in person, look for an online service. Follow the directions on the website, which will include instructions for mailing your currency into their place of business. You’ll receive a check or digital deposit to one of your accounts, based on how they transact business.

To avoid the theft of your money while it’s being mailed or shipped, make sure your coins don’t make noise when the package is shaken.

Check Out eBay

Some people buy and sell currency on eBay. Do a search of the old money you have to find out if anyone else is selling it or what price it’s recently sold for. Look at recent sales to get a more realistic idea of what people have been willing to pay for your type of foreign money. That will help you set the best price to sell your money quickly.

After you get your search results for your coin or note, look at the left-hand side of the page for the word “Sold” and click on the checkbox next to it to find recent sale prices. Depending on what you have, it might be worth it to do an eBay auction. For a quicker sale, use the "Buy it Now" setting or let buyers make an offer.