What Is a Peso?

What Is a Peso?
••• un peso image by thierry planche from Fotolia.com

A peso is a unit of money used in several Spanish-speaking countries. It is subdivided into 100 centavos, like a dollar is subdivided into 100 cents. In English, peso literally means weight.

Countries Using the Peso

The peso is used in countries such as Mexico, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Argentina and Chile, among others. Different designs adorn the different types of pesos, but they are subdivided in the same manner. However, they are not all worth the same amount of money internationally.

Value in U.S. Dollars

As of June 23, 2010, one U.S. dollar is worth 12.658 Mexican pesos. The Mexican peso is the 12th most traded coin in the world and most valuable of all of the pesos.


Paper pesos and coin pesos exist. As of 1992, Mexican coin pesos come in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50. Mexican paper pesos come in denominations of 2,000, 5,000, 20,000, 50,000 and 100,000.


Historically, pesos coins have been made out of silver, gold and bronze. Most modern Mexican pesos coins, however, are made out of aluminum bronze and stainless steel. The 20 and 50 pesos have a silver center with an aluminum bronze ring around it. These are the only circulating coins in the world still containing silver.