Chess Blog

Using Money in the U.S.

If you're moving to the U.S. from Australia, it's good to have a working knowledge of the U.S. monetary system prior to your arrival. We've created this handy guide to American currency to teach you the basics.

As you probably know, U.S. currency is based on the dollar. The American dollar is roughly the same value as the Australian dollar, so trying to figure out exchange rates is relatively simple.

When you arrive in the U.S., you can have currency exchanged at the airport. There are also businesses that will change currency, and some banks also offer this service. You may be expected to pay a fee to have your Australian dollars changed.

Paper currency is used for denominations of $1.00 and over. The picture of the first president of the United States, George Washington, is included on the $1 note. Other common currency denominations include:


  • $5.00 note, which shows President Abraham's Lincoln's face
  • 10.00 note, which shows Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton;
  • $20.00 note, which shows President Andrew Jackson;
  • $50.00 note, which shows President Ulysses S. Grant
  • $100 note, which shows patriot Benjamin Franklin.


There are also $2.00, $500.00, $1,000.00, $5,000.00, $10,000.00 and $100,000.00 bills, but these are not widely in circulation.

Coin currency is used for denominations of $1.00 and under. The current $1.00 coin is gold in color and shows Sacagawea on its heads side. Additional coins include:

$.25 piece or "quarter" with President George Washington;
$.10 piece or "dime" with President Franklin Delano Roosevelt;
$.05 piece or "nickel" with President Thomas Jefferson;
$.01 piece of "penny" with President Abraham Lincoln.

An older dollar coin called the "silver dollar" and a $.50 piece or "half dollar" are also legal tender but are not widely in circulation.

For more information about moving to the U.S. or U.S. culture, contact Chess Moving.



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