Currency refers to physical objects accepted as a medium of exchange for goods and services. These physical objects usually come in the form of coins and banknotes assigned from a government, which represent the entire nation’s money supply. Other portions of a nation’s money supply include bank deposits, ownership transferred through checks, and electronic transfer via debit cards. Deposit money and currency are acceptable means of payment in most transactions. Gold or silver coins of intrinsic value hold a standard established by ancient civilizations; however, nearly all modern monetary systems are based on fiat currency, a medium exchange with a value determined by government order. The government declares that an existing fiat currency is legal tender, which makes it unlawful to not accept fiat currency as a means of payment for all public and private debts.
Currency Conversion Calculators
- University of Scranton: MEAP Currency Calculator
- University of Maine System: Conversion Tables for U.S. Dollars and Chinese RMB
- University of Alabama; Time, Currency and Calculators
- Albion College: Universal Currency Calculator
- OANDA: Currency Converter
Currency Around the World
Several countries claim the dinar as the official currency accepted as a medium of exchange for goods and services. The gold dinar, an early Islamic coin with links to the Byzantine denarius auri, has roots in the contemporary dinar. In fact, the gold dinar currently in circulation is called the Islamic gold dinar. Nine different countries have previously used the dinar, including Abu Dhabi, Bosnia, Croatia, Iran, Republic of Serbian Krajina, Republika Srspska, South Yemen, Sudan, and Yugoslavia.
- Iraqi Dinar: A top resource for pertinent information and advice concerning the Iraqi dinar.
- CNN Money: Should You Invest in the Iraqi Dinar?: A brief look at market trends with invested interest in the Iraqi dinar.
- Xe.com: Iraqi Dinar; A one-stop resource to understanding the intrinsic value behind the Iraqi dinar.
Several countries from around the world claim the dollar as the official currency accepted as a medium of exchange for goods and services, including the United States, Ecuador, Suriname, El Salvador, Panama, Belize, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Brunel, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. The dollar sign ($) is a symbolic representation of the dollar and peso. Other countries that have previously used the dollar include: Malaysia, Spain, and Rhodesia. The dollar has an extensive history stemming from 1520, where Bohemian coins known as the “Joachimsthaler” led to the coinage of seven different currencies.
- University of California Television: Conversations with History: The Rise and Fall of the Dollar: An interview led by Barry Eichengreen to explain the rise and fall of the U.S. dollar.
- History of The Dollar Bill – A brief history of the US dollar bill.
- Arizona State University: The New Currency Deal: Alternatives to the Dollar: An assessment of the U.S. dollar dominance in the currency sector of the world, and how emerging currencies are competing during the economic crisis.
The euro is the official currency for 17 out of 27 member states of the European Union, including Austria, Belgium, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Estonia, Finland, Cyprus, Germany, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Slovakia, Malta, Portugal, Spain, and Slovenia. Other countries that use the euro include: Montenegro, Monaco, the Vatican, San Marino, Andorra, and Kosovo. Over 327 million Europeans purchase goods and services on a daily basis using the euro as their primary currency. Additionally, more than 170 million people around the world use currencies currently pegged to the euro, which include over 150 million Africans. The euro stands as the second largest reserve currency in the world, right after the U.S. dollar. The euro was introduced January 1, 1999, while replacing the former European Currency Unit (ECU).
- University of New York: European Monetary Union and the Euro: A massive resource page covering the latest news governing the euro and its effect as a primary reserve currency around the globe.
- London Business School: Euro versus Dollar (PDF): An essay addressing the potential replacement of the euro over the U.S. dollar as the primary world reserve currency.
- University of Washington: The Euro: Money Changes Everything (PDF): A retrospective essay detailing the effect of the euro on the world trading markets.
The franc consists of several currency units, including the Swiss franc, which is a major world reserve currency today. The term franc is derived from the Latin phrase “francorum rex,” which translates into “King of the Franks.” The phrase was inscribed in earlier versions of the French franc. The countries currently using francs include Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and the Francophone countries in Africa. Francs were used in France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Andorra, and Monaco before the introduction of the euro.
- University of Auburn: How to Read the Currency Futures Options Table: This article covers basic instructions on how to read the currency futures options table for the Swiss franc.
- University of Oregon State: Sucre to Dollar, Franc to Euro (PDF): This essay examines the cultural impact of the currency exchange rate in Ecuador and France.
- University of Indiana: Capital: Fort-de-France: An image database of francs previously and currently in circulation.
The krona (kr and SEK) has been the accepted currency in Sweden since 1873. The krona is often referred to as the “Swedish crown,” which also circulates in the Åland Islands. One krona equals 100 ore, which have been discontinued since September 30, 2010. Goods and services may still be priced in ore; however, all sums owed are rounded to the nearest krona when paying cash. There are several monetary units that cover the krona, including the Danish krone, Estonia, kroon, Faroese krona, Icelandic krona, Czech krona, Slovak krona, and the Czechoslovak koruna.
- Swarthmore College Computer Society: Swedish krona: A brief overview of the Swedish krona, the accepted currency in Sweden and in the Åland Islands.
- Investopedia: Swedish Krona (Crown): A brief overview of the Swedish krona, including the currency symbol’s meaning and historical connections.
- Bloomberg: Swedish Krona Rises to 2-1/2 Year High Against the U.S. Dollar: An article examining the Swedish krona’s performance against the U.S. dollar dated on April 20, 2011.
The Lira (L and lire) represents the monetary unit for a variety of countries. The Lira was previously used by Italy, Malta, San Marino, and the Vatican before the instatement of the euro in 1999. The term has origins in the Troy pound of high quality silver. The Troy pound was the Roman Empire’s basic monetary unit. Europe simply resumed the Roman Empire’s monetary system during the Carolinginan Empire, and was kept during the Middle Ages and Modern Age in England.
- College of the Holy Cross; The Case of the Lira to U.S. Dollar Exchange Rate (PDF): An extensive resource explaining the Lira to U.S. dollar exchange rate process.
- Turkish Travel Planner: Turkish Lira Exchange Rates: A one-stop resource for lira exchange rates and other traveling information centered on Turkey.
- Exchange Rates: British Pound (GBP) to Turkish Lira Exchange Rate History: A website tracking the GBP to Lira exchange rate history.
The mark is a measure of weight for gold and silver primarily used in western Europe. A mark is the equivalent of eight ounces, although variations in the accepted weight and associated value occurred throughout history. For instance, the mark never circulated as a coin in England; instead, it was attributed as a unit of account. The mark was introduced by the Danes in the 10th century, and became the equivalent of 100 pence by the turn of the 19th century. The German mark was a unit of account and coinage with a net worth of 16 shillings. The German mark has seen many variations; however, it has been the primary monetary currency since the early 1600s.
- Banknotes: German Mark Currency Photo Gallery: An image database covering the evolution of the German mark throughout history.
- Deutsch Bundesbank: Currency: FAQ: Deutsch Bundesbank addresses frequently asked questions about the German mark (DM banknotes).
- Gold Coin: The German Mark: A Gold Coin Steeped in History: A brief historical account of the gold German mark.
The peso originated in Spain and grew in importance internationally. The peso represents the monetary unit of several Spanish colonies. In fact, the peso’s started as an 8-piece, a large silver coin equivalent to the thaler in Europe during the mid-1500’s to early 1600’s. The countries currently using the peso include Argentina, Chile, Columbia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Philippines, and Uruguay. Other countries that have previously used the peso include Bolivia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, and Venezuela.
- Northern Illinois University: The Perky Peso: A brief description of the Philippine’s peso.
- Berkeley University: The Mexican Peso Crisis: An extensive resource covering the Mexican peso crisis in 1996 and its relation to NAFTA.
- Middle Tennessee State University: Why Did the Peso Collapse?: An analysis regarding the peso collapse relevant in 1995.
The pound is a monetary unit in some nations, including England where the value was deemed the same as a pound of silver. The English term ascribed to the pound means libra in Latin, which was the Roman Empire’s unit of account. The English pound derives from the Roman libra, which is why a pound has the initials “lbs” associated with it. The pound’s currency symbol resembles an L strike-through. In modern times, a pound may refer to numerous currencies currently in circulation, and now-obsolete currencies no longer accepted among nations.
- University of Michigan: Money and Denominations: An article covering different monetary denominations, including the British pound.
- Pennsylvania State University: GPD/USD Currency Exchange Rate Series (PDF): An essay covering the British pound to U.S. dollar exchange rate forecasts.
- The Financial Forecast Center: British Pound to U.S. Dollar Currency: A relative website projecting future forecasts relevant to the British pound to U.S. dollar currency exchange rate.
The ruble is a unit of currency of Belarus, Russia, South Ossetia, Transnistria, and Abkhazia. Other nations that influenced the Soviet Union also used the ruble in past times. One ruble equates to 100 kopeks, a term used to refer 1/100 part of a Ukrainian hryvnia. The term “ruble” means to cut, chop, or hack in Russian.
- George Washington University: Russian Currency: A brief overview of the Russian ruble and other forms of currencies related to it.
- University of Colorado: Case Study: Russian Ruble Crisis of 1998 (DOC): A document detailing the Russian ruble crisis of 1998.
- Yale University: Oil-Rich Russia Makes Ruble Convertible: An article describing Russia’s move to make the ruble convertible in 2006.
The rupee refers to the monetary unit used in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Mauritius, Indonesia, Maldives, and Seychelles. The rupee was also formerly used in Burma and Afghanistan. The variation of rupee in Maldives is called the rufiyah, a cognate word of Hindi rupiya. The Pakistani and Indian rupees are divided into one hundred paise, while the Mauritian and Sri Lankan rupee are subdivided into 100 cent. The Nepalese rupees are divided into one hundred paisas. The Afghan rupee was divided into sixty paisas.
- University of South Florida: Clipart: Indian Rupee: A still image of the Indian rupee.
- Rupees & India’s Currency Symbol: An article about India’s new currency symbol for the Rupee.
- Reserve Bank of India – The office website of the Reserve Bank of India, India’s Central Bank.
The yuan (¥ and CNY) is the monetary unit based in modern Chinese currencies. The yuan is the unit of account, while renminbi (RMB) is the physical currency. A yuan, otherwise known as a kual, has a subdivision of 10 jiao or mao, and one jiao is equal to 10 fen. The symbol for yuan (¥) also represents Japanese and Korean currencies. Additionally, the U.S. dollar is called the Meiyuan (??) or American dollar in Chinese. The Chinese yuan more commonly refers to the renminbi on the foreign exchange markets.
- San Jose University: The Exchange Rate of the Chinese Yuan for the U.S. Dollar: An article covering the basics behind the yuan to U.S. dollar exchange rate.
- Dixie State College of Utah: Revaluing the Chinese Yuan (PDF): A power-point presentation lecture notes regarding the revaluation of the Chinese yuan and the effects it would have on the foreign exchange market.
- Alamo College: Chinese Yuan: A brief overview of the Chinese yuan historical roots.
The Japanese yen is the official monetary unit of exchange in Japan. The yen is the third most-traded currency after the U.S. dollar and euro. It is used as a major competing reserve currency after the U.S. dollar, euro, and pound sterling. Large quantities of yen are counted in multiples of 10,000, which is the Western multiples equivalent of thousands.
- Business Area: Japan’s Currency, the Yen Declined Against the Dollar Immediately After 8.8-scale Earthquake: An article detailing the yen’s plunge after an 8.8-scale earthquake and destructive tsunami rock Japan.
- Currency Information.org: Japanese Yen: A brief overview of the Japanese yen.
- The Guardian: Yen Currency Intervention: Finance ministers and central bankers explain an intervention plan to prevent the yen from strengthening.
Other World Currencies
- Forex Online: List of World Currencies: A framed-table listing all of the world’s circulated currencies.
- The University of British Columbia: Currencies of the World: A list of world currencies assigned to each country with each corresponding symbol.
- Why Way to Pay (United Kingdom): World Currencies: A list of all the world currencies that link to in-depth information associated with each one.
- Jhall: World Currencies List by Country: A list of the world’s currencies with country and currency code and name.
- World Currency List: A website addressing the world’s currencies, including a comprehensive list, news alerts, and related links.
- World Atlas: Currencies of the World: A list of the world’s currencies, including the currency name and subdivision value.
- United States Treasury: Coins and Currency: U.S. Mint produces coins using engraving methods, which gets circulated into the monetary system as an acceptable medium of exchange.
- United States Secret Service: Know Your Money: The Secret Service gives pertinent advice regarding the identification of counterfeit money.
- New Money.gov: Redesigned Currency: A brief overview of the changing designs of the U.S. dollar.
- Federal Bureau of Investigation: Defendant Convicted of Minting His Own Currency: A currency counterfeiting case promptly addressed by the FBI.
- United States of America.gov: Currency and Economy: Key information pertaining to coins, currency exchange rates, U.S. bill changes, budget, and key economic indicators.
- Transportation Security Administration: Currency Reporting: Travelers information about currency stipulations while moving from place to place.