News report | | 18-03-2021 | ±4 minutes reading time

The US dollar is the worldʼs most important reserve currency and also the official means of payment in many other countries. This article tells you about the countries that pay with the US dollar, the available denominations and the exchange rate. You will also receive useful tips on how to avoid spending unnecessary money. The ESTA visa can be paid for in pounds or euros.

The Dollar

The currency of the United States is the US dollar. In addition to the USA, there are several other countries and territories whose currency is the US dollar. The dollar is the legal tender in Ecuador, El Salvador, Zimbabwe, a number of islands belonging to the United Kingdom and a number of countries in Oceania. On the Dutch islands of Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius, payment is also made with this currency. To avoid confusion and to distinguish it from other currencies which are expressed in dollars, it is specifically called the US dollar. The dollar is also used, for example, in Canada (Canadian dollar), Australia (Australian dollar) and New Zealand (New Zealand dollar). These are different currencies, each with their own value.

Costs for the ESTA visa

For a holiday, business trip or transfer in the United States of America, you always need an ESTA or visa. An ESTA is an electronic travel authorisation that must be applied for before departure. Travellers who do not have a valid travel authorisation will not be allowed to board the aircraft. Minors must also have their own ESTA or an American visa. During check-in, your passport number will be checked to see whether you have a valid ESTA.

On this site, you can apply for an ESTA for € 39,95 per person. This is the total price, which includes service fees, consular fees and VAT. The ESTA cost can be paid securely and without transaction fees using trusted payment methods (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, PayPal). Payment is made in pounds or euros, so you will not be affected by exchange rate differences.

Exchanging money

There are currency exchange offices and banks all over the USA, and they all accept pounds and euros. In March 2021, £1,00 was worth around $1,20. The penny ($0,01), nickel ($0,05), dime ($0,10), quarter ($0,25), half dollar ($0,50) and dollar ($1,00) are the valid coinages. Notes can have a value of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 dollars. The 50 cent and 1 dollar coins, as well as the 2 dollar note, are hardly used in payments any more. The amount you can get for your money depends on the exchange rate. Before travelling to the United States, check what the current exchange rate is.

Checking the exchange rate is also useful if you want to know how much money you will need. On average, a beer will cost you $4, dinner will cost you between $18 and $36 and entrance fees per visit will cost you between $10 and $20. The same applies to prices displayed in shops and restaurants.

Withdrawing money

Withdrawing money in the USA is by far the cheapest using a debit card. Many European banks block the use of payment cards outside Europe for security reasons. Your bank can activate payment outside Europe at your request. Contact your bank before departure to activate the use of your payment card outside Europe. You can then use your card to withdraw cash anywhere in the United States, usually with a maximum of £500 per day. A transaction fee is charged for each transaction. It is therefore better to withdraw a larger amount once, instead of a small amount several times.

Like in the UK, credit cards are widely used in the USA and are therefore accepted everywhere. For some services in the USA, only credit card payments are accepted. In addition, the limit of a credit card is higher than that of a debit card. European travellers who do not have a credit card might want to consider applying for one at their bank. Most banks offer this as an extra option when setting up payment accounts. One of the advantages of paying with a debit or credit card is that it is much safer, as you do not have to carry around too much cash. If you lose your debit or credit card, contact your bank immediately to have it blocked.


When visiting a restaurant in America, allow for an average tip of 15 to 20%. Tipping is there to compensate for the low wages. Tipping can always be paid for with your debit or credit card, but it is still useful to have a few dollars in your pocket. That way, you can easily pay the smaller tips of $1, for example to a taxi driver after a short taxi ride, or to the bellhop after the meal.

Take note: this news article about the ESTA for the USA is more than one year old. It might contain outdated information and advice, and no rights can therefore be derived from this article. Are you going on a trip soon and do you wish to do know what rules currently apply? Read all about the up-to-date information about the ESTA for the USA.