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Discover Scotland - Currency Rates

Current Exchange Rate (USD to Pounds)

  • Please inform your bank of your trip before you leave.  This way your bank debit card will work properly and your bank will not flag Scotish expenditures as suspicious.

  • The currency used in Scotland is the British Pound, the same currency used throughout the United Kingdom.  One British pound is made up of 100 pence. There are coins with 1, 2, 5, 1, 20, and 50 pence denominations as well as 1 pound and 2 pound coins. Notes are available in 5, 10, 20, and 50 pound denominations, and each one has its own distinct color. All British currency features an image of the King's head on one side. The other side typically shows a notable historic figure, landmark, or national symbol.  British slang has many different names for various elements of the currency. You will almost always hear pence referred to as "pee", while 5 and 10 pound notes are often called fivers and tenners. In many areas of the UK, a 1-pound coin is called a "quid." It's thought that this term originally stemmed from the Latin phrase "quid pro quo," used to refer to the exchange of one thing for another.  

 

  • While Scotland uses pound sterling, their bank notes are different from those issued in England. Confusingly, Scottish bank notes are not afforded official legal tender status in England, but can legally be used in any British country.  Most shopkeepers will accept them without complaint, but they are not legally obligated to do so and can refuse your Scottish notes.

 

  • If you have any problems, most banks will exchange Scottish notes for English ones free of charge. Standard English bank notes are almost always accepted throughout the U.K. 

 

  • Many visitors make the mistake of thinking that the euro is widely accepted as an alternative currency in the U.K. While shops at some major train stations or airports do accept euros, most other places do not. The exception is iconic department stores like Harrods, Selfridges, and Marks & Spencer, which have historically accepted euros but give change in pound sterling. 

  • Exchange rates can be found in your local paper and financial website.  In addition, you can download an exchange app on your cell phone.

 

  • You won't need to convert much currency. It is fine to pay for larger purchases, as well as things like meals in restaurants, in Scotland using your credit card. The exchange is calculated for you, and at a favorable rate.

 

  • It is a good idea to have at least enough British cash with you for a cab ride or phone call – just in case, but convert a minimum in the US, at an airport or at your Scottish hotel.  The rates there are not particularly good. You’ll do better at a bank, especially one in Europe.

  • The easiest way to get local currency is by using your ATM card at a bank machine that shows an international logo.

 

  • On your return trip, remember to convert any extra pounds to dollars before you go. 

 

  • Keeping track of currency, especially coins, when in a foreign country can be a little tricky. Have a good look at the different denominations and learn the difference.

 

  • Before shopping, see how much you have in coins to speed up transactions and avoid accumulating lots of coins. Also, try to have a few smaller notes for the less expensive items.

 

  • Use the hotel safe.

 

  • In Scotland, banks are usually open Monday through Friday (9:30am-5pm) and are closed on public holidays. ATMs are available in many places, but check with your US bank to make sure they are part of a European ATM network.

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