Foreign Exchange Guide to the United States
In this guide we review :
- United States dollar info - general info about the United States dollar
- United States dollar in the markets - recent USD moves and predictions from the FX markets
- Travelling in the United States - currency & money saving tips
- Buying United States dollar cash online - travel money for the United States
- Sending money to the United States - save on United States dollar bank transfers to the United States
- United States dollar exchange rates - latest info & charts.
United States dollar (USD) general currency information
The three letter currency code for the United States dollar is USD and the symbol is $. It is the domestic currency in United States, East Timor, Ecuador, El Salvador, British Virgin Islands, US Virgin Islands, Caribbean Netherlands, Turks And Caicos Islands and Zimbabwe.
Other nations besides the United States use the U.S. dollar as their official currency. For instance, Panama has been using the dollar alongside the Panamanian balboa as the legal tender at a conversion rate of 1:1. Ecuador, El Salvador, and East Timor all adopted the currency independently. The former members of the U.S.-administered Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, which included Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Marshall Islands, chose not to issue their own currency after becoming independent, having all used the U.S. dollar since 1944. Two British dependencies also use the U.S. dollar: the British Virgin Islands and Turks and Caicos Islands. The islands Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba, now collectively known as the Caribbean Netherlands, adopted the dollar on January 1, 2011, as a result of the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles. The U.S. dollar is the official currency for governmental transactions in Zimbabwe.
United States dollar (USD) in the markets
Chief among FX themes in 2017 was the dramatic weakness of the US dollar. Unfortunately for those holding US currency, 2018 has started in much the same way that 2017 ended.
In 2017, the US Dollar Index (DXY) recorded its worst annual performance since 2003, with a decline of nearly 10%. In the first seven weeks of 2018, the index managed to give up a further 4%. A DXY price of 88.62 on February 15th (the time of this report) took the dollar’s value back to 2014 levels. Of special note in early 2018 is USD/JPY, which fell nearly 6% by mid-February.
Importantly, the dollar’s trajectory has recently decoupled from that of US interest rates. Despite US yields climbing steadily in 2018, the dollar has sunk. Explanations for this came in February from Crédit Agricole, whose analyst said that dollar traders “remained uninspired by US economic prospects” and likely held the belief that higher interest rates would bring forward the end of the US’ current expansionary cycle; and from Standard Chartered, whose analyst said that traders were choosing to focus on the US’ ever-widening twin deficits, which were now “pretty nasty.”
“It’s easy to see the weak-dollar story persisting,” said ING in February. The bank has forecast a 15% rise in EUR/USD in 2018, to 1.3.
Entering the new year, analysts had been bearish the dollar. In December, a Societe Generale analyst said that the currency “looked expensive” given the more balanced outlook for global growth, and TD Securities said that the macro landscape favoured a “steady depreciation of the dollar in 2018.”
The chart below shows the USD to EUR exchange rate for the previous 3 months with rate alerts for days when the exchange rate moved up or down significantly or for 30 day highs and lows.
Currency and money saving tips for United States
Most cities and larger towns have dependable local bus systems, though they are often designed for commuters and provide limited service in the evening and on weekends. Getting around between cities via bus or train can often be not must cheaper than getting a cheap flight, so it's something to consider depending on your travel taste and how much time you want to save travelling.
Don't just stick to the cities, National Parks in the USA are some of the best things about the US. Stunning landscapes, Ranger guided tours and facilities and consistently excellent, while the information handed out for free is amazing. And you you don't need to be a hardcore hiker to explore rugged, remote parks. The policy of putting in drive-up viewpoints and easy, flat paths makes the parks remarkably easy to travel round, even if you've limited mobility. Eating out is relatively cheap and you may find that one meal could easily feed two. When tipping for food 15%-20% of the cost of the meal is expected as it is considered part of a waiter's wage.
United States Trip Checklist
Travel money for the United States
Save money and time by Ordering your United States dollar online from Travelex, you get better rates and can pick up the USD cash locally or even on travel day at the airport.
Another popular option is to use a Pre-paid Travel Card. Your Debit/Credit Card provider will charge you 2% from market mid-rate, but your bank may also charge an extra 3% as an “Overseas Transaction Charge” plus “Overseas ATM” fees for withdrawing cash.
For card purchases if offered a choice of currencies always select to Pay in United States dollar otherwise you may get much worst exchange rates.
Travel Money for the United States
Sending money to the United States
When sending money to the United States it’s important to compare your bank’s rates & fees with those we have negotiated with our partner money transfer providers. To get a better deal you should follow these 3 simple steps :
- Open an account with a BER reviewed FX provider (id docs may be required)
- You specify the local or United States dollar amount you want to transfer
- Make a local currency domestic transfer for the requested amount to the provider's bank account in your country
- Once your funds are received by the provider the converted USD amount will be transfered to the recipient account you specify in the United States.
Bank Transfers to the United States
By comparing the rates of FX specialist providers rates versus your bank's standard rates you can hopefully save around 5% and maybe more - end result is more United States dollar deposited into the recipient bank account in the United States and less margins and fees kept by the banks!