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Difficulty in exchanging older American currency

cr4909

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My in-laws (who live in Malaysia) have a family friend who embarked on a European trip. Apparently she had some American currency that had the older design (i.e, not the newly redesigned $5,$10,$20 with the extra colors, etc.). According to her, she could not exchange the older design bills in Europe, nor back in Malaysia. Unfortunately, I don't have much more information than that. Apparently, no money changer would accept the older bills and told her that she would need to exchange it in U.S.

Has anyone experienced this? I can't imagine why an older bill (mabye 5 years old) wouldn't be accepted, as it is legal tender. Personally, I find this very hard to believe.
 

Carolinian

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I have not had that problem anywhere in eastern Europe in the last few years, and they tend to be pickier than western Europe. They even now seem to be more tolerant of a small tear, writing, or smudge on the face of a bill, which used to get them rejected. I remember one time ten years or so ago that I went all over Vilnius to finally be able to change a $100 bill with a tiny ink mark.
 

short

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Trouble in China last year.

We had some trouble in China last year(March of 2007) with exchanging larger bills such as $20, $50, $100. Apparently forgery is rampent in China of both foreign bills and Yuan. Our tour guide said some folks on the last tour before ours exchanged money at one of the hotels and received forged Yuan in exchange so they are very gunshy.

All street vendors accepted small bills like $1 and $5 but balked at larger bills.

Short
 

GetawaysRus

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I also visited China recently. Although I did not experience this myself, several people told me that banks did not want to accept US currency that had small tears (rips) in the bill or was very wrinkled. Apparently Chinese banks would only accept US currency that was crisp and not too worn.
 

travelnut

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Same experience in Russia many years ago. Small, unstable countries and others with political turmoil or inflation re-issue their currency periodically and then their old currency is no longer accepted. So they are rightfully suspicious of all the different US bills and find it hard to believe that this is not the case in the US.

At that time, Russia did not have credit cards or ATMs. I suspect that that may still be true.
 

Carolinian

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The counterfeit problem can happen anywhere. When I was in Dublin, Ireland some years ago, there were high quality counterfeits of US 20-50-100 bills out and no exchange house or bank would take any of those denominations. I ended up using plastic where I could and exchanging some of my left over UK pounds that I would rather have kept.

In eastern Europe, even the smaller exchange houses now mostly have high tech machines to detect phonies, so the condition of bills is no longer a big problem as it once was.
 

cdn_traveler

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hard time with Canadian currency too

We also had a hard time exchanging our Canadian currency in China a few years ago. We were only trying to exchange a few $100 Canadian bills but it definitely was a memorable experience.

The teller first scrutinized every detail on the bills with a magnifying glass, then she called a supervisor over. He also inspected the bills thoroughly. When he was finally satisfied, he got on the phone with someone in the back office. This uber level manager finally approved our transaction, but we still had to present our passports to finalize the deal. It took over 45 minutes! Boy, we were really worried because we were starting to think that maybe there really was something wrong with the bills that we had given them.:eek:

After that experience, we decided that even with all the fees involved, it was worth it to just withdraw money from the ATM machines with our debit cards.
 
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