Around the world, different forms of currency are used as a basis for commerce. Currencies can vary by region and by country. Some currencies, like the United States currency, are recognized across the globe and can be used to trade for other currencies and are a basis for international business. Other smaller currencies like the Zimbabwean dollar have little usability outside their country. The top currencies in the world are used as a store of value and are used for international commerce.

United States

Arguably the most influential and widely used currency in the world is the United States dollar. It is used as an unofficial currency in countries like Vietnam and Nicaragua where routine transactions are conducted in a combination of United States dollars and the local currencies. The United States dollar is based on the decimal system where 100 cents equates to $1. Currency is available in multiple denominations in both paper and metal coins.


One of the fastest growing economies in the world is China. With the rapid growth of infrastructure, production capacity and the sheer size of the workforce, China’s currency is growing in importance on the international scene. The People’s Republic of China used the Renminbi, commonly known as RMB, for its currency. Even though Hong Kong is under Chinese rule, the island has a different currency called the Hong Kong dollar that has a different value. Renminbi currency is available in paper and coins in multiple denominations.


According to a survey conducted by the Bank for International Settlements, the fourth most commonly exchanged currency is the British pound. Officially known as the pound sterling, the currency of the United Kingdom is based on the decimal system with 100 pence equaling one pound. The pound is available in multiple denominations for both bank notes and coins.

European Union

Sixteen countries in the European Union now used the Euro as their common currency. Introduced in 1999 as part of the ongoing European Union consolidation efforts, the Euro has become the second, most commonly exchanged currency in the world. The Euro is the official currency for Austria, Cyprus, Belgium, Germany, France, Finland, Italy, Greece, Ireland, Malta, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Spain, Slovenia, Portugal and Slovakia. The Euro is unofficially used in other European countries. Offered in multiple denominations, paper Euros are standardized, with coins featuring nationalistic symbols.


The Japanese Yen is the third most commonly traded currency in the world. Along with the United States dollar, the British pound and the Euro, the Japanese Yen is used as a reserve currency by many governments around the world and is used in international transaction markets like oil exchanges. The Yen is offered in multiple denominations of paper and metal coins.

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