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USD - US Dollar

US Dollar Converters

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Currency Facts

ISO 4217 Code USD Symbol $, US $
Country United States of America Region Northern America
Central Bank Federal Reserve System Website of the Central Bank
Sub Unit 1 USD = 100 cents Minor Units
  • 1/10 Dime
  • 1/100 Cent
  • 1/1000 Mill
Inflation 2.13% (May 2014) Source of Inflation
Printer of the USD Banknotes Bureau of Engraving and Printing Producer of USD Coins (Mint) United States Mint


The official currency used in the United States of America is the United States Dollar, with its characteristic symbol $.

Subdivision of USD

The U.S. dollar is divided into 100 smaller units called cents or pennies, although a further division of 1,000 mills to a dollar still exists. This division is usually used for tax purposes and cannot be encountered in everyday transactions.

  • 1 US Dollar = 100 cents
  • 1 US Dollar = 1000 mills

Countries using USD

Countries that have declared their independence from the U.S. administration, such as Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia and the Marshall Islands, chose to keep the dollar as their official currency. Bermuda Islands and Panama, along with several other states, allow their citizens to exchange local currency for the U.S. dollar at a ratio of 1:1. Independent countries, Ecuador, El Salvador and East Timor, have all officially declared the U.S. dollar as their official currency. U.S. territories American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Island, also use the U.S. dollar as their official currency.

The 11 offical US Dollar users:

  • United States
  • East Timor
  • Ecuador
  • El Salvador
  • Panama
  • American Samoa
  • Guam
  • Northern Marina Island
  • Puerto Rico
  • U.S. Virgin Islands
  • United States Minor Outlying Islands

Global Exchange of U.S. Dollar

U.S. Dollar the most dominant currency in the entire world, being used not only as the official currency in the USA, but also in several other countries, as well as a currency used in most international transactions. Furthermore, the U.S. dollar is the most widespread reserve currency.

The Use of Dollar outside the US

Most of the US Dollar notes are located outside the United States of America. There are several factors contributing to this state.

  • The fact that the U.S. dollar is adopted as a standard currency in the commodity markets (mostly for gold and oil),
  • Being the most widespread federal reserve currency, significantly increases the number of dollar notes in circulation.
  • A considerable number of countries have adopted the U.S. dollar as their official currency.

History and Introduction of the U.S. Dollar

Year Event
1785 The roots of the US dollar can be traced back to 1785, when it was first adopted as the official currency of the United States.
1792 It was followed by the Coinage Act of 1792, responsible for setting up the federal monetary system, which also established the denominations for coins through their value in gold, silver and copper.
1861 The first $10 Demand bills were printed in 1861, and featured American President Abraham Lincoln, and were commonly known as “greenbacks”, due to their unique color.
1806 The bimetallic standard, used for expression of value in terms of silver and gold, was used by the US for years, right up until 1806, when silver coins were suspended from circulation entirely. This opened up the opportunity for the adoption of the gold standard, which basically meant that any printed money had its equivalent in gold. The model accepted by the majority of the countries was the Bretton Woods system, which was an exchange system that set up the rates of exchange in terms of gold. Seeing as most of the world’s gold was located in the US, most of the countries just tied the value of their currency to the US dollar, which effectively turned it into the de facto currency of the world.

U.S. Dollar Banknotes and Coins

The U.S. dollar currently circulates in two different forms: paper and coin. Denominations that are equal in value or lesser than a dollar are issued as U.S. coins, while denominations that are equal in value or greater than a dollar are issued as Federal Reserve Notes. Even though one-dollar coin denominations are still in circulation, the printed form is the more dominant one.

Current denominations of coins are:

  • $0.01
  • $0.05
  • $0.10
  • $0.25
  • $0.50
  • $1

Current denominations of paper notes are:

  • $1
  • $2
  • $5
  • $10
  • $20
  • $50
  • $100

Material used to manufacture U.S. Dollar banknotes

Unlike most printed money, which is made from wood fiber, USD paper notes are produced using cotton fibers.

Material used to manufacture U.S. Dollar coins

These coins are made from a variety of metals which include:

  • copper
  • nickel
  • zinc


All U.S. Dollar Banknotes are of the same in size. USD bills measure a width of 155.956 mm and a height of 66.294 mm.

The U.S Dollar coins vary in sizes. The diameter reach from 0.75 inches to 1.043 inches.

Coin Denomination Diameter
Cent 0.750 in - 19.05 mm
Nickel 0.835 in - 21.21 mm
Dime 0.705 in - 17.91 mm
Quarter Dollar 0.955 in - 24.26 mm
Half Dollar 1.205 in - 30.61 mm
$1 1.043 in - 26.49 mm

Design of U.S. Dollar banknotes

The design for the face and back of every banknote, with the exception of the back of $1 and $2 dollar bills, was established and accepted in 1928. The U.S. dollar is well known for using portraits of American presidents for the face of the bill.

Bank note Front side Back side
$1 George Washington Great Seal of the United States
$2 Thomas Jefferson Sign of the Declaration of Independence
$5 Abraham Lincoln Lincoln Memorial
$10 Alexander Hamilton The Treasury Building
$20 Andrew Jackson The White House
$50 Ulysses Grant The Capitol
$100 Benjamin Franklin The Independence Hall

Notes larger than $100

Notes like $500, $1,000, $5,000, and $10,000 denominations have been out of circulation since 1969, since they were rarely used in financial transactions. However, these notes are still legal tender, and can be found among the collectors

Design of U.S. Dollar coins

There are several editions of every coin. As the reverse side of the coin changed with almost every edition, the obverese stayed the same.

Coin Front side
1¢ - $0.01 Abraham Lincoln
5¢ - $0.05 Thomas Jefferson
10¢ - $0.10 Franklin D. Roosevelt
25¢ - $0.25 George Washington
50¢ - $0.50 John F. Kennedy
$1 Each decesed president

Printing and Minting

Curiously enough two separate bodies issue coins and paper money.


The Bureau of Engraving and Printing is in charge of printing the banknotes since 1914.


The 'United States Mint' is tasked with the production of the coins.

Central Bank

The central bank which is in charge of the U.S. Dollars is called Federal Reserve System.


The U.S. dollars are colloquially referred to as bucks, smackers, bones, scrilla, paper, dough, dead presidents, Washingtons, Jeffersons, Benjamins and so on (depending on the denomination), while smaller denominations are referred to as pennies (¢1), nickels (¢5), dimes (¢10) and quarters (¢25).