Skip to content


loading Loading

DID YOU KNOW… British Holidaymakers have £2.7 billion worth of unused foreign currency

- Published on 8th December 2023

euro and US dollar currency. exchanging leftover currency

What could YOU do with £2.7 billion?

An online currency conversion platform study found that every British household brings home around £78 in unused currency from each holiday – adding up to a colossal £2.7 billion in unused foreign currency in the UK alone.

Gathering your old foreign coins at home and exchanging them for pounds is a great idea. You may be surprised by how much they’re worth!

In this blog, we’re going to let you know not only how to get your leftover currency back but also how to convert it at the more favourable rates.

Old British Pounds Banknotes

What should I do with old unused foreign currency?

When you return to the UK after your holiday, it’s easy to see the airport exchange desk and think it’s the only option available. It can feel like the most convenient option for getting a few pounds back in your pocket.

The challenge that British holidaymakers face is that those outlets that offer currency conversion on the high street and in airports don’t make the exchange easy – and they certainly don’t offer good value.

Some will only convert specific currencies, while others offer low exchange rates, giving you very little bang for your buck. On top of that, the queues are often lengthy, and you may get to the front only to find that your conversion isn’t possible – meaning not only are the funds wasted, but so is your valuable time.

Only through online platforms like Leftover Currency can holidaymakers unlock the best exchange rates and the most convenient service.

Is it better to exchange foreign currency online or in person?

When you use Leftover Currency’s online platform, your unused foreign currency is converted back into pounds in a handful of easy steps.

1. Identify the currency that you have on our website.

2. Enter the amount you have in the online calculator (note that it is possible to change multiple currencies at once but add each currency to your wallet to ensure the most accurate quote. If you can’t sort the currency or struggle to identify some of the coins you find in your home, don’t worry, as Leftover Currency can sort it for you!)

3. Receive a quote letting you know how much your unused foreign currency is worth in pounds.

4. Send the cash to Leftover Currency and receive a direct transfer of the amount in pounds within 5 working days.

Alternatively, our website allows customers to transfer their leftover currency to a charitable cause. Select one of our many charity partners and direct the converted funds to them.

We add 5% on top of the exchange value as part of our commitment to supporting a great cause.

Compared to the high street bureau de change facilities and post office conversion counters, Leftover Currency’s online platform combines accessibility with a broad selection of currencies to convert.

Safe to say, we truly believe that online is better.

How do I identify the foreign currency lying around in my home?

One challenge many of our customers face is identifying the currency they find in their homes. After reading stats like the one we shared earlier, it can spark the hunt for those old foreign coins.

If you are one of those individuals with handfuls of foreign coins, some of which you recognise while others have you stumped, don’t worry. 

Leftover Currency’s online service allows you to send your currency unsorted and uncounted, promising a detailed receipt identifying the different currencies in your bag of goodies and their values for your records.

This free service is designed to make cash conversion straightforward and accessible to all customers.

 All you need to do is fill in an exchange form and leave the total amount in currencies blank, while still providing us with all your personal details and the payout information.

Old coins and banks notes - Unused foreign currency

How do I dispose of old coins in the UK?

Are you one of the 34.8 million British holidaymakers who bring leftover currency and unused foreign coins home with them?

If you’ve got old coins lying around the house, a few options are available to you. These include:

  • Keeping hold of the currency for future holidays / giving them to friends and family for future trips.
  • Converting cash at a physical location, such as at the post office or airport.
  • Accessing the best exchange rates via Leftover Currency’s online platform allows you to have the funds transferred to your account or donate the funds directly to a charity.
  • If you find coins which are no longer in circulation, your options are more limited with just one choice:
  • Sell them to Leftover Currency, which accepts old coins – keeping some in-house while the rest are sold to collectors.

We hope this blog helped answer your questions about cash conversion and the benefits of exchanging your foreign coins back into pounds.

If you want to learn more or have a currency that you can’t find listed on our website, we’d love to hear from you!


Mario Van Poppel

Mario Van Poppel is the founder and director of Leftover Currency. What started as a hobby, collecting world banknotes, evolved into a fulltime job, running a successful online bureau de change. Mario is still a collector of pre-Euro banknotes and a member of the IBNS.