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How do I cash in old foreign currency?

- Published on 29th November 2023

Mixed obsolete Old Turkish Lira banknotes

Going abroad offers new experiences, opportunities to meet new people and the chance to make lasting memories.

Of course, if you’re like us, it’s not just memories and photos you come home with. You might return from your trip with a pocket full of unused foreign currency.

While countries adopt modern payment systems, many places still rely on cash. Travellers, in turn, continue to carry cash and card when going abroad, and they often return with leftover foreign currency they want to exchange for British pounds.

What’s the best way to do that? Well, that’s where this blog – and the team at Leftover Currency – come in.

What’s the best way to change foreign currency into British pounds?

When considering how to convert your foreign currency back into pounds, several methods spring to mind – some more popular than others.

UK Bank Notes. 5, 10,20,50 Bank notes.

In short, these include:

  • Returning your foreign currency to the initial place you exchanged your British pounds.
  • Holding onto the foreign currency for future trips.
  • Donating unspent foreign cash to charity.

Let’s start with a simple high street exchange. 

Heading back to where you first purchased your currency is one of the most popular ports of call – whether it’s the local post office or a nearby Bureau de Change stand. 

Despite the undeniable convenience of these currency hotspots, the exchange rate is often low – while the queues and wait times are high. 

This means more time out of your day but less bang for your buck – a combination not popular among customers. However, if you visited a country with a niche currency, you may have had to exchange your British Pounds there – there isn’t an option to return to where you first purchased.

Now, online currency exchange is also available through a platform like Leftover Currency. Our service offers the best market rates and covers more than 170 currencies. Plus, you can donate or receive full payment for your leftover cash, making Leftover Currency’s service unrivalled.

But more on that in a moment…

Another common tactic is to hold onto foreign coins for future holidays. This is undoubtedly a great idea for frequent travellers – until you forget about them and find them years later when they are no longer in circulation.

 If this rings true for you, and you have a drawer full of notes and coins that are no longer in circulation, look out for our section on old currency later in this blog. 

Old foreign bank notes from Poland.

Another option to consider is donating your unused foreign coins to charity. Leftover Currency provides an online solution that invites users to exchange unused foreign coins back into pounds, with an option to donate their cash to one of our many charity partners through the platform.

 Keep reading to find out how Leftover Currency operates – and for answers to frequently asked questions that we receive from customers.

How does Leftover Currency work?

Leftover Currency operates a simple online platform, whereby customers search for the currency they wish to convert and add it to an online basket in the exact quantity they have. 

Multiple currencies can be added to one transaction, with Leftover Currency remaining ahead of market trends and always offering online leading exchange rates across all currencies.

The online basket displays the exchange value in pounds, inviting the customer to arrange a direct bank transfer or donate the total to one of the platform’s many charity partners.

With over 170 available currencies, a multitude of charities, and a service that is both reliable and friendly, Leftover Currency makes it easier than ever to turn unwanted foreign coins into tangible funds!

Need further convincing? Keep reading:

  • Payment of funds into your bank account within five working days of receiving your cash at our HQ.
  • Round-the-clock help and advice when you need it with our friendly team.
  • Access to an unrivalled (and ever-growing) list of accepted currencies.

Sounds good, right?

Can I exchange old foreign currency that’s no longer used?

When a currency is no longer used, we recognise it as a currency that is no longer in circulation. Think about the French francs that were once the currency used in France until the euro became widely recognised across Europe as the go-to currency.

Old foreign banks notes. Out of circulation old French Francs.

Many conversion locations (airports, post offices and retail counters) do not accept currency that is no longer in circulation.

Leftover Currency, however, accepts and welcomes old foreign coins – exchanging this cash against its numismatic value, bullion value, or scrap metal value, whichever is higher. 

What’s the catch?

Good question – but honestly, there isn’t one! Here at Leftover Currency, we are big fans of travel and consider our service a gateway to allow people to travel around the world without the fear of losing any funds that they don’t spend.

With travel both more accessible and more expensive than it ever has been, knowing how much cash you need can be difficult. This especially rings true when travelling to locations where you don’t know how accessible card machines and ATMs will be. 

Leftover Currency ensures that any foreign currency you return home with can be quickly and easily converted. We maintain an excellent service with the best exchange rates and are committed to depositing the funds into your bank account within five days of receipt.

For those who choose to use our charity donation option instead, anything you send is matched by an additional 5% donation from Leftover Currency as our way of thanking you.

Founded in 2012, we have helped over 50,000 customers globally to turn unwanted piles of foreign cash into tangible money that they can spend on everything from monthly bills to saving for their next holiday. 

So, consider this the sign you’ve been looking for to finally sort that drawer full of mixed foreign coins! 

If you have – or are aware of – a currency we don’t currently advertise on our website, let us know! We are always looking to expand our list of accepted currencies to deliver the best possible service to our customers. You can contact us directly at our Regent Street HQ or by email. 


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.