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The Complete Guide To Exchanging All Your Holiday Currency (Coins and Notes)

- Published on 25th January 2024

Are you the traveller who confidently counts the coins required to buy a drink or souvenir on holiday? Or perhaps you’re more inclined to hand a new note to the cashier and build up a store of (slightly intimidating) foreign coins?

Inevitably, for those who spend notes fast and build up a stash of coins, many of these coins will end up coming home – with or without a stack of notes to go with them.

You may wonder, can you exchange foreign coins back to British pounds in the UK – and where?

Can you do a currency exchange with coins?

There are plenty of options available to customers who want to change foreign notes back into British pounds – though some are significantly easier and more cost-efficient than others. 

But coins are a different story.

While British banks, post offices, and bureau de change desks offer a two-way exchange of many currencies, it’s important to note that most will not handle foreign coins

Many of these options are also limited in the range of currencies they accept, with the exchange rate often unfavourable.

Pile of foreign coins

The reason why these currency exchange options deal solely with notes lies in the process and the ease with which notes are handled in comparison to coins. Coins take longer to sort, count, and handle – and offer little return for the banks and businesses.

If you return home from holiday with leftover coins, the most convenient solution is to exchange your currency via Leftover Currency. 

We are an online platform that accepts both coins and notes and is built on a foundation of fair rates and an accessible service.

More on this later in the blog.

How do I donate foreign currency coins?

Before we discuss the process of foreign currency exchange and how to change coins and notes for the best rate, here are a couple of other things to note…

Suppose you’ve reached this page or our site searching for more information about charitable endeavours and donating foreign currency to charity. In that case, you might be interested to know that many local charity shops accept foreign coins specifically as a donation tool.

You can also donate foreign coins via some supermarket bureau de change outlets, most notably in Sainsbury’s (at the time of writing). These options allow you to transform your leftover coins into a good deed while shopping for food or browsing your favourite charity shop on the high street.

Alternatively, as well as offering currency exchange services for coins and notes, Leftover Currency’s online platform makes it easy to donate a percentage – or all – of your leftover holiday fund to a charity of your choice. 

Select one of the charities from our website to access this service and send us your currency as usual. Our team will sort, count, and donate the funds accordingly.

Where is the cheapest place to exchange old currency after a holiday?

Before we can share the cheapest place to exchange old currency after your holiday, it’s first important to note where the cost comes in from a customer perspective. After all, the money is already yours regardless of the currency it’s in – so where exactly does cost come into play?

When we talk about the cheapest or most expensive places to exchange foreign currency, we refer to the exchange rate. 

While bureau de change desks, post offices, and banks offer convenience to holidaymakers, the exchange rate is often unfavourable with low returns.  

Exchange Currency Area

This means that the cost is high for the customer, who will lose out on value when exchanging currency via one of these options.

Leftover Currency is regarded as one of the cheapest options available. We pride ourselves on staying ahead of the market and consistently offering competitive rates across all of our currencies. 

In addition to the financial benefits, we also accept over 170 different currencies and have partnered with over 100 charities, offering a well-rounded service whether you want to exchange cash for your own pocket or for a donation.

How to exchange leftover coins and notes in one go

different coins - What happens to your leftover currency.

If you return from your next holiday with both coins and notes that you want to exchange back into British pounds, the Leftover Currency online process couldn’t be easier to follow:

1.      Find your currency on our comprehensive list, along with information about the exchange rate.

2.      Add the banknotes and coins you have to your online wallet. Repeat for each currency you have. The wallet shows how much cash you will receive. When ready, click on ‘Cash in now’. Choose a payment method and confirm (don’t forget to make a note of the reference number).

3.      Send your currency by post to our office, quoting the reference number on a piece of paper.

We will send you a confirmation email and pay the exchange value via your selected payment method upon receipt. It really couldn’t be easier!

Want to learn more about our service? Don’t hesitate to get in touch!

If you come across a currency that isn’t listed on our website, let us know – we’re always looking to expand our list of available currencies! 


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.