The currency of the USA is the US Dollar, which is the world’s main reserve currency and is used in many other countries.
Using your card in the USA
When you withdraw cash from an ATM (cash machine), you will incur a small non-sterling transaction fee, which shouldn’t amount to any more than about 3% of the total transaction. You’ll find ATMs in all cities and towns in the country, although they may be few and far between in more remote areas. Fortunately, you can expect virtually all shops, restaurants, hotels, and other major services to accept card payments in the USA, although again these will also involve a small non-sterling transaction fee to convert US dollar into pounds
Other useful tips
Avoid exchanging your sterling at airports, as rates here will be much less competitive which means you won’t get the best US Dollar rate. If you do need extra dollars during your trip, it’s best to make larger withdrawals and fewer visits to the ATM to minimise transaction fees.
Avoid using traveller’s cheques, as many banks no longer cash these, although they are still accepted in the same way as credit cards. Bear in mind that there will be limits on the amount of dollars you can withdraw in any single transaction or day.
While many taxis in the USA accept card payments, this is not guaranteed, so always bring enough cash with you just in case.
Let your bank know you’ll be visiting the USA
To minimise the risk of your card payments being blocked, inform your bank that you will be travelling to the USA. Occasionally, banks may block card payments if they suspect any unusual activity, such as regular transactions in a country you’ve never visited before.
If you come home with US dollar to spare, it might be a good idea to hold on to them until your next trip to the USA or exchange them when sterling is weaker.