What is the old British monetary system
British currency: all about money in the UK
- Find out the essentials about coins and more in the UK.
- The British currency is pound sterling (£ / GBP).
- There are 100 pennies, also called pence, per pound.
A pound (£) is 100 pence (p). The following bills are available: £ 5, £ 10, £ 20 and £ 50. The coins are as follows: 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p, 50p, £ 1 and £ 2.
Exchange money in London
There are countless exchange offices in London, often in banks, travel agencies or Post offices, as well as in the London airports and in the larger train stations.
It's worth looking for the best deals - compare exchange rates on offer and ask about processing fees as well. Find out the total pound you get after all fees have been deducted.
Credit cards and contactless payments in London
Credit cards, especially Visa and Mastercard, are accepted in most London restaurants, bars, cafes and shops. American Express and Diners Club are less common.
Contactless cards are used almost everywhere and many stores accept this form of payment up to £ 45 per transaction. Travelers can use contactless cards instead of an Oyster card for public transport in London.
All American Express contactless cards can be used for travel within London, however some non-UK Visa and Mastercard cards may be accepted - check with your card issuer. Google Pay and Apple Pay are accepted.
Contactless payments may include a transaction fee abroad and this varies by card and bank, so it is better to check with your card issuer before using your contactless card.
ATMs in London
There are ATMs (also known as cashpoints or ATMs) everywhere in London. Most accept international cards with Visa, Plus, Mastercard, Cirrus or Maestro symbols. Other systems can be used to withdraw money, but check with your bank before you travel.
Unless you have a UK account, you will almost always be charged a fee when you withdraw funds. Please also find out more from your bank here before you start your journey.
ATMs are also often set up in some smaller shops and supermarkets. Inquire about the fees, because here a fee is usually charged for each transaction. You can also top up your mobile phone credit at many ATMs.
Tip in London
Typically, a tip of 10 to 15% is given in London restaurants for good service, but this is not mandatory. Your bill may include a voluntary service charge. Check your bill so you don't tip twice.
Tips are not expected in pubs. Upscale bars will probably give you your change back on a tip tray. You can then leave that for the bartender if you wish.
Tipping to taxi drivers is polite but not compulsory. Most people round up the fare to the nearest pound and tell the driver "keep the change".
London hotels often add a service charge to the bill. You can leave a tip for the cleaning staff in your hotel room on your departure. Tips for other hotel staff, such as receptionists, are at their own discretion and are usually given to the porters.
Money names: speak like a Londoner
During your visit you will surely hear the British speaking of "pi" instead of pence, for example with the 50p (50 pi). In colloquial language the pound is called "quid". A five pound bill is a "fiver" and a ten-pound bill is a "tenner".
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