The official currency of the United Kingdom is the pound sterling, known as the pound (£, GBP). Each pound is divided into 100 pennies (100p = £1).
The most common banknotes are £5, £10, £20, £50 and £100. It is also possible to find £1 notes, but these are extremely rare, since they are printed in Scotland.
The coins in circulation are 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p, 50p and £1 and £2. Sometimes, special editions of £5 coins are released, but their circulation is merely theoretical.
Here are some of examples of the pound banknotes:
The best way to save on commissions is to pay with your bank card. When paying by card, the exchange rate is current and the maximum fee, depending on the issuer of the card; it is usually 1%.
The use of a bank card is as prominent as in New York and other American cities. You can pay for the London Tube (London’s subway – metro) with your card or even purchase a chocolate bar with your bank card. Consequently, it isn’t essential to carry a lot of cash in London.
The easiest option is to withdraw pounds directly from any ATM in London. This is also the cheapest option, since it has a lower exchange rate. However, it is important to keep in mind that cash machine transactions abroad have several fees and your bank might charge you up to $5 each time you use a foreign ATM, so it is always a good idea to take out a substantial amount instead of having to go several times to an ATM and being charged a fee every time you take cash out.
If you prefer to exchange pounds from your local currency, you can do so in banks, post offices or in any bureau de change.