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A bureau de change is an organisation or facility which allows customers to exchange one currency for another. Although French in origin, the term is widely used throughout Europe, so that visitors can easily identify such facilities when abroad. It is also common to find a sign saying "Exchange".
Bureaux de change are often located inside banks or travel agents, as well as in international airports, train stations, etc. They make profit, and compete, by manipulating two variables: the exchange rate they use to calculate transactions, and an explicit commission for their service.
The exchange rates charged at public bureaux are generally related to the rates available to the banks themselves, adjusted to make a profit. A bureau will often display a board listing separate "We buy" and "We sell" rates for each currency they deal in; this allows them to "sell" a currency (e.g. a UK bureau converting sterling to euros) at a lower rate than they "buy" it (e.g. converting the euros back to sterling).
As an example, if the internationally traded rate on a particular day was 1.50 euros per pound, making £100 worth €150; a bureau de change might "sell" euros at a rate of 1.40 (so that £100 gets the customer only €140) and "buy" at 1.60 (so that it takes €160 to get £100); the difference makes the profit for the bureau. Their round-turn profit on these trades would be €160 - €140 = €20, or 13.33%.
Commission is generally charged as a percentage of the amount to be exchanged,
subject to a minimum fee for small transactions. Some bureaux advertise
themselves as commission-free, and then make up the lost profit through
the exchange rates they offer. As an additional complexity, some bureaux
offer special deals on either commission or exchange for customers returning
from holiday with leftover foreign currency bought at that bureau. Bureaux
de change sometimes buy or sell coins of foreign currencies at a higher
profit margin, due to the higher cost of storage and shipping compared
In general, changing money at a bureau de change before travelling is more expensive than withdrawing it using a foreign cash dispenser (through a system such as Cirrus Network) or paying directly with a debit or credit card, although this varies depending on the bank/card issuer, and the type of account held.
In 2002 many bureaux de change reported substantial reductions in profit
due to the replacement of many European currencies with the Euro.
The U.S. dollar is the currency most used in international transactions.
Several countries use it as their official currency, and in many others
it is the de facto currency.[2
The inclusion of "In God We Trust" on all currency was required by law in 1955. The national motto first appeared on paper money in 1957.
An individual dollar bill is also less formally known as a one or a single.
The Bureau of Engraving and Printing says the average life of a $1 bill in circulation is 21 months before it is replaced due to wear. Approximately 45% of all U.S. currency produced today are one-dollar bills. All $1 bills produced today are Federal Reserve Notes. One-dollar bills are delivered by Federal Reserve Banks in blue straps.
Small size notes
(6.14 × 2.61 × 0.0043 in = 155.956 × 66.294 mm × 0.10922 mm)
In 1929, all currency was changed to its current size. Initially, the one-dollar bill was issued as Silver Certificate only under Series of 1928. The treasury seal and serial numbers on it were dark blue. The obverse was nearly identical to the Series of 1923 $1 Silver Certificate, but the treasury seal featured spikes around it and a large gray ONE to the left replaced the blue "1 DOLLAR". The reverse, too, had the same border design as the Series of 1923 $1 bill, but the center featured a large ornate ONE superimposed by ONE DOLLAR. These $1 Silver Certificates were issued until 1934.
In 1933, $1 United States Notes were issued to supplement the supply of $1 Silver Certificates. Its treasury seal and serial numbers were red. However, a month after their production, it was realized that there would be no real need for these notes and production was stopped. A small number of these $1 bills entered circulation and the rest were kept in treasury vaults until 1949 when they were issued in Puerto Rico.
In 1934, the design of the $1 Silver Certificate was changed to reflect the Silver Purchase Act of 1934. Under Washington's portrait, ONE SILVER DOLLAR was changed to ONE DOLLAR because Silver Certificates could be redeemed for silver bullion. The treasury seal was moved to the right and superimposed over ONE, and a blue numeral 1 was added to the left. The reverse remained the same.
A year later, in 1935, the design of the one-dollar bill was changed again.
On the obverse, the blue numeral 1 was changed to gray and made smaller,
the gray ONE to the left was removed, the treasury seal was made smaller
and superimposed by WASHINGTON D.C., and a stylized ONE DOLLAR was added
over the treasury seal. The reverse was also changed to its current design,
except for the absence of IN GOD WE TRUST.
World War II brought about special issues of one-dollar bills in 1942. Special $1 Silver Certificates were issued for Hawaii in case of a Japanese invasion. HAWAII was printed vertically on the left and right side of the obverse and also horizontally across the reverse. The seal and serial numbers were changed to brown. Special Silver Certificates were also issued as payment for Allied troops in North Africa about to begin their assault into Europe. The only difference on these one-dollar bills was a yellow instead of blue seal. Both of these types of notes could be declared worthless if they fell into enemy hands.
The next change came in 1957 when the $1 bill became the first piece of U.S. currency to bear the motto IN GOD WE TRUST; it was added over the word ONE on the reverse. Initially the BEP began printing the motto on notes which were printed with the new 32 note press, but soon Series of 1935G bills printed on a 16 note press featured the motto.
The final production of $1 Silver Certificates occurred in late 1963. In 1964 the redemption of Silver Certificates for silver coin ended and in 1968 the redemption of Silver Certificates for silver bullion ended.
Production of one-dollar Federal Reserve Notes was undertaken in late 1963 to replace the soon-to-be obsolete $1 Silver Certificate. The design on the reverse remained the same, but the border design on the obverse was completely redesigned and the serial numbers and treasury seal were printed in green ink. This was the first time the one-dollar bill was printed as a Federal Reserve Note.
In 1969 the $1 bill began using the new treasury seal with wording in English instead of Latin. Excluding the signatures and series date, the design of the one-dollar bill has remained the same ever since then.
Though bill denominations of $5 and higher have been redesigned twice since 1995 as part of ongoing anti-counterfeiting efforts, there are currently no plans to redesign the $1 bill.