Euro coins

Does anyone know if the currency exchange places at the airport will allow me to trade euro coins for paper euros? We are headed to Germany soon and I have 10+Euros all in coins and would love to have paper money instead. Is there a fee for doing this?

Posted by Harold
New York, NY, USA
2826 posts

Assuming you mean a US airport, they usually will not accept foreign coins. If you mean an airport in the Eurozone, they will. 10 Euros in coins is hardly a lot, and Euro coins come in very handy (pay toilets, deposits in lockers, vending machines). Since you are headed to Germany, I wouldn't bother trying to "get rid" of them, as you'll have AMPLE opportunities to spend them there.

Posted by Georgiatraveler
Atlanta, GA
209 posts

Thanks Harold. Yes I meant in a US airport, sorry I forgot that. I was hoping maybe they would because I have so many 1,2 and 5 cent ones, it just makes it very heavy in my bag. I'll just find somewhere to use them up.

Posted by Charles
Austin, Texas, USA
307 posts

I would suggest holding onto them and use them in Germany. First of all, you will have to pay an exchange fee and once I tried to do it in a European airport and they wouldn't do it without paper money, I think there was a minumum that I did not meet. We always just use the coins to by unique candy bars at the airport to take home for the kids.

Posted by Irv
Beverly Hills, MI
369 posts

As others have said, US currency exchanges don't take coins. I have always made it a point to make sure we have coins and small bills when we arrive for things like the pay bathrooms and small purchases.

Posted by Denny
Columbus, OH, USA
733 posts

I never noticed the charity coin drops at airports but will look for them. Glad to learn about them. I tend to hoard coins when in Europe, unlike here at home where I hate carrying any around with me.

Posted by Georgiatraveler
Atlanta, GA
209 posts

Thanks everyone! I have seen those charity coin boxes in the airports so I just might drop some of the 1 and 2 cent coins in there. My husband is just going to have to learn the difference in the coins to help pay for those beers of his :)

Posted by Sarah
Stuttgart, Germany
2012 posts

Frankly, 1, 2, and 5 cent coins are hard to get rid of when you're living in Europe. While 10, 20, 50 cent and 1 and 2 euro coins can be easily spent, the smaller ones are tough because few machines take them. I question the wisdom of 1 and 2 cent coins even existing here. I'd agree with some of the other posters, you're best off donating them.

Posted by Terry kathryn
Ann Arbor, Mi
2600 posts

I would just leave the 5 cent ones home and only take the 1 and 2 euro coins if the weight is an issue. I try to avoid bringing home all the useless coins so when I am at the airport for departure I will buy some candy just to get rid of them, bring home only the paper money for next trip.

Posted by Christi
Whitsett, TX, United States
399 posts

There used to be envelopes on the plane that you could donate your leftover foreign change to some organization.

Posted by Ed
Pensacola
7969 posts

Most departure airports have some kind of conspicious charity barrel full of coins from all over.

Posted by Lee
Lakewood, Colorado
11263 posts

Leave most of the small coins at home. But the real question is, how did you amass 10+€ of coins in the first place? Actually, I do understand. I had a tendency to do the same thing. That tendency is to use notes, because you can easily read the value printed on them, then just put the change in you pockets. Then you don't use the change because you can't readily recognize what each coin is. So make an effort to spend the coins. It's really not that hard. There are only eight coins, and it is easy to see what they are. 1, 2, and 5 cent are copper, like our penny. If you look at the edges, the 2 cent has a groove running around the edge, circumferentially. The 1 and 5 are smooth, but the size difference is noticeable. The 10, 20, and 50 cent coins are brass. Again, look at the edges. The 20 cent piece has wide spaced notches (7) around the edge; the 10 and 50 have a lot, but, again, there is a noticeable size difference. Finally, the two Euro coin is bigger than the one and has milling all around the edge, instead of intermittently, like the one Euro. My biggest cash expense is restaurant food, and those prices are almost always in increments of 10 cent, including tax and service, and never involve the copper coins, so I don't get a lot of them. For other expenses, I just take time to see if I have small coins to pay with, just like over here.

Posted by Michael
Des Moines, IA
2155 posts

"I question the wisdom of 1 and 2 cent coins even existing here." Or anywhere, including here in the U.S. Why should we have coins that actually cost twice as much to produce than they are even worth? Patriotic Americans, I suppose. No metric system, no $1 or $5 coins (Sacagawea dollar doesn't count), and no universal healthcare, but we have pennies! :) I agree that you should just bring the higher value coins...€10 isn't much money...you couldn't possibly have more than just a few coins once you remove the worthless ones.

Posted by Ms. Jo
Frankfurt, Germany
4758 posts

Why would anyone look at the edges of the coins to find out the denomination, when it states right on the front of the coin what they are worth? You can use the small 1,2 5 cent copper coins in the restrooms where someone is working, but just add a couple of 10 cent coins to it. Or you can give your small change to buskers if you like their music. That is what I do with mine.

Posted by Norma
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
3404 posts

The edges of the coins have ridges or grooves to help identify them in low-light situations, and to aid people with vision problems (formerly known as the blind).

Posted by Bob
Bristol, UK
278 posts

When I find that euro coins in my pocket are getting too heavy, I use them when paying in a shop by simply offering the assistant a handful of coins inmy open palm. They are usually pleased to have some small change, and I have never sensed any dishonesty. Even if there is, the amount involved would be small. The assistant is much quicker than I could possibly be at sorting and counting unfamiliar coins. I notice that older customers who are locals frequently do the same thing.

Posted by Lee
Lakewood, Colorado
11263 posts

"Why would anyone look at the edges of the coins to find out the denomination ... ?" Because, Jo, while looking at the faces might work with just a few coins, it's easier to hold a whole bunch of coins in your hand, "roll" style, face-to-face, and look at the edges, than it is to lay them out flat where you can see the denomination on the faces. I used to try to look at the "face" values, but that's why I accumulated such a large quantity. It wasn't until I started looking at the edges that I managed to use more coins.

Posted by Mark
Berlin, Germany
316 posts

My guess would be that Jo (like me) uses some kind of wallet or coin purse, where it's easier to see the faces of the coins, whereas Lee carries his change loose in his trouser pocket in which case his 'coin roll and judge edges' method is easier. Personally I would think that 1E and 2E coin edges are easier differentiated by color than by milling style though...

Posted by Swan
Napa, CA
2858 posts

This is probably too late to do any good for Karen, but you just have to keep spending those coins if you don't want to end up carrying them around. Some (Americans) don't spend their coins, but toss them into a jar at home. This won't work in Europe unless you toss your coins into the collection boxes in churches. Not a bad idea for the little coins that just clog up the works. When you are at the airport you could offer the coins in exchange for paper at any of the shops. Or buy one or two cups of expensive coffee and be done with it.

Posted by Fred
San Francisco
2685 posts

After a trip I always bring back coins, sometimes more, sometimes fewer than the trip before, regardless of Euro denomination from the two Euro to the one cent. They'll be used for the next trip. Only the one cent coin is harder to get rid of relative to all the others, the two and five cent denominations can easily be used. The DB ticket machine accepts them. I can't remember if the German postage stamp machines accept both 2 and 5 cent coins; in France they are accepted in stamp machines.

Posted by Nicholas
Seattle, Washington, United States
282 posts

If they accept it, and I don't think they will, they will charge you for it. It's only 10 Euro. Just put it in a zip lock bag and then hit a 7-11 in Germany to trade up for bills.

Posted by Ms. Jo
Frankfurt, Germany
4758 posts

Been to Germany much Nicholas? We don't have 7-11's here. You also can't just turn in bags of coins like that.

Posted by Fred
San Francisco
2685 posts

@ Nicholas...no problem carrying 10 Euro in various coin denominations. I do that all the time over there. It comes in handy for using the train station coin lockers (mainly one and two Euro coins), the public WC, the DB ticket machine, U-S Bahn machines, postage Automat, and buying phone cards of 5 or 10 units. If you really want to unload your coins, ask at the train station or the waiter or Imbiss clerk if they would mind trading your coins for a 5 or 10 Euro bill, but be organised about it...no problem at all.

Posted by Jim
Bern, Switzerland
341 posts

"Been to Germany much Nicholas? We don't have 7-11's here. You also can't just turn in bags of coins like that." Trivia: By law a vendor does not have to accept more than 50 Euro coins in settlement of a bill....

Posted by Deb
Sioux Falls, SD
98 posts

I give the coins to kids for souveniers. There's always friends' kids who see my neat stuff from Europe and it makes them happy if I give them some of my european money. It could be a way to get rid of the 1, 2, 5 and 10 cent coins.

Posted by Michael
Des Moines, IA
2155 posts

Classic...the Helpline community goes on, and on, and on about absolutely nothing. Seriously, who puts this much thought and energy into coins? Just go take your vacation, have fun, and be done with it!

Posted by Ed
Pensacola
7969 posts

Yeah, but: It hasn't gone on as long as the inane Lady Products thread or Had the lengthy digressions of Why-You-Shouldn't-Take-Your-Kids-On-Vacation or You're-A-Sorry-Ass-Parent-Because-You-Don't-Raise-Your-Kids-The-Way-I-Should-Have-Raised-Mine-But-Won't-Admit-I-Didn't

Posted by Sarah
Stuttgart, Germany
2012 posts

How exactly is the lady products thread inane? Maybe guys have a tough time realizing this, but traveling while bleeding, sometimes profusely, while accompanied by pain, cramps, fatigue, and bloating for at least 5 days is not something to just write off, when there are specific products that can ease your suffering or prevent you from staining your pants on public transportation. Plus a lot of helpful information about pharmacies was addressed, which is important given that most people don't seem to realize you can't just walk into a drugstore and get some tylenol off the shelf at 8pm at night. Geez. Men. Anyway, some of us with OCD tendencies like to use up all our change. Jo gave good suggestions I hadn't even thought of, and the suggestion for church donation boxes was excellent as well.

Posted by Barry
San Diego, CA
587 posts

Threads that go on and on, I was thinking the same thing about the rain jacket vs mini umbrella thread. The second through sixth answer say the same thing "I take both".

Posted by Nicholas
Seattle, Washington, United States
282 posts

Hey, Jo. Geez. Don't take things so literally. "7-11" was just meant to be a stand in for "generic corner store of universal presence generally open at the convenience of the customer". There are plenty of 7-11's worldwide and the brand is universally known, which makes it a good reference. Recommending that they go to an Aldi, Kaiser's, or even a Back-Factory doesn't seem like it would be as widely understood. Second, "10 Euros" of coins is not that many coins. We are talking as few as five coins, but probably more like 50-100. For a cashier, this is annoying, but it is not an impossible burden, especially if it is slow. If the OP asked nicely, put on a big "I'm not from here" grin, and bought a Vita Cola, I bet they would help her out.

Posted by Monte
Genesee, ID
1376 posts

I have used some Euro coins to make fishing lures. Just drill two small holes opposite of each other inside the rim of the coin. You will now be able to insert a split ring, hook or other terminal tackle with which to make the lure.