The euro is the currency used in many European nations; it was created to provide a single currency that would prevent travelers from having to change money every time they cross a border in Europe. Developed by the European Monetary Union, the euro is available in both notes and coins of varying denominations. Currently the euro is accepted as legal tender in 17 nations in Europe. There are a few nations outside of Europe that use the euro as legal tender; however, the U.S. is not currently among them.
About the Euro
On Jan. 1, 2002, 12 European nations joined in the European Monetary Union and converted to the use of the euro as their official currency. Five more members joined the Union in later years, from 2007 to 2011. There are also some other nations that have made agreements to use the euro both in and outside of Europe. The euro is available in notes with denominations of 500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10, five, two and 1. It is also available in coins with denominations of two, one, .50, .20. .10, .05, .02 and .01. The European Central Bank issues the euro for all nations.
Nations Using the Euro
The original 12 nations to convert to the euro were Germany, The Netherlands, Ireland, France, Austria, Belgium, Finland, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Portugal and Spain. Spain was the last nation to join the European Monetary Union, one year after the first 11 made the agreement. In 2007, Slovenia joined the Union, and in 2008 both Cyprus and Malta joined and adopted the euro as legal tender. Slovakia adopted the euro in 2009, followed by Estonia in 2011.
Monaco, The Vatican and San Marino also use the euro under the terms of a special monetary agreement that allows them to issue the euro coins. Certain places that did not previously have their own currency have started using the Euro in place of the currencies of other nations previously used, generally due to the fact that those nations have entered the European Monetary Union. These are Andorra, Montenegro and Kosovo.
Nations outside of Europe that use the euro as official currency are those that are French territories and previously used the franc. These are Guadeloupe, Martinique, Guyana, Reunion, Madeira, the Canary Islands, Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon and Mayotte.
Nations not Using the Euro
Some European nations have chosen not to join the Union and switch the euro. Most notable among these are the United Kingdom, Denmark, Sweden and Northern Ireland. While some retailers, hotels and restaurants in the UK will accept Euros, the British pound is still the official currency. Currently there are no nations that are not either located on the European continent or under European government that use the Euro.
America and the Euro
When traveling to the United States, you will need to convert your currency from the euro to the American dollar, as this is the only legal tender accepted in the U.S. Major U.S. banks can convert euros to dollars, as can money exchanges located in airports and other major tourist facilities. When making a purchase using a credit card from Europe, your financial institution will convert the purchase amount in U.S. dollars into euros. There may be a charge for this. he exchange rate from euro to dollar varies daily.