Identifying Foreign Currency

Foreign Currency

G’day Everyone! If you are anything like me, and have been to few countries now. There is a good possibility that, much like myself, you will have accumulated a draw full of spare change made up of all sorts of weird and wonderful foreign currencies.

In most cases it’s probably been there for a few years now, and while the ones in English (British Pounds, US Dollars, Australian Dollars etc) are easily identifiable, it can be struggle to remember where the rest came from. Right?

So how do you work out which country that money came from? Well, I’ve found a couple of apps that will help.

Google Goggles 

Google Goggles, is probably one of the lesser known apps from Google, but it’s great for travelers. From within the app you take a photo with your phone’s camera. It’ll search its online database of images and languages to tell you what you are looking at. So in the case of your spare foreign currency, all you have to do is take a photo. Google Goggles will identify it and tell you which country it’s from and what it’s worth.

I’ve tested it with a variety of different currencies from all over the world and it was very successful in identifying bank notes. However when it came to coins, it wasn’t as good. I did notice sometimes it would take two or three goes to get all the information about the notes, but that was more to do with the quality of the photo taken by the phone.


If for whatever reason, you’re not interested or having much luck with Google Goggles, then you can try another app called CamFind. It works on the same principle, take a photo from within the app and it’ll upload it and scan its online databases and translate what you are looking at.

I’ve tested CamFind with a variety of different currencies. I found that it wasn’t as fast as Google  Goggles and the information it returned was more generic, however it did identify coins (even if it failed to tell me which countries they were from).

Both Google Goggles and CamFind are available for both Android and iOS devices through their respective app stores.

My suggestion would be to download and try both apps, they are a both free and easy to use. It’s also handy to have them while traveling as they can help translate and find information on all sorts of things, as long as you have some sort of internet connection.

If these apps don’t help, then a quick Wikipedia search of the counties you’ve visited should give you links to articles for each countries currency. While not guaranteed, most of those articles will have pictures to help you in identify the currencies.

I hope this travel tip helps you out. If you have your own travel tip you’d like to share, you can either leave a comment below or get in touch via the contact page.

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About the Author: Rhys Vandersyde

Traveler, Photographer, Content Creator. I've spent the last 10 years exploring all over the world, but there is still plenty more to see.

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