You cannot use any other currency in the U.S., but some major banks will offer to change other currencies. Larger hotels often offer currency exchange, but don't expect great exchange rates, so it is advisable to arrive with U.S. Dollars. Otherwise, you can change money in airport kiosks, private exchange offices, banks, or at American Express and Thomas Cook offices; none will offer optimal rates.
ATMs are prevalent most everywhere in the country and offer the best exchange rates. If you bank with a large, international bank in your home country, transactions may be free if you use ATMs of that same bank or its associated banks in other countries. Check with your bank before departure for ATM locations at the destination to which you plan to travel.
Traveler's checks in U.S. currency are widely accepted at banks, hotels, and department stores, although smaller establishments may refuse to cash them. It is best to buy traveler's checks denominated in U.S. currency before travel. Visitors should note that many banks do not have the facility to cash traveler’s checks and those that do require items of identification such as passport, credit card or driving license, and are likely to charge a high commission. To avoid a surcharge on exchange rate charges, visitors are advised to take traveler’s checks in U.S. Dollars.
International bankcards (MasterCard, Visa, and Access) are widely accepted in most businesses, while American Express, Diners Club, and Discover credit cards are less widely accepted. Credit/bank cards offer the most favorable exchange rates. Hotels accept the full range of bank and credit cards. A traveler can obtain cash advances using a credit card from select banks.
Your credit card company translates foreign purchases into your own currency when the charges appear on your credit card statement. However, be aware that most credit card companies now charge a “foreign transaction fee” for converting foreign currency—sometimes up to 2% of each purchase transaction! This could add up quickly. Read the fine print of your card disclosure paperwork or call your credit card company to verify. For details regarding merchant acceptability and other available services, you must check with your credit or debit card company.
Travelers should also notify their credit card company when they travel out of the country. Cards and the requisite funds can suddenly be frozen without any notification if credit card security notices unusual activity and flags it as suspicious. In this case, your card will be declined if you attempt to use it, i.e., at the end of an otherwise successful business deal in a restaurant. If this does occur, notify your card company immediately, as it may take 24 hours to reinstate! Have other payment options on hand in case such an occasion does occur.
Currency Restrictions - There are no restrictions on the import or export of either foreign or local currency.
Note: Banks will not cash a personal check unless you have an account there. Retail businesses will only accept local (very local) checks. Most major cities have American Express offices.
Chicago American Express Travel Service 605 North Michigan Ave., Suite 105 Chicago, IL 60611 Tel:  (312) 943-7840 Fax:  (312) 943-8740 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Hours: Monday to Friday 9a.m. to 6p.m., Saturday 9a.m. to 5p.m.
Houston American Express Travel Service 650 West Bough Lane, Suite 100 Houston, TX 77024 Tel:  (713) 465-3494 Fax:  (713) 465-3649 Email: email@example.com Hours: Monday to Friday 9a.m. to 6p.m. and Saturday 10a.m. to 5p.m.
Los Angeles American Express Travel Service 8493 W 3rd St. At La Cienega Boulevard Los Angeles, CA 90048 Tel:  (310) 659-1682 Fax:  (310) 659-1151 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Hours: Monday to Friday 9a.m. to 6p.m., Saturday 10a.m. to 3p.m.
Miami American Express Travel Service 100 Biscayne Boulevard, New World Tower Miami, FL 33132 Tel:  (305) 358-7350 Fax:  (305) 358-3932 Email: email@example.com Hours: Monday to Friday 9a.m. to 5p.m.
New York City American Express Travel 111 Broadway New York, NY 10006 Tel:  (212) 693-1100 Fax:  (212) 693-1229 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Hours: Monday to Friday 8.30a.m. to 5.30p.m.
San Francisco American Express Travel Service 455 Market St. San Francisco, CA 94105 Tel:  (415) 536-2600 Fax:  (415) 512-8260 Email: Embarcaderoctn@aexp.com Hours: Monday to Friday 9a.m. to 5.30p.m., Saturday 10a.m. to 2p.m.
Washington D.C. American Express Travel Service 1501 K St. NW, On 15th at K St. Washington, DC 20005 Tel:  (202) 457-1300 Fax:  (202) 783-2970 Email: Dcconnecticutctn@aexp.com Hours: Monday to Friday 9a.m. to 5.30p.m.