How new is new when it comes to US $?

Mar 23rd, 2010, 02:04 PM
  #1  
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How new is new when it comes to US $?

I know that we'll need pristine bills to pay for our visas when we land in Hanoi and I assume the same thing holds for Laos. I'm planning to bring additional bills to use as a supplement to local currency we'll get from ATM's. The question is how new does our U.S. currency have to be? I went to the bank today and they had exactly zero fresh, uncirculated bills of any denomination and claimed that they couldn't order any--they just have to take whatever arrives each day. The teller managed to find a few fairly nice bills but, although they didn't have any rips or writing on them, they are not crisp and new. Or perhaps is this only a problem with the government officials at the border and not with merchants and people in general?
zainib is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2010, 02:11 PM
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You want the bills to be clean, untorn and not badly worn. They don't have to be crisp. Other than the cash for visas, the only other US cash I'd take would be a $100 bill or two for exchange if you can't get to an ATM. The $100 bills should be the best you can find.

They are a bit picky about currency in these countries, but it's not like Burma where some travelers iron their bills.
Kathie is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2010, 02:19 PM
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ask to speak to the bank manager and they can over a series of days get you new or almost new bills...
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Mar 23rd, 2010, 02:22 PM
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Thank you Kathie. And I see from doing some additional searching after I posted my question that this topic has been covered before. When we went to China seven years ago, I was able to get a pack of 100 brand new dollar bills from the bank, no problem.

Are there ATM's in town in Luang Prabang? at the airport?
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Mar 23rd, 2010, 02:28 PM
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rhkkmk--they must have nicer bank managers in Massachusetts! I asked them to do just that and the bank manager said they couldn't.
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Mar 23rd, 2010, 03:15 PM
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zainib
I always tell my bank teller to give me only bills that are in good condition, as described by Bob above. I watch them count the 100s just to make sure they only give me the new style with the bigger face, and no torn or worn parts or writing on the bills. I've had a few 100s given back to me over the years (they were refused) at the usual currency exchange place I use in Bangkok. But having them refuse a bill is quite unusual these days.
simpsonc510 is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2010, 03:34 PM
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There is now an ATM in LP. I'm not sure about the airport. In any case, you don't want to exchange $100 into kip. It would fill a suitcase! When I was in LP, there were no ATMs and I exchanged US$20 at a time. We paid for the hotel with a credit card and everything else was cheap.

Remember that both kip and dong are worthless outside their countries!

Bob and Carol, my bank also cannot order new currency except at the holidays. But when I'm going to need a stack of pristine bills, I let them know and they will collect the bills that are the best looking over a few weeks and will hold them for me.
Kathie is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2010, 03:51 PM
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both of you are at the wrong bank then.....ask for me the next time...
rhkkmk is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2010, 03:52 PM
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go to a national bank...a commercial bank....they will have new $$
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Mar 23rd, 2010, 04:44 PM
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I will start collecting 20's. Thanks for the advice.
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Mar 23rd, 2010, 05:40 PM
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In Laos: It is not the newness, but rather the quality of the note. Banks and money changers will not accept torn or dirty notes. Changing $100.00 is no problem and you DON'T end up with a wad of kip. You get about 16 x 50,000 kip notes. Hardly "filling a suitcase". LP is getting more expensive now, so it certainly makes more sense to change $100.00 rather than $20.00s
There are a few ATMs in LP now, not just one.
Vientianeboy is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2010, 06:17 PM
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Get out your clothes iron and iron your bills. Just be careful not to get too hot! I'm not kidding. This works and is what Vietnamese do when handing out money for tet.

If your bills are dirty take a pencil eraser to them to clean them up.
deptrai is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2010, 06:38 PM
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Bob... I go to Wells Fargo! (and also a much smaller local bank)
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Mar 23rd, 2010, 09:37 PM
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There is an ATM in Luang Prabang's airport - but it's outside of customs so you need the cash in hand before you land. There are several other ATMs in town (quite a lot has changed in Laos the last couple of years).

Also, my impression on this last trip is that the Kip is now much more prevalent than it used to be. Time was when a lot of restaurants, etc. posted prices in dollars or Baht, but that seems to be a lot less these days. The only place I actually saw prices posted in dollars and Baht was the taxi counter at LP airport.
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Mar 24th, 2010, 07:34 AM
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Bob, right before my Burma trip my bank (yes, a real bank) got in their first shipment of new bills in a long time. So I had brand new crisp bills for Burma (which were much appreciated there). They had been saving the best-looking bills for me, but called me to tell me about the new currency.

But while the rest of us may have felt that the Fed was printing money right and left, they maintained that hadn't printed any money in a while. It used to be I could always ask my bank to order new bills for me, but last fall, it was different. I remember Nywoman had the same experience.
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Mar 24th, 2010, 07:36 AM
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Oh, about kip. Listen to VB. It sounds like things are more expensive in LP now and that Laos now prints larger bills than they did in the past.
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Mar 24th, 2010, 08:37 AM
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I also asked my bank mgr and got all new bills. However, somewhere along my trip, some place must have given me a somewhat used $10. bill. Apparently I used it in a nice Vientiane restaurant one night and two nights later when I was back, the waiter brought me a $10 bill and said I gave it to them and they did not like it because it was worn some. How would I know whether I gave them such a bill when a travlr is a virtually money dispenser all day long? I ws v. irriated, but I just took it and hunted thru what I had and gave them another one. It has become a ridiculous obsession with Asians which has become tiresome by now.
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Mar 24th, 2010, 10:29 AM
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I never take more than about $60. in new bills to Vietnam - I use Dong from the ATM and it works just fine. I do take newer crisp bills. This does not seem to be such a big deal as it used to be, IMHO! If it were not for VOA, I wouldn't take any.
daawgon is offline  
Mar 24th, 2010, 10:41 AM
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Why do they insist on essentially new-looking, crisp bills? Just curious.
Paul1950 is offline  
Mar 24th, 2010, 02:18 PM
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I was in Wells Fargo today, making a deposit. The teller said, "Are you here to cash a check today? I have some brand new bills!" Well, I wasn't there to cash a check, but I went ahead and did it anyway, since she had new ones, and I have two international trips within the next month! I was glad she saw me coming!!! The tellers there know me, and they know how particular I am about new bills when I'm ready to travel out of the country!! Nice to get service like that ! (sometimes)
Carol
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