If you've just returned from a trip abroad, you might find yourself holding a handful of foreign currency with nowhere to spend it. If you're not interested in holding onto the cash for your next trip, you do have the option of taking it to your bank or credit union. Your bank won't deposit the foreign cash directly into your account, but, depending on the size of your financial institution, they may "buy" the foreign currency back, exchanging it for U.S. dollars that can then be deposited into your bank account.

Check With Your Bank First

Most large U.S. banks offer foreign currency exchange services, but said services might not be available at all branches or in all currencies. Smaller financial institutions might not offer currency exchange at all or might not have enough volume to justify "buying back" foreign currency once you return from your trip. So before you head out, do yourself a favor and contact the bank to make sure they can exchange your currency.

If your own bank can't exchange your foreign currency, it's possible that another will – which of course leaves you to trek back to your bank and make the final deposit of U.S. currency into your account. But again, always call ahead and ask; some banks will only exchange currency if you have an account with them.

Other Places to Exchange Currency

If your bank can't exchange the foreign currency you've brought back with you, you have a few other options to choose from. If the currency is a common one and you live near a large hotel that serves an international clientele, they sometimes buy and sell foreign currency. Some travel agents might be willing to buy foreign currency from you if you're known to them and they frequently travel to the country where it's local currency. And if you live near an international airport, you can probably exchange your currency at the money changer's booth there – just be aware that they'll give you the worst possible exchange rate.

Coins Won't Fly at the Bank

There's one thing U.S. banks absolutely won't accept: Foreign currency in coins. Your best option for getting rid of coins is to spend them on the way out of the country where they're local currency, exchange them for bills before leaving the country, or send them to an online currency buyer that accepts coins, like Leftover Currency. You can also donate them to the UNICEF Change for Good program; on participating air carriers, the flight attendants will collect your spare change to help pay for materials and services for vulnerable children. Or, as a last resort, you can always hold onto those coins for your next trip.