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Exchange rates last updated Monday, 21 May 2018 11:17:42 AM EDT. The online exchange rates provided by this Currency Converter are intended as a guide only and should not be used for transactional purposes. All rates are subject to change from time to time without notice. Exchange rates used in-store may differ from those offered online. The Travelex online sell rate will be used for conversions from US Dollars to a foreign currency.
The latest on USD to EUR exchange rates
The lowdown on the euro
On January 1, 1999, the euro was officially born in 11 states of the European Union. For the first three years of its life, it was only used for bank transfers, travelers’ checks and online transactions, but in January 2002, the shiny new euro notes and coins were finally introduced into the 12 participating countries (Greece had come along for the ride by this time!). A Europe-wide currency had been the goal of the European Union and its predecessors since right back in the ‘60s, so there was plenty of time to get things right.
After the switchover, most participating countries in the EU were allowed to carry on using their old currency for another two months, after which it was no longer considered legal tender. However, if you head on over to Austria, Spain, Germany and Ireland, coins from the old currency can still be taken to banks and traded for euros – so you know what to do with all those leftover pesetas!
Right now, 19 of the 28 members of the EU use the euro as their currency: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain. It’s the second largest reserve currency and the world’s second most traded after the US dollar – pretty impressive for a currency that’s less than 20 years old.
Here’s a fun fact to bring out at parties: the very first purchase using euros was on the French Island of Réunion in the Indian Ocean, and was for one kilogram of lychees.
A look back at US dollar to euro rates
The euro made its debut in January of 1999 at a rate of 1.19 US dollars to one euro. By October 2000, however, it had dropped substantially to just $0.82 to €1 – not such good news for the euro, but great for exchanging your dollars! It’s remained above the US dollar since the end of 2002, rising all the way to $1.60 by mid-2008.
Euro in crisis?
Since late 2009, the euro has been caught up in the European sovereign-debt crisis, leading to a drop in its rates and the creation of the European Financial Stability Facility aimed at stabilising the currency. By January 2011, the rate had continued to fall, hitting a low of €0.68 to $1.
Euro on its way back up
The good news is that over the last 12 months, the euro has significantly increased against the dollar, reaching €0.94 by mid-2015. This means that in 2011, you would have got just $68 for €100, compared to $94 in 2015.