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Peru Money

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Description of Peru Money or Currency in Peru

Peru money (currency) comes in  the shape of bills and coins of the sizes and denominations pictured farther down this page.

On this page:

  • Description of Peruvian Currency

  • Appearance of Common Bills and Coins

  • Avoiding Counterfeit Money

  • Some Common Problems with Paper Money in Peru

The unit of currency in Peru is called the "Nuevo Sol."

It's official abbreviation is PEN. This unit in common use is just a "sol" (pronounced similar to English "soul") or the plural, soles (pronounced similar to "soul-ace").

The smallest unit of Peruvian currency is the "centimo" or hundredth of a sol, but the smallest coin in common use is the 10 centimo coin.

Peruvian Currency - Appearance of Common Bills and Coins

Peru money or currency in Peru consists of the following bills and coins in common usage. Note that there are several different printings of each bill depending on the year and the images and layout of these bills may not match what is below:

Although the S/. 50.00 PNS (Peruvian Nuevo Sol) and the S/. 100.00 PNS are commonly in circulation all over Peru, it is also common to find that vendors won't have change for the larger bills.

You will need to make sure that you are carrying smaller bills, like 20s, 10s, and coins when shopping or for transportation (taxis, combis, micros).

As in the other countries in Latin America where Lin and I have lived, it seems that the vendors just don't think ahead. They start the business day with no cash and go from there.

So be sure to get a handful of smaller bills like these below when going to the market to bargain for groceries or small purchases.

In May 2010, Peru released a new Nuevo Sol coin. Here is the official photo:

New Nuevo Sol Coin

Peruvian Currency - Avoiding Counterfeit Money

As in most, if not all, countries in the world, Peru has an ongoing battle against counterfeiters.

Although advances in technology have aided in making money harder to counterfeit, technology in some cases is used to produce high quality counterfeits.

Headlines on NBCNews.com of Nov 17 2016 stated,

"U.S., Peru Seize $30M in Counterfeit Dollars, Biggest Bust Ever"

by Reuters

WASHINGTON — U.S. and Peruvian agents have seized a record $30 million in counterfeit dollars in the biggest netting of fake greenbacks ever by the U.S. Secret Service, the agency said on Thursday... Peru is the world's largest manufacturer and distributor of fake U.S. currency.

What to look for if you are using Peru money: 

The most popular bills to counterfeit, of course, are the biggest denominations in daily use, in this case, the 100 sol bill.

  • Don't be offended. If you present one of these bills in payment for goods or services, nearly all sales personnel, taxi drivers, etc, will hold it up to the light and scrutinize it.

Since the features of  these bills involve iridescent colors that change at different angles, as well as interwoven ribbons, hidden images, etc., they don't reproduce well on a computer screen, so I won't try to show the differences here.

I do recommend asking someone to show you what to look for when you do get to Peru.

Other denominations of bills and even the 5 sol coin have been counterfeited.

  • If you have any doubts about a bill or a coin, don't accept it.
  • Peruvians are used to that. 

Check for counterfeit money peru

Some Common Problems with Paper Money

Peru Money and Other Currency Pains - One of the most frustrating things a traveler will run into in Peru is the "won't accept your dollar bill" thiing.

For example, you're down to needing to change your last 100 dollar bill. But no one will take it.

Why? One corner is torn off. Or it has been creased too many times down the middle and is slightly worn. Or worse yet, someone has signed their name on it in pen.

For any of these reasons, you may find yourself unable to change or use a paper bill, whether 100 dollars or 1 dollar.

Don't panic. By law, all Peru banks must accept

legitimate currency no matter what shape the bills may be in as long as they are more than 50% there.

You just have to find a bank that's open....that's all....

At first, the Peruvian money will look like fake money and you'll have a hard time remembering how much it's worth.

If you're in Peru more than a couple of weeks, however, pretty soon you'll think in soles.

Then when you're back in your home country you'll have to go through that process again in reverse.

Have fun and you'll enjoy seeing your dollar or euro buy a lot more food and fun than you're used to!

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