Author Topic: 100 dollar bills too large?  (Read 7542 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline BikeFreak

100 dollar bills too large?
« on: December 09, 2011, 03:23:08 am »
Hi,

Last time I biked in the US I vaguely remember some difficulties/sceptism when paying with a 100 dollar bill in shops. Can someone please update on that matter? Are there truly gas stations/shops that only accept a maximum of 50 dollar bills? I like to carry plenty of cash to avoid the hassle of finding an ATM machine - however small bills take up a lot of space.

Lucas

Offline Fred Hiltz

Re: 100 dollar bills too large?
« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2011, 05:51:47 am »
I too have had occasional friction. "I need to call a manager" etc. $50 bills seem OK, though.

Fred

Offline staehpj1

Re: 100 dollar bills too large?
« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2011, 06:44:29 am »
I find that if you break $100 bills in larger stores or with a larger purchase before you run out of smaller bills it is not a problem.  I would not want to find myself with only $100's in a tiny small town general store wanting to buy a candy bar or sport drink.

Edit:
Btw, I have been finding that using plastic is more and more an option so I am carrying less cash that I might have a few years ago.  That said there is still the need for cash in some places.
« Last Edit: December 09, 2011, 10:51:54 am by staehpj1 »

Offline John Nelson

Re: 100 dollar bills too large?
« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2011, 10:13:06 am »
I agree with Pete. Start your trip with at least a few $20 bills in addition to your $100 bills. When you get low on smaller bills, break a $100 bill the next time you are in a larger, more active venue (like a supermarket or chain restaurant). I always ask the cashier if it would cause a problem if I paid with a $100 bill, but I do this well before I run out of smaller bills. It's usually less of a problem to try to spend your $100 bill later in the day when they have already taken in a lot of cash.

Offline indyfabz

Re: 100 dollar bills too large?
« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2011, 11:19:36 am »
I guess "a lot of space" is all relative.  Assuming U.S. bills are of a uniform size, (lxwxh), $2,330 in $10 bills would measure 6.1" x 2.6" x 1". (According to WikiAsnwers, a stack of 233 $1 bills is 1" high.) Even at a healthy spending rate of $100/day, that is a 23 day supply of cash, longer as the per day spending amount drops.

In any event, I would carry some ones, fives and tens if/when you think you might be staying in campgrounds, such as BLM, U.S.F.S  and state park campgrounds, with "iron rangers." The fees can vary and are often odd amounts. For example, the fee at a BLM camground we stayed at this summer was $6. A U.S.F.S. campground we had planned to use (turned out to be closed) was $13. I'd hate to find myself at a place like that unable to crack a large bill.

Offline DaveB

Re: 100 dollar bills too large?
« Reply #5 on: December 09, 2011, 11:20:43 am »
$100 bills are a problem a lot of places and I would not rely on being able to cash them anywhere but a bank, hotel or upscale restaurant.  We are not alone in this.  In my experience many merchants in Europe are reluctant to take 100 Euro notes and the banks there have gotten a lot of complaints when their ATM machines give them out. 

Offline BikeFreak

Re: 100 dollar bills too large?
« Reply #6 on: December 09, 2011, 01:27:09 pm »
To conclude:
Avoid 100 dollar bills at gas stations and grocery stores
Crack 100 dollar bills at large super markets

How bout McDonalds, Burger King ... do they accept 100 dollar bills?

PS: I live in Denmark and our largest bill is a 1000 DKK. It corresponds to approx 200 USD. That type of bill is accepted everywhere, even the smallest diner and kiosk. Traveling in Europe has not given any problems using 100 Euro bills so far - even at gas stations. However, the largest bill, the 500 Euro bill (corresponds to approx 700 USD) would probably result in some problems.

Lucas

Offline litespeed

Re: 100 dollar bills too large?
« Reply #7 on: December 09, 2011, 01:44:03 pm »
A real problem with $100 bills is that they are the most widely counterfeited US currency. They will be checked - swiped with the pen or checked with the light box - in most places. So make sure that YOURS are for real. I have seen people embarrassed in convenience stores when their bills have been checked and refused because they were counterfeit. I rarely carry anything larger than twenties but then I pay for most everything with my Mastercard.

Smaller bills are not guaranteed, however. I was once in a convenience store where a the clerk caught a phony $10 bill. The customer was furious and vowed to take it back to the bank where she got it. Talking with the clerk afterward I was told that she had caught two ten's and a twenty over the years.

Small purchases in convenience stores are about the only place I use cash and then the smallest bills I've got..

Offline Tandem4Rider

Re: 100 dollar bills too large?
« Reply #8 on: December 09, 2011, 02:01:26 pm »
Not sure about those places taking the big bills - I don't go to them.  I'm more of a Panera Bread fellow truth be told.  I think the advice given so far is spot on.

Having said that... I understand the costs associated with using a credit card on foreign travel, so plastic may not be your best choice.  The currency in the US is not likely to add much in the way of weight or bulk, in my opinion, even if you carried a small stack of bills.

Offline Mark Manley

Re: 100 dollar bills too large?
« Reply #9 on: December 09, 2011, 03:03:56 pm »
As a point of interest $100 bills are almost totally useless in some places outside of the US, due to a fear of counterfeits I have found them generally not accepted particularly in Africa and Asia. Having said that Dollars in smaller denomination notes are welcome everywhere.

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: 100 dollar bills too large?
« Reply #10 on: December 09, 2011, 07:39:44 pm »
I'm with the OP on bulkiness; my experience is that over about 10-15 bills, of any denomination, makes my wallet stiff and difficult to bend.

That said, I only had trouble locating an ATM once.  They are everywhere.  U.S. banks usually charge $2-3 for using an ATM from another bank's account; I don't know what charge the foreign bank would make.

Would it be reasonable to set up an account with a U.S. bank for a few months?  I did something like that as a college student one summer in a different state.

Offline staehpj1

Re: 100 dollar bills too large?
« Reply #11 on: December 10, 2011, 09:11:33 am »
I'm with the OP on bulkiness; my experience is that over about 10-15 bills, of any denomination, makes my wallet stiff and difficult to bend.
I would say +1 on the bulkiness except for the "wallet" part of the comment.  Most of the stuff in my wallet stays home making a wallet a bit of overkill.  It never occurred to me to take a wallet even before I started traveling lighter.  I figure that wallets, keys, and so on are best left home.  On my TA I used a small heavy duty ziploc bag and more recently a very small pocket in my tiny camera bag.

Offline BobOnABike

Re: 100 dollar bills too large?
« Reply #12 on: December 10, 2011, 11:05:19 am »
That said, I only had trouble locating an ATM once.  They are everywhere.  U.S. banks usually charge $2-3 for using an ATM from another bank's account; I don't know what charge the foreign bank would make.

When I'm travelling, I generally find that if you make purchases at a grocery store, or WalMart with a debit card, you can normally get cash back at no additional cost and avoid the ATM fees.  I think if your debit card looks like a Mastercard or Visa, you should be able to avoid ATM fees by getting cash advances on your purchases.  (A lot of grocery stores seem to have a $50 limit on cash advances, so plan ahead if you need more cash.)

Offline DaveB

Re: 100 dollar bills too large?
« Reply #13 on: December 10, 2011, 01:01:57 pm »
PS: I live in Denmark and our largest bill is a 1000 DKK. It corresponds to approx 200 USD. That type of bill is accepted everywhere, even the smallest diner and kiosk. Traveling in Europe has not given any problems using 100 Euro bills so far - even at gas stations.
I expect that the 1000 DKK bill is not a problem as counterfitting Danish currencty isn't a big issue.   The US dollar and the Euro aren't so lucky.

My daughter and her family lived in Germany for almost two years and she said the local stores always balked at 100 Euro notes and her friends and neighbors reported the same reluctance. 

Offline adventurepdx

  • World Traveler
  • *****
  • Posts: 263
  • Riding bikes in and around Portland, Oregon
Re: 100 dollar bills too large?
« Reply #14 on: December 10, 2011, 10:06:07 pm »
Quote
A real problem with $100 bills is that they are the most widely counterfeited US currency.

I've heard the opposite. $20s are the most counterfeited.
http://articles.latimes.com/2010/jul/05/business/la-fi-smallbiz-fakemoney-20100705
I'm guessing the 20 dollar bill is the most counterfeited because pretty much everyone takes them, as anything over it elicits suspicion.

But back to $100 bills. One reason not pointed out why small businesses don't like $100s (or $50s) is because many don't have a lot of smaller change on hand (often to discourage hold-ups.) If someone walks in to a country store and only buys $4 of goods, then pays with a $100 bill, then the store would have to give out $96 in change. Then they'd have a $100 bill on hand and little change. The store could be a distance from the bank, or it's a weekend when banks are closed, or there's change in the safe that only the manager/owner has access to and she/he is not there that day, etc. That's why some stores don't accept large bills.