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Currency Symbol

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A currency symbol or currency sign is a graphic symbol used as a shorthand for a currency’s name, especially in reference to amounts of money.

Key Takeaways

  • Major currencies often have a unique symbol attached to them. This helps graphically show that a number represents a specific currency amount.
  • Some countries use the same currency symbol. The $ symbol is used by many countries. To avoid confusion, other letters help distinguish which country’s currency is represented, such as C$ for Canadian dollars.
  • Because not every currency has its own symbol, each currency has its own currency code, such as EUR for euros. These codes are maintained by the International Organization for Standardization.

Usually, they are 3 letters used to identify a currency. These represent the country of origin and the name of the currency, e.g. USD (US dollar); EUR (euro), JPY (Japanese Yen).

Understanding the Currency Symbol

A currency symbol next to a number shows the number is a monetary amount. Many of the symbols for the most frequently written and traded currencies have symbols with a basis on the Roman alphabet. The use of slashes and crossbars helps to differentiate letters from currency symbols.

Currencies that have their own symbol give the impression of being more stable and having a higher status. Some currencies, such as the U.S. dollar (USD) and the British pound sterling (GBP), have become instantly recognizable around the world by their currency symbol.

The GBP uses the designation ‘£’ for the pound, and the USD uses the ‘$’ symbol to represent a dollar amount, although other countries also use $ to represent their currencies as well. If the currency type is in question, the symbol may include a country prefix, such as CA$, Can$ or C$ for Canadian dollars, or US$ for U.S. dollars.

The € symbol is used to represent the euro currency, ¥ represents the Japanese yen, and ƒ signifies a florin, such as the Aruban Florin.