One of the most common questions about the practicality of visiting Scotland is about the money that is used there. I even get questions from people who live in England about it!
Growing up in Scotland and visiting England I always knew first hand the problems that the differences in the money gave. Sometimes people would think I’d given them a fake banknote when I tried to spend Scottish pounds!
Now that it’s the other way round and I visit Scotland it’s always a treat to see the different notes there, but I’m wary of bringing them home and I always spend them!
So what money does Scotland use?
Scotland uses Great British Pounds, or Pound Sterling, just like the rest of the UK. Where confusion comes in is around the fact that Scotland has its own set of Sterling bank notes that are different to those used in England.
What does Scottish money look like?
It’s only Scottish notes that look any different to any other money in Britain. Coins will look exactly the same.
Notes will come from either the Royal Bank of Scotland, Bank of Scotland or Clydesdale Bank. An example is in the picture above. While in Scotland you may also receive English banknotes as well.
Can you use English Money in Scotland?
Yes. You’ll have no issues at all using English money and banknotes all over Scotland. No one will question it at all.
Can you use Scottish money in England?
While you can use English money in Scotland, it isn’t always as straight forward the other way round.
It should be fine to use Scottish money when in England, it is legal tender, but because it looks so different many places may refuse to take it. You might find this especially happens in small independent shops and restaurants rather than the bigger chains. They aren’t used to seeing this kind of money every day and sometimes it can spook them and think that it’s fake.
Tip – if you’re also travelling to England or Wales after Scotland try to use up any Scottish notes while in Scotland over using any English ones. Save your English banknotes for the rest of Britain!
Should you exchange money before I travel to Scotland?
If you’re landing in Scotland directly from overseas then it’s a good idea to have some British Pounds before you arrive.
It can be useful to pay taxis, public transport or to get some food once you arrive, although almost all can be paid by card these days too.
If you’re getting currency before arriving in Scotland then it’s likely you’ll be given standard English banknotes. This is absolutely fine for using in Scotland – don’t worry about that at all.
If you’re starting your UK trip in England then any money you have from that portion will be fine for coming to Scotland.
How much are ATM fees in Scotland?
If you’re arriving in Scotland and need to get money then taking some out from an ATM, or cash machine, is a good idea. (In Scotland you may get Scottish banknotes when you withdraw)
You can find ATMs in many places like outside a bank (and often inside too), supermarkets, post offices and in shopping centres.
The vast majority of ATMs in Scotland are free to use and it will state that on the machine. They tend to be owned by the banks and will have the signage of the bank on it.
Be aware that you can also find some machines that do charge you to use them. These are more commonly found inside smaller shops or perhaps in more remote places. They normally warn you that there’s a charge before you withdraw money. It’s normally between about £1-2.50 charge.
Remember that your bank may also charge a fee for using an ATM even if the cash machine itself doesn’t charge. It’s best to use the free ones if you can!
Do you have any further questions about using Scottish money when traveling here? Let me know in the comments!