Things you didn’t know you needed to know about money

Anna Allgaier

Another day, another article full of money knowledge you didn’t ask for, but will now have. Will it be useful? Who knows. Will it be fun? We hope so. Did I need to do a four year degree in literature for this? Absolutely not. 

If you’re looking for some spicy small talk, this article, rife with money knowledge, should answer your prayers. Fun facts about money makes for great material for a first date, water cooler office chat, and awkward networking events. So forget about asking people what they did on the weekend, or commenting on how lovely or awful the weather will be this week. You can now fill the uncomfortable void with this instead. What a time to be alive. 

So let’s take a tour of the world, one fact at a time. 

Fact 1: Send money with Wise for less

Fun facts about money in America 

Me: “Hey, America. What righteous money facts do you have in store for us today?”  

America: “ I’m a country not a person, I can’t answer your question.” 

Me: “Rude.” 

  • American pennies used to be a lot sassier. A penny designed by the OG Benjamin Franklin in 1789, used to have the motto “mind your business” printed on it. The cheek. 

  • An American Bill usually doesn’t live longer than 10-15 years. Sad. And in Delaware there’s a farm that uses four tons of the stuff as compost daily. 

  • Nowadays it costs more money to make a penny than a penny is actually worth with it costing 1.7 cents to make one coin. 

  • When Beyonce sang “best revenge is your paper” in her classic Lemonade album hit “Formation” she was actually wrong (sorry Bey). Turns out cash in the States is actually made out of  75% cotton and 25% linen. Like a really nice shirt, one that breathes. 

  • Got a crinkly note? Do not fear, a solution is here. If you pop an American banknote in the Microwave for about 20 seconds it will come out nice and crisp. Alternatively, you can soak it in Coca-Cola. The cocktail of chemicals in my favourite beverage will give your money a new lease of life. 

  • If you want to become a banknote engraver you’re going to have to study for 10 years. And you’ll have to be approved by the U.S Secretary of the Treasury. 

  • America produces more Monopoly money every year than actual money. 

  • If your dream is to appear on a dollar bill, I’m sorry to tell you that you’ll have to die first. Yes, you read that right. It’s against the law for any living people to appear on American money. Ugh, why can’t I be appreciated in my time. 

  • The secret service wasn’t actually created for spying. The mysterious institution was actually created after the Civil War when roughly half of cash in circulation was counterfeit. So they were founded to stop the spread of fake money.

  • A quarter has about 119 grooves and a dime has 118. They’re there to prevent people from scraping off the designs, melting the coins down and selling the metals off. 

Fun facts about money in the U.K. 

Now to add to your money knowledge with a trip to Britain. The land of crumpets, Cadbury’s creme eggs and coins that have been around for a really, really, really long time. Like a really long time. 

Here are a variety of facts that will likely replace actual useful knowledge in your brain: 

  • We love tradition in the U.K. It’s why we still eat disgusting fruit cake at Christmas even though literally nobody likes it. So it’s no surprise that the British pound is the oldest bit of money to still be used today. Long may it live. 

  • Queen Elizabeth turned 96 this April, but aside from wondering what moisturiser she uses (because my oh my does she look great), we also wondered how long her face has been popping up on our money. Well, it turns out she’s been on more coins and notes than any other monarch in the world, having featured on currencies in over 30 countries. 

  • A pound coin used to be equal to the weight of a pound of silver. Hence, the name. Obviously. 

  • Some of you may already know this, because it made headlines when our new polymer (plastic) banknotes were released in the U.K, but the new British note contains traces of animals. Cows and/or pigs to be precise. Not great. But on the flip side, you can use the new notes to play vinyl records thanks to the material it’s made out of. Wikky wikky wow.  

  • As mentioned in our Americana section, money is filthy. We should all be sanitising our hands a lot more. Well, the upside to our money in the U.K. being made of plastic is that it’s significantly more hygienic than other materials. Please still wash your hands though.

Fun facts about money from around the world 

It’s time to go Global. Pack your metaphorical bags and check in for a flight full of fun. Well, moderate fun. Well, we actually can’t promise anything. Anyway bring on the facts: 

  • We love a World War I documentary here in the U.K. They’re always on TV and every child had them popped on in class when the teacher just couldn’t be bothered anymore. But one nugget of wisdom that didn’t appear in the BBC delights we watched was that Germans would use banknotes as wallpaper or to cover windows during the war to keep their homes warm.  

  • When you hear the word Bitcoin you assume people who have it spend it on lavish things like yachts, and gold chains. It turns out that the first ever Bitcoin transaction took place at a Papa John’s. Laszlog Hanyecz spent 10,000 Bitcoin on two pizzas. At the time this was valued at $40 dollars, now that’d be worth $400 million. I’m a big fan of Papa J’s garlic dip but that’s a bit of a stretch. 

  • On the topic of digital money, it turns out that only 8% of the world's currency is actually physical, the rest is online or card transactions. 

  • The Icelandic population uses card more than any other country in the world. 80% of their 32,000 population use it for all their money needs. 

  • A study conducted by Oxford University found there are dirty stains of E.coli and salmonella, with some money having more germs on it than a toilet-seat. Yummy. 

  • Romania is home to the world's smallest note, the 10 bani, which was brought into the world in 1917. Cute. It measures at 27.5mm by 38mm. 

  • The world's largest note can be found in the Philippines at 22cm by 23cm. 

  • If you’re big on gardening and pesky little slugs are ruining the vibe of your eden, then put some pennies in the mud. The copper and zinc in the coins gives them a little bit of a shock. Sorry PETA. 

  • We’ve spoken about Micronesia’s Rai Stones before. But what we didn’t mention was that because they’re so heavy to transport, the value of each Rai Stone used to be determined based on how many people died while transporting them… Dark. 

  • The world is home to over 1.6 million ATM’s with one in every continent. However, Antarctica only has two. 

  • If you took all of the gold in the world and melted it down into a cube,  it would be 21 metres long each side.

This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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