In most countries I can think of including my own, prices are usually done with the currency symbol first, then the price like "£12.34" or "$98.76". I seem to imagine somewhere I went as a child I saw it suffixed instead, like "12.34£" but I can't remember where.

How common are prefixing and suffixing in relation to each other? And in countries which use the "minority" system, how rigorously is this adhered to? I imagine street vendors with handwritten signs would use the one most common in that country, but what about big businesses dealing with international companies? Do they change to use the more "common" one?

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    Go into windows region settings, change the country and as you change it you will see how is the currency written.. – Nean Der Thal Dec 8 '14 at 3:38
  • This is mostly about language and orthography. Only rarely will two countries with the same language choose a different way of formatting currencies. The same goes for which of . vs , as decimal point and which as thousands separator. This would be an on-topic question on the proposed Languages site but I don't feel it's got anything to do with travelling. – hippietrail Dec 8 '14 at 5:36
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    This question appears to be off-topic because it is about languages and not about a problem faced by travellers. – hippietrail Dec 8 '14 at 5:39
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    @hippietrail It's not strictly about language, Switzerland has different conventions for prices than either France or Germany. – Relaxed Dec 8 '14 at 7:13
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    Beware of assumptions. In the EU, for example, most countries put the currency symbol afterwards. And using a comma as a decimal mark is actually the rule or at least very common in the world so your “common system” isn't by any means universal. People from countries using “4,5 $” would typically think of this as a regular way and to the extent that they know it's not universal wonder why the “English” do things differently… – Relaxed Dec 8 '14 at 7:30

In all cases where the currency does not have a symbol, it is appended with its ISO code; this is also the case where the symbol is not standardized.

Wikipedia has a currency symbol entry where you can see various abbreviations used for currencies; note not all are symbols (a single glyph).

The general rule is, unless its a symbol it is always post-fixed:

  • 123,456.78 KD (Kuwaiti Dinar) and not KD 123,456.78
  • $123,456 and 123,456 USD
  • ₱23.34 and not 23.34₱ but 23.34 PhP or 23.34 PHP

In all international transactions, the ISO4217 code is used as this is what is supported by the main interchange systems and networks (like SWIFT).

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    I believe this only answers the question for formatting the currencies of various nations in text written in English. It doesn't address other languages. Be aware that languages ≠ countries. It may well be that in French or Russian the $ or £ goes at the end even in writing about the currencies of English-speaking countries. – hippietrail Dec 8 '14 at 5:42
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    I don't believe that's true. In English we write the currency symbol to the left, use "," as thousands separator and "." as decimal point no matter the currency. But you can see Europeans writing here very commonly with the "$" or "€" after the number and, less commonly, using "," as a decimal point. But it could be that some languages might follow the formatting used in the country of the foreign currency and Arabic could be one of those. – hippietrail Dec 8 '14 at 5:54
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    @BurhanKhalid Not correct according to which norm? The relevant ISO standard certainly does not specify that. The rest is simply habits and customs so there is no basis to call one usage correct or incorrect in general. Using a symbol after the amount is certainly considered proper typography in some countries. – Relaxed Dec 8 '14 at 9:45
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    @BurhanKhalid: In Germany, currency symbols are usually written behind the number, and that is transferred to foreign currencies just as well. Check out this stock overview, for example, where values counted in USD are written in formats such as "1.196,08 $". – O. R. Mapper Dec 8 '14 at 10:06
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    @Relaxed: It will be correct or incorrect to a similar extent that something in a language is correct or incorrect. For English there is no standards body but for many languages and/or countries there is. But even when there's not many people still feel pretty strongly about right and wrong and there are also self-styled usage or "grammar" experts and there are style guides, etc. And don't confuse typography with orthography. – hippietrail Dec 8 '14 at 10:46

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