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In many countries (particularly developing countries), the best way to get a good exchange rate on the local currency is to exchange $100 USD dollar bills - and $100 dollar bills get a substantially better exchange rate from local traders than lower denominations of bank note.

But most banks and high street currency exchange places in London give dollars in mixed denomination pre-packed bundles (unless you preorder in advance), so if you're buying dollars specifically for exchange abroad, most of what you get either won't be accepted for exchange or will get a lower rate.

Is there anywhere in London I can get hundred dollar bills over the counter?

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    You sure you can't just go to a bank and specify $100 bills? Especially a highly trafficked bank like say, HSBC on New Regent St? – Mark Mayo Oct 22 '15 at 11:47
  • Nope, at least, not HSBC. They (and the post office too) use pre-packed pre-sealed packages of notes of varied denominations, unless you specifically order in advance – user568458 Oct 22 '15 at 11:53
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    @user568458 not any post office I've changed money in (mainly euros recently). They've always had a normal cash drawer. In fact pre-ordering has been the best way to not get too many large denominations. – Chris H Oct 22 '15 at 15:49
  • I did this last month without difficulty in the Post Office. I've never seen pre-packed packages of US dollars in the Post Office; they tend only to do that with obscure currencies they don't keep in stock. But possibly if you went to an small local post office without an currency counter you might end up with pre-packaged dollars. – Richard Smith Jul 7 '16 at 15:54
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I didn't have any success at the big-name places like high street banks or the post office, but the first small, one-desk generic no name exchange bureau I went next to Victoria station had no problem giving me exclusively $100s (and gave a reasonable rate).

So I'd suggest simply going to an area with plenty of small / independent exchange shops (there tend to be clusters near the big stations) and ask until you find one with a good rate that is flexible on notes.

It seems like, the smaller and more informal the exchange shop, the more likely they are to dish out cash from simple rolls of bank notes rather than having pre packed bundles or restrictive policies.

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