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I have a 100$ bill that has slight rip near the band, and no one wants it...

Be it Pounds ripped in half I would just change them at the nearest bank in UK to new ones, but these are not Pounds and I am not in the States...

Is there an institution that accepts bills like that in Cambodia? What do I do?

  • Iirc, occasionally there are local exchanges that 'specialise' in damaged notes, but these may or may not be around depending on where in Cambodia you are. Also expect a small fee for their service. Have you enquired at your accommodation if they know a business willing to take damaged notes? – MH. Mar 9 '17 at 7:51
  • @MH. Hi MH, nope I already super-glued it, bent it in a different spot so it wouldn't draw attention, and gave it in busy 'fresh mart' shop.... but not everyone is a scumbag like myself... honest people would benefit from this information. It took me 2 tries in total to get rid of it after I glued it... – Matas Vaitkevicius Mar 9 '17 at 11:43
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    @MatasVaitkevicius regular stores in Cambodia accept $100 bills? – JonathanReez Mar 9 '17 at 14:38
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    @JonathanReez this one did, I also got 100$ bills accepted at Phonm Penh Rail Station, and Lucky's supermarket near Central Market, and my guest house (they were first to not accept ripped one, so I let them choose from others I had) – Matas Vaitkevicius Mar 9 '17 at 17:40
  • @JonathanReez Another fun (and somewhat related) story, Today I have found street market nearby a truly 'Cambodian one' (nothing like central market, just meats, bugs, everything 'raw'), and one lady was selling cakes, so we agreed on price and then she refused to take 1$ note that had marker on it, just a slight draw over the edge where number one is... – Matas Vaitkevicius Mar 10 '17 at 15:07
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When the US changed it's design radically to the big head design, the counterfeiters dumped their stashes of old style small head bills in SE Asia and Africa. Now banks in SE Asia are very particular about US currency out of fear of a recurrence.

There is no easy solution other than walking from bank to bank, exchange window to exchange window and hope someone will be willing. Some folks will say that XYZ exchange took theirs, but it is really up to the clerk handling your visit, so not a guaranteed thing.

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    Finding an American tourist or ex-pat who is going to the US soon to trade it with would probably be easier. There's a reasonable chance someone will have Cambodian currency they want to trade away. – user56reinstatemonica8 Mar 10 '17 at 18:18
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This is a lot easier to do with smaller denominations, of course, but on a few occasions when I had to get rid of a $100 bill with an imperfection (small tear, etc.), I just went to different small changers (in the markets, not the money exchange businesses with their own store fronts) until I found one who didn't look closely. Some people will just take your money (even a $100 bill), throw it in the drawer, and give you your change. However, I speak Khmer and that may have been a (distracting) advantage.

I've also found that breaking hundreds at 'modern' supermarkets works, but again, you may have to try this a few times before you get a clerk who does not check your money. Going during a busy time when the lines are long and the clerks are moving fast could help. Obviously, this technique banks on human error!

It's unlikely, but if for some reason you have several $100 bills, you could try changing them at a bank or money changer; the more bills there are (of any low denomination), the less likely anyone is to check each bill. The higher the denomination, the less true this is. But at places frequented by 'rich' people (e.g. supermarkets, professional money changers, banks), clerks are more likely to give patrons the benefit of the doubt (and it's probably true that they also have less to lose in case a bill is damaged).

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Another way we found to get rid of ripped notes is to find someone who has a bank account in Cambodia then simply put the ripped money into a cash machine that puts it into your bank account, and then take them out immediately. Also, I recommend checking the notes that cash machine gives, we were given ones that had small holes and mold on them, we then brought them to till and they changed it to good ones.

I have also heard that in Sihanoukville one can exchange them to tokens in casinos and then exchange tokens back as money, however, we never used this method ourselves.

Another suggestion was to use money changing machines that change USD to Ryel, using them will cost some though.

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