Currency and banking

Like the rest of the UK we use pounds sterling (£) in Wales. There are 100 pence (p) to the pound (£). Notes come in denominations of £5, £10, £20 and £50. Coins come in 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p, 50p, £1 and £2.

In larger towns and cities almost everywhere accepts credit and debit cards. From big department stores to independent boutiques, fine dining restaurants to local cafes, you'll find it easy to pay with a card. Contactless payment is increasingly widespread. Cash dispensers accepting all major international credit and debit card brands are widely available too.

couple carrying shopping bags in Cardiff shopping arcade
shopping in St David's 2 Shopping Centre, Cardiff
shoppers walking in St Mary's Street, Cardiff with buildings in the background
Shopping in Morgan Arcade, St Davids 2 Shopping Centre and St Mary's Street, Cardiff

Cost of living in Wales

Compared with the rest of the UK, the cost of living here in Wales is low. Most of the population enjoy a high standard of living. With some of the UK's most unspoilt countryside and coastline right on the doorstep, increasing numbers of people are moving to Wales in search of a better work-life balance.

Average weekly costs in Wales for things like food, travel and entertainment tend to be around 15% lower than in the UK." 

Living costs in Wales do of course depend on where you live and how much you earn. Salaries compare well with those in many parts of the UK outside the big cities like London, Edinburgh and Manchester. People here typically earn around 11% less than the UK average, but average weekly costs in Wales for things like food, travel and entertainment tend to be around 15% lower than in the UK. Property prices which are usually people's biggest monthly expense are significantly lower here too. You'll pay on average 35% less for a property in Wales compared with the UK as a whole.

Eating and drinking in Wright’s Food Emporium. Cardiff
Eating and drinking in Wright’s Food Emporium. Cardiff

Money made in Wales

Did you know all the UK's coins are actually made in Wales? The Royal Mint is based in Llantrisant, south east Wales. It doesn't just make coins for the UK either. It's known worldwide for its long tradition of craftsmanship and the high quality of its coins. It's actually the world's leading export mint, making coins for around 60 different countries across the globe.

close inspection of a newly minted fifty pence coin at Royal Mint, Llantrisant
Coins in display
Close inspection of a newly minted fifty pence coin at The Royal Mint, Llantrisant and  coins manufactured at The Royal Mint, Llantrisant

The Royal Mint as an institution dates back over 1000 years but the current site in Llantrisant was opened by HM The Queen in 1968. It employs around 900 people. In just one year, they make a staggering five billion coins. That’s a lot of currency!

The Royal Mint Experience

The Royal Mint Experience is one of south Wales' most popular tourist attractions. It's open daily and features discovery zones looking at the history of the Royal Mint and how coins are designed, made and kept safe from theft. You'll also get to see rare and extremely valuable coins and medals from down the ages.

Find out more about what you can expect when visiting The Royal Mint Experience on the Visit Wales website.

Medals from the London 2012 Olympic Games, manufactured The Royal Mint Experience, Llantrisant
Medals at The Royal Mint Experience, Llantrisant
Medals from the London 2012 Olympic Games, manufactured The Royal Mint Experience, Llantrisant and Medals at The Royal Mint Experience, Llantrisant

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