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The Deutsche Mark (DM) was the primary currency of Germany until 1 January 2002, when the Euro (€), currency of the European Union, was introduced into general circulation. The Deutsche Mark is no longer accepted anywhere in Germany, nor are any of the former currencies of any other members of the so-called "Euro Zone: such as the French Franc, the Dutch Guilder, Austrian Schilling, Italian Lira, etc. If you still have some of these banknotes, they are no longer valid or exchangeable in North America. However, in Europe it is still possible to exchange former currencies for Euros according to the Deutsches Bundesbank website (English version). Exchange policies vary by country and what particular banknotes you possess. Germany will continue to accept Deutsche Mark banknotes and coins for exchange into Euros, either in person at Bundesbank branches or by mail (details on their website).
Currency Exchanges (Geldwechsel) - You can find currency exchange desks at any airport you arrive into, most train stations (Bahnhof) in larger towns and cities and all banks or you can use your ATM card at most ATM's in Germany. ATMs are known in German as Bankomat. ATMs are multilingual so your Visa or debit card should be used without problems. Some banks have a reciprocal agreement with other banks (for example Deutsche Bank with Barclays and Bank of America) which saves on bank charges when using the ATM. Check with your bank before you travel. Also big cities will have branches of major banks (eg Citibank) that may help you to get money with lower fees. Try to use main bank branches as ATMs at railway stations or convenience stores may charge extra.
With regards to currency exchange all banks and exchanges will display two figures - one is what they will buy your Dollars, Pounds, Franks, Pesos, etc. at; the other is what they will sell you Dollars, Pounds, Franks, Pesos, etc. for. Since you are trading a different currency into Euros, you will need to look at the rate posted under € - Sell, which is always higher than the rate posted under € - Buy.
Coins and Bills (Muenzen und Banknoten) - The Euro is circulated in denominations up to 500 Euro in coins of .10, .20, .50, 1, 2, and 5, and bank notes of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500. Larger notes over 100 Euro may not be readily accepted in some smaller restaurants or shops. ATMs will normally distribute notes up to €50. Changing money or traveller's cheques can be done in most major banks and also in airports, railway stations etc. Look out for the exchange rate though as it varies. To see photos of actual Euro notes, visit Euro Notes. For coins, look at Euro Coins. Note also that the motifs on coins vary from country to country within the European Union but are valid anywhere the Euro is accepted. (Do not be concerned that accepting a Euro in Greece, which has Hellenic themes on it, will not be valid in Germany.)
Be aware that CREDIT CARDS are not widely accepted in Germany. Especially, if you are from the UK or U.S it is important to know that smaller shops, such as bakeries, butchers, news agents, etc. only accept CASH or the German EC card (a bank card). It is always a good idea to check before you buy or sit down to a meal to ensure which type of payment is accepted or that your particular brand is readily accepted (American Express can be a problem). Be aware the American Express Card is only rarely accepted even by banks, the phone number on your card is generally useless. You cannot make collect calls from most German phones. If you got a German SIM card, it will not allow you to make collect calls. Most stores and restaurants will display the logos of the brands they accept on their door(s), but it is still wise to ask before ordering. Most petrol stations accept nearly every type of credit card offered.
As of 2015 credit cards, e.g. Mastercard were accepted almost everywhere - BUT you must have a 4 digit pin to enter into the handheld transaction device as this has replaced the signature and provides added security. The transaction is still processed as a credit (not a debit). If you do not have a pin for your credit card be sure to get one before you get to Germany as the process can take a few days.
Traveller's Checks (Reiseschecks) - These are universally accepted throughout Germany, but here, as elsewhere in Europe, you will be charged a fee for their use which sometimes can be quite large. Ask before you sign a check!