# Which Data Type Is Best for Currency Amounts in SQL Server?

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Angela Bailey

When working with currency amounts in SQL Server, it is important to choose the right data type to ensure accuracy and efficient storage. There are several data types available for representing currency amounts in SQL Server, each with its own advantages and considerations. In this article, we will explore the different data types and discuss which one is best suited for currency amounts.

## Decimal Data Type

The decimal data type is commonly used for storing currency values in SQL Server. It provides precise decimal arithmetic and is suitable for financial calculations where accuracy is crucial. The decimal data type can store fixed-point numbers with up to 38 digits of precision.

For example, if you need to store a currency amount such as \$10,000.50, you can define a column as decimal(18, 2). In this case, 18 represents the total number of digits that can be stored (including both the whole and fractional parts), and 2 represents the number of digits after the decimal point.

## Money Data Type

The money data type is another option for storing currency amounts in SQL Server. It is a fixed-point data type that can store values ranging from -922,337,203,685,477.5808 to 922,337,203,685,477.5807 with an accuracy of four decimal places.

The money data type provides a good balance between storage efficiency and precision. However, it may not be suitable for applications that require high precision or when dealing with large values.

## SmallMoney Data Type

The smallmoney data type is similar to the money data type but with a smaller range and precision. It can store values ranging from -214,748.3648 to 214,748.3647 with an accuracy of four decimal places.

The smallmoney data type is ideal for applications that require storage efficiency and deal with smaller currency amounts where high precision is not necessary.

## Float and Real Data Types

While the float and real data types can also be used to store currency amounts, they are not recommended due to their inherent imprecision. These data types are designed for scientific calculations and approximate representations of real numbers.

If precise calculations or comparisons are required for currency amounts, it is best to avoid using float or real data types and opt for decimal, money, or smallmoney instead.

## Considerations

• Precision vs. Storage Efficiency: When choosing a data type for currency amounts, consider the required precision as well as the storage efficiency.

Decimal provides the highest precision but requires more storage space compared to money or smallmoney.

• Rounding and Truncation: Be mindful of rounding and truncation issues when performing calculations with currency values. Avoid intermediate conversions between different data types to minimize potential errors.
• Currency Symbols: Remember that SQL Server does not have a specific data type for currency symbols. The symbol itself is typically handled at the application layer rather than being stored in the database.

## Conclusion

In conclusion, when working with currency amounts in SQL Server, choosing the right data type is crucial for accuracy and efficiency. The decimal data type provides precise decimal arithmetic but requires more storage space compared to money or smallmoney.

The money data type offers a good balance between precision and storage efficiency, while the smallmoney data type is suitable for smaller currency amounts. Avoid using float or real data types for currency amounts that require precise calculations or comparisons. Consider the precision, rounding/truncation issues, and currency symbols when selecting a data type for currency amounts in SQL Server.