In every exchange rate quotation there are two currencies. The currency being priced is known as the primary currency. The exchange rate is usually quoted so that one unit of the primary currency is expressed in terms of a variable number of units of the other currency. The other currency is known as the counter currency.

In the exchange rate quotation GBP 1 = 1.6012, the primary currency being priced is the pound sterling. One pound is expressed as 1.6012 units of the US dollar. The pound is the primary currency and the dollar the counter currency.

In the exchange rate quotation USD 1 = CAD 1.0195, the USD dollar is the primary currency and the Canadian dollar is the counter currency. The US dollar is priced in Canadian Dollar terms.