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How many $100 bills is a strap?

In the world of cash transactions, especially illegal ones, slang terms have emerged to describe certain quantities of money. One of these terms is “strap,” which refers to a bundle of $100 bills held together with a rubber band. But exactly how many $100 bills make up a strap? Let’s take a closer look.

What is a Strap of Money?

A “strap” is street slang for a bundle of $100 bills that is bound together, usually with a rubber band. The term refers specifically to a quantity of $10,000 cash, comprised of 100 x $100 bills. Having this much cash on hand in paper currency is often associated with illegal activities like drug dealing, hence the slang terminology.

There are a few key features of a strap:

  • It contains only $100 bills
  • There are 100 bills total
  • The total value is $10,000
  • The bills are stacked and bound together, typically with a rubber band

So in essence, a strap is street lingo for a stack of one hundred $100 bills, banded together neatly in a bundle. It’s an easy way to refer to a large sum of cash from illegal enterprises without explicitly stating the amount.

Origin of the Term “Strap”

The origin of using “strap” to mean a bundle of money is unclear, but some possibilities include:

  • The rubber band wrapped around the cash “straps” the bundle together.
  • Carrying that much cash feels like strapping a weight around yourself.
  • The term refers to being “strapped for cash” and needing a large amount of money.

The use of “strap” in this way became popularized in rap lyrics and urban slang starting in the 1980s and 90s. Rappers would often boast about having “straps” of cash on hand as a sign of wealth and status.

Other Slang Terms for Bundles of Cash

While a “strap” specifically refers to $10,000 in $100 bills, there are many other slang terms for bundles and rubber-banded stacks of cash:

  • Brick – A bundle of cash, often $10,000 like a strap
  • Band – Also refers to $10,000, a stack of 100 bills
  • Stack – Can be any bundled quantity of cash
  • Roll – A stack of $1,000, or 10 bills of $100

The common theme is that the cash is stacked neatly and held together by rubber bands. The different terms may refer to different denominations and quantities, though “strap” is always 100 x $100 bills totaling $10,000.

What Can You Buy With a Strap?

Given that a strap equals $10,000 in cash, what kinds of things can you actually buy with that much money?

Item Approximate Cost
Used car $5,000 – $10,000
Diamond engagement ring $2,000 – $10,000
Luxury handbag $5,000 – $10,000
High-end TV $1,000 – $5,000
Gaming PC $1,000 – $3,000
Backyard pool $5,000 – $50,000

As you can see, $10,000 in cash would allow you to buy many big ticket consumer items, from jewelry to electronics to recreational equipment. Of course, most people don’t buy these things with straps of $100 bills in cash.

Straps and Street Crime

In reality, straps are most commonly associated with illegal street activity. Typical uses include:

  • Paying for illegal drugs in bulk
  • Settling debts between rival gangs
  • Bribing officials to turn a blind eye
  • Buying weapons illegally

Having this much cash on hand facilitates these types of underground transactions. For the average person, carrying around $10,000 in cash would be risky and impractical.

In fact, transporting over $10,000 in cash could be considered money laundering and arouse suspicion. Under federal banking laws, you must declare any amount over $10,000 when traveling internationally or depositing at a bank.

Largest Strap Cash Seizures

Given that straps of cash are commonly connected to crime, law enforcement often seizes huge quantities during raids and investigations. Some notable large strap seizures include:

  • In 1989, New York police seized $1 million in straps (100 straps) from a Brooklyn apartment.
  • US Customs agents at JFK airport seized $6.5 million in straps from smugglers in 1998.
  • The FBI seized $250,000 in straps, guns and drugs from a Los Angeles gang raid in 2020.

These examples show just how much money changes hands illegally using straps as the common form of payment. A single strap is worth a small fortune to the average person.

How Criminals Get Straps

So how do criminals actually get their hands on straps for illegal transactions? Here are some of the most common ways:

  • Drug dealing – Dealing large quantities of drugs like cocaine, heroin and meth brings in huge cash profits.
  • Money laundering – Laundering illicit profits into cash straps for untraceable transactions.
  • Extortion – Extracting thousands in cash from businesses as “protection money.”
  • Kidnapping – Demanding huge ransom payments in cash straps.

Many underworld enterprises are cash-based, and handling money in straps helps avoid detection. But ultimately, the criminal source of the money means violence and exploitation underpin these cash bundles.

Are Straps Still Used?

While the practice of using straps as bundles of cash is deeply rooted in the history of street crime, their usage today is less common for several reasons:

  • Electronic payments – With digital transactions, large amounts of cash are less necessary.
  • Money laundering oversight – Banks must report suspicious cash transactions over $10,000.
  • Asset forfeiture laws – Allow confiscation of large sums of cash connected to crime.
  • Risk of theft – Carrying huge cash bundles is dangerous and risky.

For these reasons, straps are less central to modern criminal enterprises. Electronic banking and cryptocurrency provide more secure ways to transfer large sums discretely.

That said, there is still a psychological impact when talking about money in terms of straps. Rappers still boast about “having 10 straps” even if that cash is not literally bundled up in hand.


In summary, a “strap” of cash refers to a bundle of 100 x $100 bills totaling $10,000. The term originated as urban slang and is strongly tied to street crime and the drug trade. While not as widely used today, a strap still conjures up images of shady back-alley deals and suitcases full of cash. The idea of having a stack of straps symbolizes “making it rain” with huge sums of dirty money.

So in the criminal underworld, a strap is $10,000, 100 bills, a rubber band, and most likely, a lot of trouble.