THE rollout of coin deposit machines (CoDMs) in various parts of Metro will help alleviate the coin shortage in the country and cut the government’s losses in minting coins, according to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).
In the launch of the CoDMs on Tuesday, BSP Governor Felipe M. Medalla said the Philippines currently has a problem with coins given that its coins per capita have more than doubled in less than a decade.
There are 39 billion pieces of coins in circulation in the country. At 110 million Pinoys, this translates to around 355 coins per capita—a growth of 195 percent from the 120 coins per capita eight years ago.
“Can you imagine, even just 300 pieces of coins, pagkasinuot mo yan malalaglag ang pantalon mo [if you wear that on your body, your pants will fall off]. Now, why is that a problem? Well, people come home with coins. When they leave home, they leave the coins behind,” Medalla said.
“The coins stay somewhere [in] a jar, [on] a desk and it takes a long time before it’s circulated. That’s why we have an unbelievable amount, unbelievable, more than 300 pieces of coins per individual,” he added.
Medalla said since many coins are stored at home, it takes months for them to circulate. He said ideally, coins should change hands at least on a weekly basis, but because of the informal storage of coins in the country, coin circulation happens twice a year or less.
This prompts the BSP to mint additional coins which can be very expensive. Medalla said the government only spends P7 to print 1,000 peso bills but can spend P10 to make a 20-peso coin.
‘Worse and worse and worse’
“We look forward to significantly cutting our cost because the number of prices per capita increased from just 120 to over 350, in less than eight years. So that means the problem is getting worse and worse and worse,” Medalla said.
Through the CoDM project, the BSP encourages the public to deposit their idle coins stored in their jars, piggy banks, and other containers in accessible, convenient, and efficient coin exchange facilities in participating malls.
CoDMs allow customers to conveniently deposit legal tender coins and directly credit the equivalent amount to their GCash electronic wallets or, if they will exchange their coins in MOA, SM vouchers.
There is no cost to customers when exchanging their coins for shopping vouchers or e-wallet credits. The BSP is also not paying any rent in using mall space for the CoDMs.
The BSP also said there is no minimum and maximum amount to be deposited in CoDMs and converted into vouchers. However, for conversion to GCash, the minimum amount is P1.
“The BSP is likewise working with electronic money issuer Maya to onboard them to the project and provide more options to the public. This is in line with the central bank’s payment digitalization and financial inclusion agenda,” the BSP said in a statement.
The BSP is rolling out a total of 25 of the CoDMs across malls located in the Greater Manila area. The first three machines are in SM Mall of Asia (MOA); Robinsons Manila Supermarket; and Festival Mall in Muntinlupa while six more are expected to be made available in the next few days.
The machines will accept all denominations (i.e., 1-, 5-, 10-, and 25-Sentimo; and 1-, 5-, 10-, and 20-Piso) of the BSP Coin Series and the New Generation Currency Coin Series.
However, the machines will not accept unfit coins as well as demonetized denominations, foreign currency, and foreign objects such as tokens. These will be rejected and returned to the customer after being placed in the CoDMs.
Image credits: Nonie Reyes