Monday, September 04, 2017

A problem with coins - and bring back the $2 note

Here in Australia, a Melbourne pensioner went into Coles store with her daughter. The pair selected groceries and took them to the checkout. The total came to $130.

The pensioner then provided $100 in notes and $30 in Australian gold coins. The check-out operator said that she would accept the coins this time., but next time she can only accept $20 in gold coins.

Both pensioner and daughter were upset. The pensioner does understand EFTPOS, nor does she has an EFTPOS card, so she always pays cash.

So why was the store refusing to accept coins? They were legal tender.

The answer seems to lie in the Currency Act of 1965. While coins are legal tender, there are limits and you can’t pay more than “10 times the face value” of the coin.

I haven't checked the Act, but assuming this is correct the position would appear to be that the maximum you can pay in coins is:
  • 50 cents with 5 cents
  • $1 with ten cents
  • $5 with 50 cents
  • $10 with $1 coins
  • $20 with $2 coins. 
We all accumulate coins, more so since the Government did away with the $1 and $2 notes. They weigh in our wallets or accumulate in coin jars.Once the $2 note was abolished, we added the two dollar coins to our jars.

I don't know about you, but when I'm broke I raid the coin jar, apparently breaching the rules by offering more than the stated limits for each group of coins. This may sometimes annoy the shop person (you try counting 5 cent coins). but nobody has ever said to me that they could not accept the coins for legal reasons.

The problem that now arises is most acute with the one and two dollar coins, for these coins (and especially the $2 coin) still have real value. I really miss the $2 dollar note.It was just so practical in the minutiae of domestic life, especially for those on low incomes. who actually do watch their single dollars.


Anonymous said...


There's some difference between a $2 note and a $2 coin? Tell me more :)

On the 5c coin, I think I've mentioned before that the local general store has a coin jar for 5c pieces and, if you are short, you're very welcome to make it up by dipping in; corollary is - contribute whenevs you can.


Jim Belshaw said...

Well, kvd, apart from what appears to be the legal tender limitation, it would be much easier on my wallet!

Anonymous said...

Meanwhile, as well as watching my trees leaf up, I've begun to learn french:


Jim Belshaw said...

Watching, took me a second to work that one out, kvd. Then I laughed. Enjoy the leafing!