Channel NewsAsia

Are 5-cent coins still needed?

Some online reports are questioning if the 5-cent coin is still relevant after netizens complained they had experienced retailers and other businesses refusing to accept the tiny coins.

SINGAPORE: Under the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) Currency Act, merchants have to accept payments of five-cent coins up to a value of S$2. However, for merchants who see five-cent coins as a hassle, they are allowed to refuse accepting them, provided that a notice is displayed to explain their policy. Without such a notice, five-cent coins have to be accepted.

A visit to Shunfu Mart found that while some stall owners are not receptive of the five-cent coins, they still grudgingly accept them. Mr Bibi Mohamad, the owner of Wak Limah Store at the food centre said he will only accept it if only a couple of coins are used. “But if there are too many, for instance - S$2.50 worth of five-cent coins, then I will not accept it during peak hours. It is wasting my time and other customers are waiting,” he said.

Another vendor Chai Lip Kai, who sells dry goods at Shunfu Mart agreed: “If I were to take the coins and change it for other customers, they would not want to take them.” Stalls like Chocolat N' Spice put up a sign of not accepting five-cent coins, citing bank charges as the reason.

However, MP for Chua Chu Kang GRC Zaqy Mohamad said five-cent coins are still relevant to some businesses, and advised retailers who do not want to accept five-cent coins to prominently display notices at their premises.

"Retailers should put up notices for whatever reason they do not want to accept five-cent coins because the legal tender for five-cent coins goes up to S$2,” he said. “Retailers also need to consider customer satisfaction, because customers also need to pay for goods and they may have coins to offload. It is just a service that you are providing."
MAS said the frequency of using five-cent coins would be considered in deciding whether to withdraw them from circulation.