Coins: What you can and can’t do

Got hundreds of coins you want to use, or a random 10 New Zealand piece that snuck into your pocket?

The story about an Adelaide man, who unsuccessfully tried to pay a $60 fine with 5 cent pieces got me thinking, what exactly can you do with all that shrapnel you've probably got scattered in bottom draws or jean pockets around the home? Furthermore, what about that random 10 New Zealand cent piece that found its way into your change box?
According to the , Australian coins are legal tender for payment as long as they do not:
- exceed $5 of any combination of 5 cent, 10 cent, 20 cent and 50 cent coins are offered. That means for example, you can only use 100 single 5 cent pieces in a transaction.
- exceed 10 times the face value of the coin if $1 or $2 coins are offered. That means, you can only use 10 $1 coins, or $2 coins for a transaction.
What about the old copper 1 cent and 2 cent pieces I hear you ask?

Well, if you still have them, then they too are still legal tender, despite being withdrawn from circulation in 1992, but they cannot exceed 20 cents. In other words, you can only use 20 1 cent pieces for a transaction.
But what if your coins are damaged?

Damaged currency is invalid, but, the Royal Australian Mint says that if you have damaged or worn coins, you can deposit them with your bank for full face value.
If the coins however, are mutilated, then your bank will require you to complete a Mutilated Coin Claim Form. This only really happens when there are a substantial number of coins significantly damaged, because the Mint will only pay scrap value, and not the full face value of the deposit.
I found it harder to get an exact response to what to do with those random coins from New Zealand or Fiji that mysteriously make their way into our financial system. You know the ones! The ones that get passed onto you at some retailers unawares. You then try to fob them off, or attempt to use them in vending machine unsuccessfully.
Well, the RBA and the Royal Mint had no official line for me, and the banks had no official policy, so it seems, that if you've got a few of these alien coins, then you're stuck with them, or you can take them to a foreign exchange booth, and convert the currency back to Australian dollars or cents….. or keep them as a memento, of a place you may or may not have been to.

3 min read
Published 17 September 2013 at 4:03pm
By Ricardo Goncalves
Source: SBS