Dubai: It may be informally called Bank Street, but there isn't a fils to be found there.
Gulf News visited 10 different financial institutions on Khalid Bin Al Waleed Street in Bur Dubai on Thursday with one simple mission: Break one Dh10 bank note into small change.
But that seemingly simple task proved to be mission impossible. After an hour's walking and waiting at different banks, Gulf News came up empty-handed. Not a single bank could provide coins smaller than 25 fils.
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Earlier, the UAE Central Bank told Gulf News that smaller denomination coins, such as 1 fils, 5 fils and 10 fils are readily available and are still in circulation.
The Ministry of Economy also advised consumers who don't get the proper change to lodge a complaint at their hotline number: 60052225.
With no small coins available in the banks visited by Gulf News on Khalid Bin Al Waleed Street, it seems as if that hotline number should be ringing off the hook.
At the Commercial Bank of Dubai, there were three tellers behind the counter.
When asked to break the Dh10 into small change, one teller offered 25 fils, 50 fils and Dh1 coins.
Video: In search for the elusive 1, 5 and 10 Fils coins
"There are no 5 fils or 10 fils coins any more," the teller said. Her two colleagues had 25 fils and 50 fils coins.
"The 5 fils and 10 fils coins are not available," she told Gulf News.
Around the corner, at Bank Meli Iran, a cashier said he could break the Dh10 note into 25 fils, 50 fils and Dh1 coins. "No sir, we don't carry 1 fils, 5 fils or 10 fils coins," he said. "I don't think they're in circulation anywhere in the UAE."
If an item was priced at Dh19.95 and a customer handed Dh20, how could he get his 5 fils change.
"I don't know, sir," the teller said. "That's a complaint you'd have to take up with the store in question."
At Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, a teller said that the bank did not carry 1 fils, 5 fils or 10 fils coins.
"I can give you 25 fils and 50 fils," the teller said. "That's the smallest we carry."
At the Habib Bank of Zurich — one would imagine that the Swiss know a thing or two about banking and should have the proper coins — there was no such luck.
"Sorry sir," the teller said. "We only have 25 fils and 50 fils coins. I don't think anyone carries 1 fils, 5 fils or 10 fils coins." At HBL, a teller with 30 years of experience told Gulf News he couldn't remember the last time he had seen a 5 fils or 10 fils coin.
"No one uses them," he said. "I don't even think the Central Bank issues them any more," he said as his supervisor agreed.
At Bank Sadaret Iran, Gulf News also struck out trying to break the Dh10 note.
No such thing
"We only have 25 fils or 50 fils coins — I don't think there's any such thing as a 5 fils or 10 fils coin," the teller said.
At Union National Bank, a female teller told Gulf News she had no small coins.
Asked where the 5 fils and 10 fils could be obtained, she said: "Sir, I don't know. That's not my problem."
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At Emirates NDB, the staff said that the 5 fils and 10 fils coins were only available from the Central Bank. "We don't have any right now," a teller said.
A banking employee there said that he was aware Gulf News is raising the issue of consumers getting their correct change.
"There aren't many small coins available any more," he said.
At Al Ghurair Exchange, customers were lining up to make money transfers and change money. But staff there said the Exchange did not carry any coins smaller than 25 fils.
At Mashreq Bank, just as with the other nine financial institutions on the street, there were also no small coins available.
"We haven't had any in a while," a teller said.