An approximation based on reader feedback puts the average money lost in transactions due to shortage of one, five and 10 fils at Dh10 per month per household. Image Credit: Zarina Fernandes/Gulf News

Dubai: The UAE Central Bank and many banks operating in the country said they are not aware of any shortage of coins in the UAE.

A Central Bank official said the UAE Central Bank continues to mint all six denominations coins that are legal tender such as 1 fil, 5 fils, 10 fils, 25 fils, 50 fils and Dh1 in addition to a few commemorative coins.

When the issue of a shortage was mentioned, the Central Bank official said he is not aware of any shortage of coins in the market.

"What we can confirm is that we continue to mint these coins. But if these are not used in transactions there could be other reasons which we are not aware of," the official said.

Bankers said dealing in small change in cash transactions is not a big concern for banks, as they round off the decimal figures to the next possible higher figure.

"We handle transactions to the absolute value, that is, actual value up to 2 decimal places. Our fees are invariably ...without decimals," said Sathya Ram, senior manager — Regional Product Management (Payments & Receivables), HSBC Bank Middle East Limited.

Bankers said they rarely come across customers who insist on small change. "Across the counter transactions involving small change are very low as customers increasingly use electronic platforms. When we have such transactions, as far as possible it is settled to the full satisfaction of the customer," said a branch manager of Emirates NBD.

Banks usually do not keep a stock of coin denominations below Dh0.25, a senior banker of a local bank said. "However, in case of a higher than Dh0.25 fraction — say Dh0.35 or Dh0.37 — we usually pay Dh0.50, or the customer forfeits the loose change. Auditors and chartered accountants said the potential profits or losses from such transactions are insignificant on the balance sheets of banks.

U.R. Rao, a chartered accountant, said minor gains or losses at the close of banking hours are not significant enough to be reported separately.

Central Bank sources did not specify the amount of coins in circulation. A teller at an Emirates NBD branch in Abu Dhabi said, "As far as cheque payments are concerned, the full amount is credited. When paying in cash, we round off the payment to the last 25 fils of the total amount."

"We get our supply of small change from mainly customer deposits and from the supermarkets," the teller added.