Dubai: Soiled and torn banknotes are making shopping difficult for many residents.

Most shops reject banknotes that are in a bad state, complain residents.

A Dubai resident said he got a Dh50 banknote as change from a cashier after paying for his groceries. "I used that banknote at other shops, but they would not accept. I was told that banks are not accepting such banknotes," the resident said.

Bankers said people have the right to reject soiled or torn banknotes. Mohammad Al Ghufaili, branch manger of Sharjah Islamic Bank, said: "Generally, people don't know what to do with banknotes which are in a bad condition."

Even ATMs don't accept such banknotes, Al Ghufaili said. "ATMs will not recognise such banknotes," he said.

Another resident said a taxi driver refused to take a torn Dh10 because it was fixed with a tape. "I don't know what to do with that money," he said.

A coffee shop owner said some customers pay using soiled or torn banknotes. "If we reject that banknote, they tell us that they don't have any other money; forcing us to accept the damaged banknote," he said.

A banker said some shops accept damaged banknotes for less than the actual amount. "Some shops take a torn Dh20 banknote for Dh19," said the banker.

Banks generally accepts such notes from individuals or companies provided the person or the company has an account with the bank.

"Banks usually accept spoiled or torn banknotes from their own customers," said the branch manger of Sharjah Islamic Bank.

Al Ghufaili said banks send damaged notes to the central bank, which replaces them.