To ask the Prime Minister (a) whether businesses have the right to limit the number of coins a customer can use in a transaction; and (b) whether banks should be charging a deposit or administrative fee for coin deposits by businesses, especially SMEs.
Answer by Mr Lawrence Wong, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth on behalf of Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister in Charge of MAS:
1 Coins issued by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) are legal tender in Singapore for the payment of goods or services, up to the limits set out in the Currency Act. As specified in the Act, the legal tender limit for coins of denomination below 50-cents is two dollars. This means that a vendor is obliged to accept any number of coins of denomination below 50-cents for payment up to two dollars. For 50-cent coins, the limit is 10 dollars. There are no limits for payment by one-dollar coins.
2 Under the Act, if a vendor wishes to set a lower limit on the quantity of coins he will accept in a transaction, he must provide a written notice of this to his customers. This may, for example, be by way of displaying a written notice. Otherwise, all denominations of the coins tendered by a customer as payment up to the legal limits must be accepted.
3 Banks typically charge a deposit or administrative fee for coin deposits because they incur costs in handling coins. This includes sorting, authenticating, packing, and ensuring secure transportation of the coins. The setting of fees and charges for banking services are commercial decisions by the banks. But MAS expects banks to disclose the fees for their services so that consumers can make informed decisions.