IT’S known that banks and moneychangers don’t accept foreign coins due to the inconvenience and cost of dealing with them.
Over the decades, I’ve kept foreign coins, and recently, when I calculated and converted them to our currency, it was a significant amount of dead capital.
Many years ago, a moneychanger was willing to take popular foreign coins, but charged a hefty 50 per cent on the foreign exchange rate to exchange the coins.
For less popular countries and smaller denominations, the charge was 80 per cent, which was below the recycle value of the metal.
Since then, no banks or moneychangers would accept foreign coins. Recently, I went to one bank and a moneychanger, but they turned me down.
Granted, the cost of identifying, transporting and processing foreign coins is more compared with notes, but I’m sure there are people who would pay a sensible and reasonable commission to exchange these foreign coins into our currency.
This is more so during economic challenges when dead capital can be revived to be used for something useful.
Bank Negara Malaysia needs to initiate a coin exchange programme to ensure that foreign coins are exchanged at a reasonable rate.
The exchange must be open to currencies from less well-known countries. Such a facility would stimulate the economy.
In some Western countries, some private exchange businesses that deal with foreign coins have liaisons with the countries’ central banks to ensure the exchange of foreign coins.
Some people with a lot of foreign coins collected over the years want to donate the coins to charity, but some institutions don’t accept foreign coins if they can’t liquefy the holdings to use as capital.
Novice collectors who lose interest in coin collecting could redeem their collection and may profit if there is an active market for foreign coins.
In this borderless world and open economy, foreign coins are not small change to ordinary people like myself. For example, a US$0.50 coin or 50 pence coin is worth a few ringgit. How much would a jar or two of these coins be worth?
Perhaps, politicians can push for and initiate a reasonable foreign coin exchange platform? If the “Low Yat 2” Digital Mall can materialise, why can’t a foreign coin exchange business?
This is an economic activity that can thrive, but not if the coins can’t be exchanged and is left hidden as paper weight.
NG SHU TSUNG