BSP Launches Coin Deposit Machines

BSP Governor Felipe Medalla (centre), Deputy Governor Bernadette Romulo-Puyat (left), and BDO chair and SM Investments Corp. Vice Chair Teresita Sy-Coson (right) at the launch of the CoDMs at SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City.

BSP Governor Felipe Medalla (centre), Deputy Governor Bernadette Romulo-Puyat (left), and BDO chair and SM Investments Corp. Vice Chair Teresita Sy-Coson (right) at the launch of the CoDMs at SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City.  Credit: © BSP.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has launched Coin Deposit Machines (CoDM) in partnership with several retailers, aiming to promote efficient coin recirculation in the country. According to the bank, the machines are ‘accessible, convenient, and efficient coin exchange facilities’.

In collaboration with three organisations – SM Retail, Inc., Robinsons Supermarket Corporation, and Filinvest Lifemalls Corporation – the first set of machines were launched in three malls on the main island Luzon, the most populous island in the Philippines. The Bank plans to deploy six more machines across the Greater Manila Area next, with a total of 25 CoDMs planned for the initial rollout.

Through the project, the BSP is encouraging members of the public to deposit their idle coins stored in jars, piggy banks etc. in participating malls. The machines accept all denominations of both the BSP Coin series and the current New Generation Currency Coin Series.

CoDMs allow users to deposit their legal tender coins and directly credit the equivalent amount to their GCash e-wallets. Customers at two of the malls can also choose to redeem the value of the deposited coins in the form of shopping vouchers.

The BSP has also announced that it is working with electronic money issuer Maya to onboard them onto the project – which will provide more crediting options to users. It has said that this is in line with the BSP’s payment digitalisation and financial inclusion agenda.

BSP Deputy Governor Bernadette Romulo-Puyat noted that the use of the CoDMs ‘will significantly help in the circulation of fit coins and the removal of unfit and mutilated ones from circulation’. As mentioned earlier, the central bank aims ‘to address the artificial coin shortage in certain areas of the country and help ensure that only fit and legal tender currency is readily available for public use’.

Other initiatives

Speaking at the Coin Conference in Amsterdam last year, Managing Director (Currency and Securities Production Sub-Sector) Mary Anne P. Lim, detailed several measures that the BSP was taking to improve coin circulation in the country as part of its Coin Recirculation Program. Referring to CoDMs during the presentation, it was estimated that roughly 20.3 billion pesos in minting costs could be saved in the first two years of deployment.

As of the end of June 2022, 337 pieces coins were held per capita (vs total population) and the Bank was concerned about coin hoarding, with a seizure of a stockpile of 1 peso coins (amounting to about 50 million pesos) taking place in October 2021 from a warehouse. In view of these concerns, the BSP was advocating for the passage of a law around the hoarding of an extremely large volume of coins.

One of the flagship policies initiated by the BSP over the COVID period was the Cash Service Alliance (CSA). This aims to ‘enable all [banks] to enter into a mutually beneficial agreement to service requirements for fit Philippine currency of other banks from their available currency holdings’.

The CSA largely involves banknotes, but 26.7% of the total coin requirement for 2022 was provided for through the programme. The central bank plans to implement service fees for coin deposits and withdrawals in order to improve the CSA Coin Performance and participation rate.

In addition, the BSP held a Palit Pera or Currency Exchange Drive which involved the establishment of booths in high-foot traffic areas in the regions to facilitate actual exchange of unfit banknotes and coins.

Public information campaigns were also conducted, driven by the holding of briefings, seminars and lectures on currency-related topics. Infomercial videos and social media content gained traction online with a maximum reach over 450,000 and a positive overall reception.

Mary Anne P. Lim concluded that the BSP initiatives on coin recirculation were expected to reduce the bank’s operational costs in terms of production and distribution of coins. The central bank endeavours to keep abreast of the evolving technological developments and continuously embeds new technologies in its currency-related projects, as shown by its launch of the new CoDMs.