BSP’s coin deposit machines convert millions of idle coins into e- wallet credits and shopping vouchers

A CoDM user prepares to deposit his coins in the CoDM located in SM Mall of Asia.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is encouraging Filipinos who have accumulated idle coins to convert these to e-wallet credits or shopping vouchers by using Coin Deposit Machines (CoDM) installed at selected shopping malls in the country.

BSP Deputy Governor Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said the CoDMs have been popular and effective, having received a total of 42.4 million coins valued at P114.9 million in less than four months from its launching last 20 June to 06 October.

She explained that the CoDMs serve two purposes: to improve coin circulation in the country and to encourage people to convert the coins they have saved into E-wallet credits (i.e., GCash and Maya) and shopping vouchers. Fit coins collected through the machines are issued to partner retailers who use these for their daily transactions.

“We would like to thank our participating retailers and coin savers, especially those who have been promoting the usage of CoDMs on social media, for being instrumental in the program’s continued popularity and success,” she added.

As of 10 October, all 25 CoDMs are fully operational in key locations within the Greater Manila Area: two in SM Mall of Asia, Pasay City; and one each in SM City North EDSA, Quezon City (QC), SM City Fairview, QC; SM City San Lazaro, Manila; SM City Bicutan, Parañaque; SM City Bacoor, Cavite; SM Megamall, Mandaluyong City; SM City Grand Central, Caloocan; SM City Marilao, Bulacan; SM City Taytay, Rizal; SM Hypermarket FTI, Taguig City; SM Southmall, Las Piñas City; SM City Sucat, Parañaque; SM City Calamba; SM City Marikina; SM City San Mateo, Rizal; SM City Valenzuela; Robinsons Place Ermita, Manila; Robinsons Place, Galleria, Ortigas; Robinsons Place Metro East, Pasig City; Robinsons Place Novaliches, QC; Robinsons Place Antipolo, Rizal; Robinsons Place Magnolia, QC; and Festival Mall, Muntinlupa City.

Faith David, a 28-year-old entrepreneur from Bulacan, shared her positive experience with the BSP’s CoDM at SM North EDSA. After depositing roughly 8 kilos of 25-centavo coins, she was delighted to see her spare change have amounted to P766.12.

“Palagi akong nagda-dalawang isip na magpapalit ng mga barya sa bangko kasi iniisip ko na maliit lang naman ang halaga nito,” Faith explained. “Pero nagulat ako nang nakita ko ‘yung total amount ng mga baryang hinulog ko sa CoDM na malaki pala ang halaga. Bukod pa dito, madali gamitin at mabilis din ang proseso sa paggamit ng machine.”

The Need for Efficient Coin Recirculation

BSP Deputy Director Jann Ryan Jose shared that the use of the coin deposit machines was conceptualized in 2021. “A case was made for a cash recycler program because we had about 36 billion coins in circulation then, but there seemed to be an artificial shortage in some areas in the Philippines,” he recalled.

As of April 2023, there were 39.1 billion coins circulating in the Philippines. This means that on average, each Filipino has around 358 coins. This figure is almost three times the 2005 average of 121 coins per individual.

When coins are not recirculated and left idle, an artificial coin shortage can happen in certain regions. This increases the likelihood of businesses shortchanging their customers, a violation of Republic Act No. 10909 or the “No Shortchanging Act of 2016.”[1] Shortchanging is the act of giving insufficient or no change to a consumer who purchased a product or service.

Beyond coin recirculation

Faith believes in the CoDMs’ potential.

“Sana dumami pa ang available na CoDMs para mas marami pa ang maka gamit at makapag palit ng mga baryang nakatago lang sa kanilang mga bahay,” she noted.

To ensure the optimal performance of the machines, the BSP cautions the public against inserting foreign objects such as screws, tokens, washers, buttons, and coins that are wrapped in tape or paper. Meanwhile, coins that don’t meet the criteria, including demonetized or foreign coins, are rejected and returned to the user.

While the CoDMs may accept unfit and mutilated coins, the machines follow a criteria for accepting coins: all coins from the BSP Coin Series and BSP New Generation Currency Coin Series are accepted by the machines.