CHOICE membership

Laws Regarding Australian Coinage


One would certainly want to boycott any business who refused to accept a mere 20 coins ofered in payment for essentials.


I wouldn’t boycott the business. When one takes such an approach, one needs to consider impacts on the business and that other customers.

I would get very frustrated if say I queued at a checkout and the person in from of me decided to pay their weekly shop/tank of fuel/meal with 5, 10, 20 and 50 cent pieces. Doing such not only causes additional time to the business, but inconveniences those who may be waiting in line also waiting to be served. It is also likely that the checkout operator may also struggle to count large amounts of coinage.

Possibly this is why the Australian Currency Act 1965 (section 16) that states coins are not legal tender if they are used excessively.

For the record, when we empty out a money box which contains shrapnel from a few months, we take them to the bank to deposit. Banks can accept and also have counting machines for coins (which not only saves one time and effort)…the average retailer doesn’t have such facilities.


No fun for our protesters then :frowning_face:

While I was aware of the Aussie coinage edict it makes one wonder about teaching youngsters to save a few coins when they can, and how this all transitions into the cashless society when ANZ, Wespac, NAB, CBA, and a few others are down and you cannot pay for anything. Maybe those few coins you had saved away but that are a few too many would get rejected even then?

BTW, I think while they referenced the ‘fine’ it was really the sales tax.


It’s and interesting scenario.
Our local bakery/coffee expert is more than happy to take my small change every time! The more the better.

They have many casual drop bys who when they pay with cash only have notes, so a little coin goes a long way. It saves them having to collect a large float of cash from the bank.


When I worked for Local Govt in the early 1980’s we had a sign at the counter refusing payment in bulk coin (as per the Act). There were a few ratepayers who were protesting by paying in small coin denominations, usually on the last day, just after the bank closed. Staff had to stay back to count - no internet banking - people paid in cash or cheque at the counter and were given a handwritten Kalamazoo receipt. I wonder what those protesters would make of the size of their rates today?

On the other side - when our bank closed - leaving the nearest 300km away - I used to take the raffle money once a month to be banked. As I passed through small bankless towns I exchanged coin for notes providing them with change. Banks were finally pressured to set up “in-store” agencies, and finally ATMs, then communications improved to allow EFPOS in shops.

Mr Z used to save his coin to give to the grandkids to count and share equally. Last offering was about $800 and we got a look of disdain from the teenagers - a month later they still hadn’t counted it, so we decided to keep it ourselves in future. Cash doesn’t have the allure it had before cards & Apps.


With the value of hindsight, the lady should have paid for each item as a separate transaction so that these type of retailers from hell could not have inconvenienced her but only themselves.

There is more than one way to skin a cat or kick a grub!



While the law permits or directs one way, how much simpler if two people simply exercise a little bit of consideration and common sense.

The solution of splitting the transaction is self evident. Not all of us though are ready for an argument or have the forethought at the time.


I don’t think you have addressed this issue as presented. I agree with your example of weekly shop/tank of fuel etc. and would share your frustration, but refusing $10 worth of 50 cent pieces is being pathetic. If your checkout operator can’t manage that task in 15 seconds you need to re-evaluate your employees competency levels.


What threshold is acceptable or should be tolerated and should be acceptable 10x50c, 20x50c, 30x50c, 50x50x, 100x50c, number that can be physically carried, wheelbarrow full etc.

While I can readily count coinage of various denominations, often cashiers struggle to count small amount of coins. I quite often use my coins with notes to try and minimise the amount of change I get back from the transaction (e.g. buying something for $2.85 and providing the cashier with $5 note and say 50c, 20c, 10c and 5c pieces). More often than not the cashier stares blankly and I have to tell the cashier what I have given across the counter and the amount of change needed…even with quite simple coin and note usage. Start using numerous amounts and confusion does prevail and is inconvenient to those queuing behind.

I put this down to two things, the cashiers are no longer exposed to large coinage and possibly feel overwhelmed when it is given and/or the cashier is a younger generation which is not used to hard cold cash (used to electronic payments where no calculations or extra thinking is required).

While the Act may be over 40 years old, it still applies today in such cases. While one may think the limits are unreasonable (own opinion), there needs to be a limit otherwise there will be those in the community which purposefully abuse the use of coinage to make some sort of point. There are a few examples in this thread which indicate that it does happen and that this is why the limits in the Act are relevant.


Fact, the law is what it is.
Fact, the example reported is not 100 coins of the commonwealth in different denominations.
Fact, there is currently no mobile phone app that can image capture and count the change for you.
Fact, many of us learnt to use currency in shillings and pence and work out change in 12’s, and 20’s and half-penny’s.
Fact, some of us also had to learn how to use and work out money when we had both pre and post decimal currency in use at the same time.

It still seems a rather petty circumstance to not accept the payment.


I have to agree with mark_m here. Most retailers offer services beyond the minimum required by law. It is totally within their right to refuse $10 in 50c pieces. But when so many businesses of all varieties and sizes would take it, why would I go back there?

split this topic #12

A post was split to a new topic: Customer Service Fails


Only a few years ago while working in Sydney I had to advise a customer that if they continually used ‘just coins’ to pay for parking (I worked at the Overseas Passenger Terminal at the time) then they would be refused entry, not because they didn’t have the amount required but because every time they came in (on a daily basis) they would only proffer coins in payment… Trying to sort out $25 or $30 in coin from one customer while others were waiting behind them was not an ideal situation… The customer finally got the hint and from that day onward ‘he’ used notes instead… sometimes giving them a verbal ‘caution’ suffices to remedy the situation, sometimes it doesn’t.


I would hardly call using 20 50 cent coins excessive. People need to have a little more patience. There is a lot of pressure to do away with cash altogether as it is just a burden to count, bank etc. It will be a very sad day when we only have cards to pay instead of cash. Business should be glad they have cash to count as a lot of businesses go under due to lack of custom.


I served a customer today who was paying $28 in loose coins when there was already several other people waiting. I can see why someone inexperienced might panic and turn it down. Luckily I’ve been counting cash long enough to count that in no time.