Coin Toss

Jared Morgan
16 July 2018

In an economy that relies heavily on cash for most transactions, things, for now, just got a little heavier. With nine coins still in circulation as legal currency, What’s On weighs up the situation with Ukraine’s small change and why your wallet might be weighing you down.

Changes in Change
The new 1 and 2 UAH coins, introduced on 27 April, are now being doled out with your small change. It is not without, as you’d expect, a few hiccups. Vendors are regularly seen to be explaining to customers they have not been short-changed. What’s On visited several supermarkets where the newly minted cash was being stacked on top of the cash registers and was told it was to prevent logjams at checkouts with bewildered customers checking their change.

As coins go, Ukraine’s have had a relatively short lifespan. First minted in 1992, they were not introduced until September 1996. At first, coins valued between 1 and 50 kopecks were issued. In March 1997, 1 UAH coins were added, and though still rarely seen in circulation, the large coin has included several commemorative editions. Coins in circulation today exist in the following denominations 1 kopiyka, 2, 5, 10, 25, 50 kopeek, and 1 and 2 UAH. But not for much longer.

More Change
While there may be nine coins you can readily spend in circulation, the load will lighten in the coming months. The National Bank of Ukraine announced in March that as of 1 July, no new 1 kopiyka, 2, 5, or 25 kopeek coins would be minted – the central bank’s idea being small coins will gradually disappear from circulation on their own. Consumers can spend them but they won’t receive these denominations as change. The lonely 10 kopeek coin remains (for now), as the Swedish rounding system to the nearest 0.10 UAH applies. This brings the number of coins to a much more manageable five.

Just when you thought it was safe to put your wallet back in your hip pocket without fear of losing your pants, more change is to come… The central bank’s March announcement also included plans for 5 and 10 UAH coins to be rolled out next year and in 2020. Ka-ching!

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