REJECTED ST Forum Letter
MAS should regard it as an obligation to exchange mutilated notes
Written by Ng E-Jay
27 March 2008
I REFER to the article ‘$50 notes with ‘KF’ mark: Defaced bills ‘command no value” (ST, 27 Mar).
While it is right for MAS to exchange mutilated notes for good ones in the event that they are accidentally given to us, I am surprised that MAS regards it as an ‘act of grace’ rather than an obligation.
If an ATM delivers defaced notes to me, a situation clearly beyond my control, and neither the bank nor MAS is willing to recognize the value of those notes, I can and will sue the bank for fraud.
The original ST article is as follows:
$50 notes with ‘KF’ mark: Defaced bills ‘command no value’
27 March 2008
By Esther Tan
WHEN Mr G.S. Lee withdrew some money from an OCBC Bank ATM at Compass Point earlier this month, three of his $50 notes seemed a bit strange – the letters ‘KF’ were on the top right-hand corner.
The bank told him then that there was ‘no problem with the notes’, he said, but the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has since clarified that such notes have been mutilated on purpose and ‘command no value”.
The letters looked ‘legally imprinted’, said Mr Lee in an e-mail to The Straits Times online portal, Stomp, asking what the letters might mean. But ‘KF’ is not part of the $50 note’s design, said an MAS spokesman, adding it did not know what ‘KF’ stood for.
‘Notes with such markings are considered to be deliberate mutilation and they command no value,’ she added.
Anyone who has notes with the markings can take them to the banks to be exchanged, she said, and MAS will take the notes back as an ‘act of grace’.
When contacted, OCBC’s head of group corporate communications Koh Ching Ching said the notes could have become defaced while being circulated.
The bank will check its ATMs so any other mutilated notes can be retrieved, she said.
She added that OCBC’s tellers are ‘trained to look out for defaced or mutilated notes and handle them as per guidelines provided by MAS’, and that it has reminded its staff to be vigilant.
Other banks have also seen many instances of defaced or mutilated notes.
United Overseas Bank says it handles more than $100,000 in mutilated notes a day, its spokesman told The Straits Times.
The value and on-the-spot exchange of the mutilated notes depend on the note’s condition, she said.
A DBS Bank spokesman said it, too, has seen notes scribbled or written on, or where the serial numbers are unclear.
The Singapore Currency Act states that any person who prints or stamps or writes any mark, word, letter or figure on banknotes is guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a maximum fine of $2,000.