With the new P1,000 polymer banknotes in circulation, handling guidelines for the bills have been in question. Are the bills really not allowed to be folded, crumpled, or creased? Will establishments not accept them if they get crimped?
In a previous interview with One News on June 24, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Felipe Medalla recommended the public to get bigger wallets to keep the bills flat and straight at all times.
Medalla drew flak for this statement, which was even deemed sexist after he said, "Mas madali yan sa babae kasi may handbag kayo."
Netizen Reylen Lopez shared her experience with the new banknote, which wasn't accepted as payment at an SM mall because it was folded.
"I-pang babayad ko sana to, hindi nila tinanggap. Bawal daw tupiin," she wrote in a Facebook post.
SM Supermalls shared a statement about the matter on July 11, assuring the public that they will still accept folded polymer bills at SM retail stores.
"Only those that are mutilated—stapled and ripped caused by removal of staple wire—will be deemed unfit and not accepted. Our policy has considered the guidelines set by the BSP," the mall said.
So how should you properly handle the new polymer bills? Here are some guidelines from the BSP from June 13.
According to the BSP, the public should place polymer banknotes in wallets where they fit properly. Should you fold or crumple a bill, all you need to do is apply pressure or flatten them with your hands—don't iron the bills to straighten them.
BSP Deputy Governor Mamerto Tangonan said that the new banknote should be tougher as "it's no longer paper, it is plastic." The new bill is made with 20% abaca and 80% cotton blend.
Should the bills get soiled or dirty, you can wipe them with a damp cloth. Alcohol-based sanitizers are also allowed for cleaning.
The BSP also advised the public to use the polymer banknotes and to not hoard them, nor buy and sell at a higher price.
As for stuff you shouldn't do to the bills, the BSP said writing, defacing, or marking the banknotes are a no-no.
Excessive folding, creasing, and crumpling are also advised against as this could leave permanent marks on the banknote.
Cutting, tearing, poking holes, stapling, or using rubber bands to keep the banknotes together are discouraged.
In addition, the bills should not be exposed to very high temperatures or near open flames, and corrosive chemicals like muriatic acid or bleach.
On July 11, Take House Ways and Means Committee chairperson Rep. Joey Salceda asked Medalla to clarify guidelines about folding the bills.
"The lack of guidelines on what constitutes still-valid legal tender and which bills are damaged beyond being acceptable by business establishments has led to confusion in ordinary cash transactions," he said.
BSP also issued a statement on the matter, clarifying that folded banknotes "can still be circulated and accepted for payment. As such, retailers and banks should accept them for day-to-day payment transactions."