SINGAPORE: After noticing that the coffee shop in Tampines St 21 put up a sign informing its customers they would no longer accept 5-cent coins, a customer took to social media to ask whether this was legal.

“Is it legal to openly declare that they don’t accept 5 cent coin although it is a legal coin in Singapore?” Mr Leslie Tan wrote on the Facebook Group ‘Complaint Singapore’ on Thursday (May 16).

Photo: FB/ Complaint Singapore

Accompanying his post was a photo of the notice, which read:

Dear Customers, 

This is to inform you that with effect from TODAY (5th July 2023), our drink stall NO LONGER accept any 5 cents coins for all the expense.

Thank you for your understanding.

“Yes, legal. But have to put up a notice where consumers can see.”

Netizens in the comments section informed Mr Tan that establishments or vendors are legally allowed to refuse a payment method.

One netizen said, “MAS regulations allow businesses to reject 5-cent coins, even if it is legal tender.”

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Another commented, “Yes, legal. But have to put up a notice where customers can see.”

Others, meanwhile, encouraged Mr Tan to spend his 5-cent coins elsewhere. One Redditor stated, “If you go to eg. ntuc or valu$ shop, they are happy to accept your 5 cents. For a very simple reason.”

5-cent coins rejected in other establishments

There have been several reports of 5-cent coins being rejected in other establishments.

For instance, in 2022, a man, Martin Gabriel, complained online that he could no longer pay for his coffee at a certain establishment using 5-cent coins.

He said, “I heard about this practice, but this is my first time encountering it. Told the seller that some other retailer gave me the coins.”

Read more: Man Unable to Pay for Coffee with 5 Cent Coins Due to Currency Act Restrictions; Sparks Debate

The following year, a customer named Happy Ooi Delaoama complained on social media that a bakery cashier refused to accept her 5 cents when she handed it in as payment. 

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This prompted her to ask whether “5 cents has lost its value.”

Read more: ‘Has 5 cents lost its value?’ — Customer asks after bakery refuses to accept her coins

According to the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), vendors are legally permitted to refuse specific denominations or coins from customers. However, they must display a sign or notice informing customers of this policy.

If the vendor does not provide written notice at their premises, the customer can report their establishment through MAS’s feedback form online.

The customer must include the shop’s name and location, the date and time of the visit, the payment made, and details of the rejected denomination in the form.

What the notice should include

MAS has established strict guidelines for what these written notices should include and look like. Notices must be written in English and, if possible, in the four official languages: English, Chinese, Malay, and Tamil.

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The characters should also be legible and, ideally, printed. Furthermore, these notices must be visible to all customers in the store, which means they cannot be obstructed or hidden.

Finally, the notice must specify which denominations or coins are no longer accepted at the establishment.

Read related: 5 cents, not money? Hawker stall @ Yishun Street refuses coin as payment, throws Kopi-O in sink