Bangko Sentral ng Plipinas Governor Felipe M. Medalla (left) and Robinsons Retail Holdings, Inc. President and Chief Executive Officer Robina Gokongwei-Pe (right) inspect the coin deposit machine located in Robinsons Place Ermita in Manila. — KEISHA B. TA-ASAN

THE BANGKO SENTRAL ng Pilipinas (BSP) has launched coin deposit machines (CoDMs) in retail establishments across the greater Manila area to help improve the circulation of the currency.   

The central bank deployed four CoDM units on Tuesday in partnership with Filinvest Lifemalls Corp., Robinsons Supermarket Corp., and SM Retail, Inc. Two units are located at the SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City, one in Robinsons Place Ermita in Manila, and one in Festival Mall in Muntinlupa City.   

“Through the CoDM project, the BSP aims to address the artificial coin shortage in certain areas of the country and help ensure that only fit and legal tender currency is readily available for public use,” the central bank said in a statement.   

“With the option to credit the value of deposited coins to e-wallets, the CoDM project also promotes the use of digital payments and strengthens financial inclusion,” it added.   

The value of coins deposited in CoDMs may either be credited to the depositor’s e-wallet account or converted into a shopping voucher for over-the-counter transactions.   

For now, customers depositing coins and can only credit the equivalent amount to their GCash e-wallets. The BSP is looking to include other electronic money issuers in the project’s next implementation phases.   

BSP Governor Felipe M. Medalla said at the project’s launch on Tuesday that there are 39 billion pieces of coins in circulation, but most are being stored in households or piggy banks.

“This partnership between the BSP and the big malls is in the interest of getting the coins recirculated,” Mr. Medalla said.

A total of 25 machines will be deployed across the greater Manila area from June to August. The rollout of 25 CoDMs in select retail establishments of the SM Store, Robinsons Supermarket, and Festival Mall will be under the first phase of the project’s implementation.   

All denominations of the BSP Coin Series and New Generation Currency (NGC) Coins Series are accepted by the CoDM. Mutilated and unfit coins will be rejected. Demonetized coins, foreign currency, and foreign objects like tokens will also be rejected by the machine and returned to the depositor.   

SM Retail Chief Finance Officer Jonathan Ng said the handling of coins presents challenges for both consumers and firms, even as these have always played a key role in daily transactions.   

“The advent of coin deposit machines aims to address these challenges and revolutionize the way we handle our lose change,” Mr. Ng said. “We are honored to stand alongside of BSP in the launch of this project as it not only impacts our consumers but also drives innovation and helps boost our economy.”

Robinsons Retail Holdings, Inc. President and Chief Executive Officer Robina Gokongwei-Pe said coins are an essential part of the country’s monetary system along with paper and digital currencies.   

“But when coins are forgotten, the balance of our monetary system is disrupted. These artificial shortages have a very real impact on us retailers,” she said.   

“For example, since we do not have enough coins for sukli (change), we have to source points and strangle Robinsons Bank to give us coins, or we have to get them from gas stations or from churches,” she said.   

A year after its launch, the BSP will determine if the project will be expanded to other regions and if the number of machines will be increased. Keisha B. Ta-asan