I use this blog as a soap box to preach (ahem... to talk :-) about subjects that interest me.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Blind Cut

Earlier this evening, I saw on ABC News an interview with a boy who has problems in identifying the value of banknotes.  His mother has just presented to the federal government a petition with more than 50,000 signatures to do something about it.  With so many people who have problems with eye sight, it makes a lot of sense that money bills should be easily recognisable by touch.

Canada has adopted bills that have bumps, but the concern is that, with prolonged use, the bumps might flatten out and become useless.

I have a solution that would be easy to implement and wouldn't even require to print new bills.  Here it is:

That is, cut a corner from the $10, two corners from the $20, three corners from the $50, and all four corners from the $100.  The $5 bills can remain as they are:

Nobody would confuse the bills anymore, and the current bills could be cut by the Reserve Bank precisely to spec.  The alternative of leaving the $100 unchanged and cut more corners as the value of the bill decreases wouldn't be as good because:
  • The smallest bills probably are the most widely used, while few people handle the $100 bills.  Therefore, it makes sense to apply the most severe "mutilation" to the least used denomination.
  • "More cuts, more value" is easier to remember.
Unfortunately,  the system could still be abused, and somebody might cut a corner of a small denomination and give it to a non-seeing person to get away with a smaller payment than due.  But this wouldn't be worse than what is happening now...

1 comment:

  1. Maristella, a friend of mine from Italy pointed out to me via email that many might just cut the corners of low-value denominations. If that happened, they could then trick visually-impaired people into accepting the mutilated bills as more valuable. Reflecting on the issue, it occurred to me that such a fraud wouldn't be possible if the number of missing corners decreased with the increase of the denomination. Who would cut corners to a banknote if that would make it appear less valuable?