BADLY damaged, dirty or even torn United States dollar notes remain valid for all transactions and can be exchanged as legal tender.
This comes as some businesses and individuals have been rejecting soiled or older US bank notes, an unpopular practice that has inconvenienced the public.
However, in a notice posted on its official Twitter handle yesterday, the US embassy said damaged notes, as long as they are more than half of the bill, with recognisable security features remain tradable because they are not mutilated currency.
“Any badly soiled, dirty, defaced, disintegrated, limp, torn, or worn out currency note that is clearly more than one-half of the original note, and does not require special examination to determine its value, is not considered mutilated,” reads the statement.
Mutilated currency is classified “as currency which has been severely damaged — to the extent that its value is questionable, or security features are missing”.
Some retailers have been rejecting soiled US dollar notes, which are still in use as the Government slowly de-dollarises, all the while allowing the use of free funds in the economy as well as duty payments.
In line with the Government’s position, most of the country’s major retailers are quoting their prices both in local and US dollars.
A member of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Monetary Policy Committee, Mr Eddie Cross, said while merchants can reject some notes based on how worn out they could be, the holders can always approach a bank to get cleaner bills.
“Commercial banks are responsible for replacing damaged or soiled notes. If a note is soiled beyond use, the merchant has a right to refuse the note, the individual should take it to the bank and the bank should credit his account or give him a new note with the bank. The RBZ recognises the problem but it also recognises it takes a lot of money to print or get new money,” said Mr Cross.
In July this year, police launched a blitz targeting traders who were refusing to accept bond notes and coins due to fake news that they would be demonetised.
As a standard practice, when cash is deposited in banks fairly frequently, banks remove worn and soiled notes and send them to the Reserve Bank for destruction. This in that normal system would see older notes, such as the bond notes, gradually being moved out of circulation.
Traders eager to accept all payment types, and who readily accept bond notes, have noted that at times people tender such badly creased and soiled notes that it is hard to ascertain if they are fake or genuine.