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Feb 1, 2015
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Unless you’ve been living under a grimy rock in the middle of Manila Bay, you’re probably already aware that the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) released new money designs back in 2010. Now that the novelty of having crispy new bills (with consecutive serial numbers!) mingling with the dugyot old notes in your wallet has worn off, the BSP has announced that old banknotes will no longer be accepted come 2016.

Wait, what?

Since this is most likely one of the few times you’ll ever encounter a currency design change, we came up with a primer so you won’t have to suffer the humiliation of having your old P1,000 bill rejected next year. Yeah, we know it’s only January, but it never hurt to be prepared!


WHY IS THE BSP CHANGING THE PHILIPPINE'S CURRENCY DESIGN IN THE FIRST PLACE?

New Philippine pesoGIF via Imgur.com

According to the BSP website, “central banks regularly change the design of their money—whether coins or banknotes—to guard against counterfeiters." 

Basically, we need new designs and safety features to make it more difficult for criminals to create fake money. The BSP adds that while other central banks give their currencies a makeover every ten years or so, we’ve been using our present banknote designs for a quarter of a century now. This is probably one of the reasons why it's not super rare to encounter fake coins and bills in our country.


WHICH DENOMINATIONS WILL BE AFFECTED?

New Philippine pesoImage via Bsp.gov.ph

All bills, from P20 to P1,000, will be affected. The new banknotes have been in circulation for a while now, but the BSP is also working on new designs for our coins. So far they’ve only released limited edition commemorative coin designs (see above) that, while usable for transactions, are more valuable to collect.


UNTIL WHEN CAN WE USE OUR OLD BILLS?

New Philippine peso
You could still use the old banknotes from the New Design Series (that’s what that particular money generation is called) until the end of 2015. These won’t be considered legal tender anymore starting from January 1, 2016, so you better exchange them for notes from the New Generation Currency notes ASAP. We recommend asking your bank or visiting BSP's site for more info.


HOW DO I GET RID OF MY OLD BANKNOTES?

New Philippine pesoGIF via Sideshowcollectors.com

You can either spend it all, or you can exchange your old bills for new ones at authorized banks and BSP offices nationwide until the end of 2016. If you can’t exchange your money before the deadline because you’re based abroad, register at the BSP website from October 1 to December 31 and you’ll have an extra year, starting from the registration date, to do so. You could also just spend all your old bills or better yet, give them to us! Tatanggapin namin kahit gusot-gusot, pramis.

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WHERE ARE THE NEW BILLS MADE, ANYWAY?

New Philippine pesoGIF via Gifbucket.blogspot.com

There are apparently groups called “originators” that make the metal plates and dies used for the production of new money. The first batch of our new banknotes was printed abroad, while the latter generations were printed at the BSP’s Security Plant Complex in Quezon City. Wouldn’t you love to take a field trip there?


HOW DO THE NEW BILLS DIFFER FROM THE NEW ONES?

New Philippine pesoImage via Philstar.com

Though the general color schemes and size are retained, there are still a lot of new things to take note of in the new banknotes. The portraits of the presidents and heroes on the bills, for one thing, are more realistic, and the back of the notes feature new tourist attractions not found on older bills (e.g. Tubbataha Reef, Taal Lake) plus animals that are found in the Philippines. Also, the new bills are “hygienically treated,” meaning it won’t transfer germs easily. Our germophobe friends approve!


WHAT ARE THE SAFETY FEATURES OF THE NEW BANKNOTES?

New Philippine peso

The new bills have several safety features to make it more difficult for criminals to forge them. These include the presence of blue and red fibers on the note’s surface, a serial number with an increasing font size, a concealed value that can only be seen from the correct angle, and a metallic thread in big denominations that changes color from red to green. Let's hope all these will be enough to combat fakers; they're a persevering bunch, you know.


WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF I GET CAUGHT USING OLD MONEY?

New Philippine pesoGIF via Gifsoup.com

Don’t worry, you won’t go to jail. You’ll just suffer the embarrassment of having your purchases rejected upon checkout. The worst case scenario would most likely be hearing a muttered “ang tanga naman niya” from the person next in line, which is definitely more humiliating than the eye roll the cashier might give you.

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