Why The $1 Bill Doesn’t Change

Discussion in 'Paper Money' started by Dougmeister, Feb 12, 2019.

  1. Dougmeister

    Dougmeister The Coin Scavenger © ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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  3. Interesting read, thanks for sharing.
  4. chrisild

    chrisild Coin Collector Supporter

    Elsewhere vending machines do get updated whenever new coin or bill types are introduced. Ah well, as long as such machines in the US only accept $1 bills and no other denominations, the lobbying makes some sense ...

  5. lettow

    lettow Senior Member

    Vending machines in the US do accept more than the $1.00 bill. The fact that the vending industry could update their machines to accomodate the newly designed $5.00 and $10.00 makes me think that this is more about the vending industry trying to project that they are big lobbyists and have some political cache than anything else.
  6. Also, more and more vending machines are accepting credit cards.
  7. PlanoSteve

    PlanoSteve Well-Known Member

    Interesting read! Also, if you read through further links, I now discovered why my printer runs out of the yellow ink way before the red & blue.
  8. coinsleuth

    coinsleuth New Member

    would the reason be, NO ONE WOULD COUNTERFIT a 1 dollar bill, so there is not a real need to stay ahead of counterfiters
    harrync and Dave L like this.
  9. Numbers

    Numbers Senior Member

    Yeah, the article didn't explain that well. Modern bill acceptors could easily be reprogrammed for a redesigned $1 note; the problem is that there are still lots of vending machines in service that have older technology that's hard-coded to recognize exactly one design. Basically, if you see a machine that *only* accepts $1's and not larger bills, it's probably a machine that isn't capable of software upgrades (otherwise somebody would have set it to accept $5's by now). Trying to make those machines accept anything but current-design $1's would involve replacing so many components that it'd be easier to just scrap the machine, and that's what the vending industry wants to avoid.

    Even the modern machines have limitations, though. Most won't take small-head $5's any more, because they don't have enough memory to be programmed for *three* generations of currency designs at once.
  10. lehmansterms

    lehmansterms Many view intelligence as a hideous deformity

    Back in the dark ages (the 1960's, when I was in college) it was possible - pathetically easy, actually - to fool the earliest bill-reading change machines. Coin laundromats were among the earliest to invest in and adopt this sort of thing. I suppose it was cheaper to buy even those very expensive (not too discriminating) early machines than to pay someone to sit there and make change all day for the patrons. I knew folks who took advantage of this technicality and the also very new availability of access to plain paper copying machines. There was one single "public" Xerox machine in the campus library back in the days before every corner convenience and/or drug store had figured out having a fax and a copier was a money-making proposition. Copying dollar bills was easy and the idiot early bill readers only looked at one side. For a quarter a copy, one could print off a page of the fronts of dollars and change the copies to quarters in the laundromat's machine.
    By 1970 or so, the holes in that system had been plugged, however.
    I always assumed the dollar was unchanged for the same reason we still have cent coins. It is perceived that, despite how obviously impractical and uneconomical those might be, "the public" demands them and rejects the obvious solutions. (Discontinue production of both, distribute the billions of already-struck dollar coins in Fed Reserve vaults and encourage rounding to the nearest 5¢) But when has common sense ever prevailed in the relationship between "the public" and "the powers that be"?
  11. Dave L

    Dave L Junior Member

    $1 ? Likely not, but check out this nice little movie called "Mister 880" that I always enjoyed. Been a long time since I watched it. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0042742/reviews
  12. Numbers

    Numbers Senior Member

    Makes sense as regards the cent, but your math is way off as regards the dollar bill.

    There are no "billions of already-struck dollar coins". The Fed's stockpile of dollar coins is only 1.14 billion coins, down from a peak of 1.44 billion six years ago. At that rate, it's big enough to meet demand for dollar coins for another couple of decades--but it's nowhere close to big enough to replace all the paper $1 bills in circulation (over 12 billion, and growing by about 0.4 billion per year).

    Base metals cost more than they used to, and paper dollars last longer than they used to. The combination of these two factors means that, while replacing the $1 note by a $1 coin could have saved us money in the '80s or '90s, it's actually been a money-losing proposition since about 2011.

    (Data from here and here.)
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  13. lettow

    lettow Senior Member

    The early change machines that accepted $5.00 notes would give change for a 5 peso Philippine JIM note.

    . . . or so I was told.;)
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