Recently I had to make a big purchase (about 500 USD) at a shop which charges extra fees for Credit Card transactions. Hence, I was forced to go to the nearest ATM to withdraw money and stand in its long queue.
The only bills it dispenses is 100/- INR bills which are worth little more than 2 USD. So literally I had to swipe my ATM Debit card 7 times to withdraw just 25000/- (about 500 USD) money. After that, I am left with 250 bills, a mammoth task to count, and not to mention that the time this transaction took really pissed off the guys waiting for their turn. One guy even jokingly asked me, is there any more cash left in the machine?
I almost regularly run into credit card bills of 5 digits, and on several occasions even 6 digits. Yet, I have never seen a 1000/- (20 USD) bill, the highest bill issued by Indian Government. Most ATM machines only dispense with 100/- bill, whose value over time has reduced to so little that people are left with only 2 choices,
a) carry suitcases or purses instead of wallets.
b) use cheques/plastic money.
Inflation is high in India and currency is getting devalued. Other governments realize how cumbersome it is and issue Yen, korean Wons, Indonasian Rupiya in bills having a face value in 5-6 digits (10s to 100s of thousands). Zimbabwean government started issuing bills in units of millions of local dollars.
So why is Indian government waking up and trying to address this problem by issuing bigger bills.
Also I was thinking that lately getting change has become extremely more difficult. Because of convenience people have started going to nearly ATMs instead of traveling great distances for a bank branch. Net result is that their wallets only contain 100/- bills. No 1,2,5/- coins, 10, 20/- bills. The problem is so acute that often the bus drivers and shop keepers have to turn down the customers because they fail to produce the exact change. I wonder what would be the best solution for this problem?
100/- notes only from the ATM?