General Question

Kurtosis's avatar

When will paper $1 bills disappear in the US?

Asked by Kurtosis (95points) March 7th, 2008

I would love to see us move towards $1 and $2 coins. It seems like a lot of people complain whenever this idea comes up, but seriously, dollar bills will have to be discontinued at some point. Aren’t we already there? New coins would make it much easier to pay for a beer, bus fare, laundry. Do you think this will happen any time soon?

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27 Answers

jonno's avatar

I’m not American, but I agree that the US should use $1 and $2 in coin from only – it seems illogical to use notes for such small denominations. I’ve heard too that the US is one of the only developed countries to have notes for a low denomination such as $1 and $2.

Not only that, but I think they should switch to polymer (plastic) bank notes, as they are so much better – you can’t accidentally tear them, they aren’t flimsy like paper, they last longer, they’re waterproof (and can survive the washing machine) and are harder to counterfeit (with that little window in the corner!). And colour-coding the money wouldn’t be a bad idea either – at the moment you have to actually read the notes to see what amount it is… compare to Australian money, where each note is of a different colour and size.

Patrick_Bateman's avatar


they have already tried twice to make a $1 coin and have failed.

it costs more to make coins than paper bills.

it costs 2 cents to make a penny.

Kurtosis's avatar

Yeah, but it’s cheaper to use coins because they last a hell of a lot longer! Take a look at the bills in your wallet, it’s rare to find one over ten years old. Now look at some coins. I just found a dime in my pocket from 1969.

Should we always print dollar bills, no matter how little they’re worth? In that case I guess we should convert quarters and dimes into bills too, right?

ccatron's avatar

I hate carrying around coins, so I hope never.

Coins are easy to lose from your pockets.
Coins make too much noise.
Coins are too easy to spend. People put more value into paper money even if it is only a dollar. I am less likely to spend a dollar bill than a bunch of pocket change that may equal a dollar.
5 large coins in your pocket weighs a lot more than 5 bills.
Drug users can’t snort drugs with coins. Without happy drug users, this country is in trouble. (j/k)

“New coins would make it much easier to pay for a beer, bus fare, laundry”

How? Last time I checked, no one around here charges whole amounts for these things. I don’t drink, but I can imagine that a beer is about $3, so you’ve got to have at least 3 $1 coins in your pocket for that. And who drinks only one beer? Laundry used to cost me about $50 or so a load, so carrying around these $1 coins do me no good, unless they up the prices. In that case, I’m better off buying a washing machine and dryer. I’ve never ridden a bus, but I’m sure its not a whole dollar amount either, so the only advantage for coin money here is that I don’t have to make sure I have crisp bills. But in the long run, if I’m doing these three things with cash…I would be carrying around a lot of coins because its “easier” to do so.

I’m glad we have some coins, but it just makes more sense to me to have bills once you get past .99 cents—probably because that’s what I am used to, but I can’t imagine it any other way.

gooch's avatar

never it does not fit in most wallets or money clips. Some people hate to carry coins

jlacombe's avatar

Remove pennies before, please !!

Doppleganger's avatar

Pennies and dollars will never disappear for a few reasons. It may cost more to make a penny than its worth, but if there were no pennies, all $6.99 items become $7, all $8.02 items become $8.05, and so on. All prices would rise because vendors wouldn’t round down, they’d round up. This would increase inflation exponentially, pulling money from the market, lessening available good due to a lower suppy, and at the same time unemployment would rise. Getting rid of the dollar would do the same, just have a much larger impact. The penny and the dollar are extremely important.

TrenchMouth's avatar

Not soon enough. Cash is getting rather antiquated all together. At the very least I’d like to see the penny and the dollar dissapear. Thing is, both are symbols of the American economy. Everyone the world over recognizes the dollar bill.

cwilbur's avatar

No dollar coin will succeed while dollar bills are still being produced.

Zaku's avatar

The dollar bill is kind of symbolic in American culture, as is having it, and all bills, be mainly green.

I take your point, but my counter-suggestion would be to actually make them more traditional (in green) and figure out how to make them worth gradually more and more instead of less and less.

El_Cadejo's avatar

I hate change. I would love to see all coin currency disappear sadly that will probably never happen.

Kurtosis's avatar

@ccatron – Well, like it or not, we have coins, so the question is – where should the split be? The quarter/dollar cutoff goes back a long time – back to when the quarter was worth a lot more. Look at old photos of nickel-and-dime stores, or diners where you could buy a sandwich for 50 cents. People weren’t upset about using quarters then.
Frankly, I think people’s resistance now is mostly just inertia.

It would be a lot easier to buy small things with $1 and $2 coins. (This really hit me in Europe and Canada where they have bigger coin denominations). Yes, it’s easier to buy a $3–4 beer with a couple coins than having to fold/unfold bills and get a bunch of ones in change that you stuff in your pocket. On the bus, it’s much quicker to drop in coins than to feed a bill in the machine. And for laundry- you need like 12 quarters now – it’s inane.
Here’s why coins are better –
– You reach in your pocket, pull out a couple coins and put the change back in your pocket – much quicker than pulling out your wallet and rifling through it.
– If you want to pay exact change (say something costs $2.07) to avoid a handful of change it’s much, much easier. You don’t have to get bills out of your wallet, then reach in your other pocket for the coins.
– It’s easier to get coins as change. If you get dollar bills back, you either have to stand there holding your wallet waiting, or else you fold the dollars in your pocket and then you have to unfold them and stick them in your wallet later.

@uberbatman – really, no coins? So we should start printing nickel, dime, and quarter bills instead? Or remove all current coins and require all prices to be rounded to the dollar? Guess I’ll stop buying gum then.

Charlie's avatar

If the economy keeps going as it is, I doubt if WE will need to worry about a $1.00 or any other bill or coins unless it is Silver or Gold coins which is STILL the only legal money anyway which very few people have of either. Look what happened to Germany’s MARK back before WW2 and our Banking system is patterned the same as it was and was set up here BY the same people in 1909 by the WARBURG family.

jonno's avatar

@Doppleganger – you’re wrong about the rounding. Australia removed its 1 and 2 cent coins in 1991 (so now all we have is the 5, 10, 20 and 50 cent and the 1 and 2 dollar coins), and it’s great! If the price is, say, $9.91 or $9,92, then the price gets rounded down to $9.90. If the price was $9.93 or $9.94, the price is rounded up to $9.95. So it’s quite fair, sometimes you save 1 or 2 cents, sometimes the shop gets 1 or 2 cents. (Prices only get rounded when you pay in cash. If you pay by debit or credit card, you are charged the exact amount to the cent.)

And New Zealand have even gone to the extra step of no longer having 1, 2 and 5 cent coins, so their lowest coin is 10 cents.

The only reason Americans seem to hate coins is because they only have coins for such low denominations – if they only coins you ever get are worth 50 cents or below, plus they have I cent coins (or “pennies”), then you probably would find them annoying, because you have to carry extra weight for such a low value. But $1 and $2 coins are worth the extra weight, don’t you think? Plus they’re much smaller.

8lightminutesaway's avatar

Well personally I wouldn’t want dollar coins. Too easy to lose coins, and the weight would get annoying. However, would you all agree that if we made $1/$2 or even $5 coins with gold in them, it might help stabilize the value of the American dollar? They’re literally worth their weight in the metals they’re comprised of, and the value of gold is pretty stable. But I’m a believer of the gold standard, so I know people will disagree with me.

All in all, I imagine we’d all get used to having the coins. I mean come on, its not that big of a deal.

Charlie's avatar

The paper money is OK if it was redeemable in something such as it once was in Gold/Silver coin. The problem is today the Notes we use is not redeemable at face value for anything. It is legal to use them, trade them, but for value, in and of themselves, there is none so the economy becomes a shadow one without any real value. Think about this—a silver dollar right now is worth $15.5727 of “fake” Federal Reserve Notes and clad, also fake, coins. So which would you want because I’d want the silver dollar over a pocket full of worthless stuff.

Doppleganger's avatar

jonno, remember, this is a free market society, and is definitely not Austraila. Removing the penny would end up taking away from the marginal propensity to consume (MPC), resulting in levels of significant inflation that would cost more than what we lose on making the penny. I’m sorry but this isn’t an opinion, its basic macroeconomics.

Zaku's avatar

The acceptance of economic theory as fact is a blind spot.

Doppleganger's avatar

Economics is using logic to understand financial tendencies among humans, there are normative and positive economics, so yes, many samples are not just theories, but instead are fact. There is more use of judgement in medicine than in economics, so if you choose to not believe economics to be fact, then neither can you accept medicine as a legitimate science. Most of what we believe and accept to be true are hardly 100% “factual”, but rather an acceptance of fact based on redundancy.

Charlie's avatar

How can there be an economy when all you have for money is promissary NOTES and fake coins which at last count I heard that these “notes” we use for money is worth less the 60 cents on the dollar in most markets around the world. There is NOTHING of value left to back the Federal Reserve Notes. Our prices for things here in the USA is going up BUT not because the value is greater for things. The reason is that prices are going up because the DOLLARs value is going DOWN. That is the economy WE have thanks to the Government People.

Zaku's avatar

People behave as if economic theory is fact, only as long as they agree about many ideas that are just invented.

I know that I can choose to behave contrary to economic theories. Cogito ergo nope.

In both medicine and economics, I see alternative views to conventional Western doctrine.

I would consult a Western doctor based on my trust of him as a human being with an honest interest in improving my health. I don’t have a similar trust for Western economists.

Kurtosis's avatar

@doppelganger: Is Australia not a free market society? I’m not following you. Surely their experience is somewhat relevant to what would happen here?

As for the “marginal propensity to consume” – so what? There has to be some cutoff. Without any context, your argument is basically that we should make currency in infinitely small denominations. Should we bring back the half-penny because we’re getting screwed by rounding everything to the cent? At some point, coins are worth so little that it’s not worth the hassle of producing them and handling them. I think the penny is probably there now. If you disagree then at what value, in current dollars, would you say the penny should be discontinued?

Charlie's avatar

Where have you all been? Right now in copper alone the penny is worth more then it’s face value. They have made a Law that you cannot melt the penny down for it’s metal content—zinc and copper. YET, an old 1964 dime is worth $1.42 in Federal Reserve Money. Get real. There is no economy if there isn’t any real money or something to back it besides DEBT.

Robby's avatar

Not really sure but I heard something about some U.S currency going back to coin.

Spargett's avatar

We still can’t let go of the penny, even though everyone knows they’re useless (except for old ladies trying to win the “exact change” award). The dollar will be here for a long, long, time.

Charlie's avatar

Does anyone know what a dollar is, defined by LAW? You people need to do some research on the CONSTITUTION of the United States. The last legal dollar we had was made in 1964.

Jack79's avatar

I think the $1 bills are very vital for a certain sector of the US economy.

So, to answer your question: When the last stripper-joint closes down :P

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