Cotton bank notes still legal tender until January 1

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

FILE PHOTO: The new TTD polymer banknotes being counted by hand. –

THE deadline for the transition from cotton to polymer notes remains as January 1, 2022. Checks on the Central Bank’s website shows there have been no changes to this deadline.

Notice of this change has been public knowledge since June 4. In that notice, the bank said effective January 1, banknotes in the denominations of $1, $5, $10, $20 and $50 bearing series dates prior to 2020 shall cease to be legal tender for cash payment within Trinidad and Tobago.

Since earlier this year, polymer notes of all denominations have been in circulation, alongside the cotton notes, as legal tender in TT. The banks said, “This will continue for the rest of this year.”

While the $1, $5, $10, $20 and $50 cotton notes will no longer be legal tender after January 1, the bank has said these notes can be exchanged indefinitely after January 1. Since July 1, the bank said it started to call in these notes, with the purpose of withdrawing them from circulation.

The bank said it is working to facilitate exchanges where people have difficulty in coming to its offices and providing additional information on its website to answer questions that members of the public may have.

Some businesses have begun the transition from cotton to polymer notes already.

Scotiabank told its customers the cotton notes will no longer be accepted at its ATMs by December 1, over the counter by December 17 and at night safes by December 19, while state-owned National Petroleum Marketing Co Ltd said the old bills will not be accepted from December 17. The Public Transport Service Corporation (PTSC) has said from December 13 the notes will not be accepted by any of its cashiers and the Supermarket Association told its members to stop taking the bills by December 15. In addition, the Route Two Maxi-Taxi Association that services the East-West Corridor has said that it has advised its drivers to stop accepting cotton notes by December 17.

Confederation of Regional Business Chambers co-ordinator Jai Leladarsingh said the confederation is aware of this and that the January 1, 2022 deadline for the transition from cotton to polymer notes is unchanged.

“Persons and businesses should use this time period to exchange their present cotton notes to polymer.”

On businesses that will stop accepting cotton notes before January 1, Leladarsingh said this was nothing for people to be concerned about.

“Businesses could put up signs that subsequent to December 20, we will no longer accept cotton notes. Hence individuals have to either deposit or convert their cotton notes.”