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Having money to burn is supposed to be a figure of speech, but there are recent news stories from around the world about bills facing some high temperatures. In some cases it’s an accident, some it’s intentional; sometimes it’s a bad turn of events, and sometimes it benefits charity. Here’s how money is taking the heat around the world:
In Australia, a man used a not-so-safe place to stow his cash. After selling his Toyota Supra, the man (who “asked not to be identified out of embarrassment” according to the Huffington Post) hid the $15,000 profit in the oven of his family home until he planned to use it for a mortgage payment. Before he could make that payment, his wife preheated the oven to make chicken nuggets for the couple’s two children.
The Reserve Bank of Australia will accept bills that are less than 20 percent damaged at face value, and will base values of 2- to 80-percent damaged bills in proportion to the percentage remaining. If the bills haven’t been turned to ash, they may still retain some value. The bank that holds the man’s mortgage plans to do whatever they can within the Reserve’s guidelines to accept whatever is left of the damaged cash.
There is a positive side to burning money: it provides heat. In Hungary, old bills that have been taken out of circulation are burned for heat, intentionally and legally. National Geographic reports that the worn-out bills are shredded and pressed into bricks. Each 2.2-pound brick contains bills that used to be worth 5 million florints, or $20,000 US. The government program provides free fuel to charities like the Foundation to Help Autism, which covers up to one-third of their heating costs for the year. Turns out that bricks of shredded money have the same energy output as low-grade coal.
Bills are facing some high temperatures in Canada, but they’re not burning, they’re melting. Canada introduced polymer $50 and $100 bills into circulation last November. While the Bank of Canada maintains that they have put the plastic bills through rigorous tests, including being in boiling water for an hour, there are reports of melting money. Brittney Halldorson, a teller at a British Columbia credit union, said that staff at her branch have seen three or four new bills melted together while they were stored in cars during the summer heat. A Cambridge, Ontario, woman reported that her son placed eight $100 bills in a tin stored near a heater, and the bills shriveled. Luckily, the Bank of Canada has a claims service that will inspect and replace the damaged bills. They have already dealt with 40 cases of damaged polymer bills since last fall, but in comparison, there are about 3,000 damaged paper bill cases every year. Canada is still planning to introduce polymer $20, $10, and $5 bills next year.
If your government hasn’t given you money specifically for burning, make sure you keep your bills away from heat. There’s no need to be left penniless because you left your funds where you shouldn’t have. Just remember, if your safe place is near a heat source, it’s not a safe place.