Grocers and other merchants will begin handing back change that looks a bit different starting this week, after Qatar’s Central Bank releases new coins into circulation.
The numeric value of 50, 25, 10, 5 and 1-dirham coins will now be stated in “European” numbers, instead of Arabic, according to an announcement from the QCB.
The year of production on the front of the coin will also now be in English numbers.
Coins are not very commonly used in Qatar, where paper currency and credit/debit cards are far more popular.
However, over the past five years, municipal authorities have been warning shops that handing out gum or other small items in lieu of change could cost them a hefty QR5,000 fine.
The currency will be introducing starting the second half of February, but the current coins can also still be used, the QCB added.
The bank did not explain the reason for the change.
However, the move follows the traffic department’s decision in 2011 to convert all vehicle license plates from ones that had numbers in both English and Arabic to a “European” model so that the numbers could be read more clearly.
The change was also made to bring Qatar in line with other GCC countries.