Several months ago, the Magyar Nemzeti Bank launched a wide social debate in order to assess the views of those concerned (i.e. the professional organisations and the public) about possibly issuing a 200 forint coin. Taking into account the results of consultations and the professional arguments, the Monetary Council has decided to replace the current 200 forint banknotes with coins. The savings for the whole economy as well as the Bank’s long-term objective to facilitate a smooth changeover to euro cash for households lay in the background of the initiative. The earliest possible date of putting the new coin into circulation is 2009 H1. The 200 forint banknote is expected to remain legal tender until the end of 2009.

One of the core duties of the Magyar Nemzeti Bank is to supply the public and the economy with cash of adequate quantity, quality and denomination. Two questions have arisen in professional circles in recent years in respect of Hungarian banknotes and coins: one has been about the need for one and two forint coins, the other being the possible choice between a banknote or a coin for the 200 forint denomination.

The MNB, involving the representative bodies of professions, the consumer protection organisations and the authorities (e.g. institutions operating cash devices, the Banking Association, consumer protection and trade organisations, chambers, the representatives of the blind and the visually impaired, government units, cash-in-transit companies, wholesale cash processing firms, commercial banks, the Post, etc.) as well as conducting household surveys, launched a debate in order for the Monetary Council to make a finely balanced decision.

The professional arguments, the aggregated views of those concerned and the scale of savings that can be achieved all supported the plan for issuing a new coin. As the 200 forint is a small denomination banknote, it wears out quickly, and the high costs of reproducing it increase general government expenses, and ultimately the burden on taxpayers. The new coin replacing the rapidly wearing paper money will be more hard-wearing, it will be safer to handle, as it cannot be counterfeited, and it will be easier to use in various situations (with automats, parking machines, etc.) than the banknote.

Changing the current series of banknotes and coins will occur at the earliest in 2009, followed by the gradual withdrawal of the 200 forint banknote. In designing the new coin, the Bank has taken special care to ensure that it cannot be mixed up with other metal coins. The public will be invited to vote on the motif to be featured on the new 200 forint coin.