Hyderabad: In an era when e-transactions are the norm, there is a tribe that survives on the hope of earning some money each day by exchanging currency notes, said to be one of the oldest businesses.
The ‘old and damaged notes exchange’ businessmen are among the last few remaining from the vanishing trade in the city. Once in huge demand for the service they rendered, these shops nowadays hardly attract any footfall with people shifting over to e-wallet platforms.
“Circulation of currency notes drastically decreased in the market after demonetisation as the people switched over to e-payments. When a currency note doesn’t change hands, it does not get easily damaged or soiled. Hence, no need to exchange it for proper currency notes,” explains Mohd Ilyas, who has been running a currency exchange point at Abid Road for the last 25 years, after taking over from his father. “We clubbed the trade with another small business to manage the earnings,” he says.
People from far-off villages, who come to the city on some work and are unfamiliar with banking operations are the only who visit these centres these days.
“For Rs 50 too, people are using e-wallets. If a customer exchanges an imperfect currency note, we used to get a 10 per cent commission of the currency note value. Now we hardly get any customers,” says Radha Krishna, who runs a shop at Chikkadpally.
Usually referred as ‘old and damaged note exchange’ centres, such kiosk currency exchange points remain at Chaderghat, Chikkadpally, MJ Market, Nampally and Charminar.
“Many people have wound up business. At Charminar, one of the historic places, there were around five persons who did it. Now only two remain,” says Nooruddin, recalling that there was a huge demand for coins for hotels and shops. However, such traders and even hawkers are now accepting e-wallet payments.
After collecting the soiled notes, they are taken to the Reserve Bank of India, where mutilated, soiled or imperfect currency notes are exchanged.
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