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I am writing some instructions and I want my audience to understand that an amount must be entered in cents / pence / Eurocents / Satoshis etc. Is there a word that describes these small, granular parts of currency?

I'm dealing with non-physical objects, e.g. in an online payments system.

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They are usually referred to as the minor units of currency, or minor units for short. This refers to such things as pence - UK, cent USA & Eurozone, centimes Switzerland etc.

  • does that make the dollars, euros, etc. major units? – DAE Mar 26 '17 at 9:13
  • @DAE Yes, I'd say either the "major" unit or the "main" unit. – WS2 Mar 21 '19 at 12:08
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According to TFD- change (n)

a. Money of smaller denomination given or received in exchange for money of higher denomination.

b. The balance of money returned when an amount given is more than what is due.

c. Coins: had change jingling in his pocket.

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    Coins given as change could be equal to or more than 1 Euro, 1 AUD, etc. – mikemaccana Jan 22 '15 at 16:38
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    In the US, all change is not coins, but all coins are change. – bib Jan 22 '15 at 19:24
  • @bib Yes but, per the question, we're not limited to US currencies or simplified English. – mikemaccana Jan 22 '15 at 21:46
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Perhaps specie or the expression in specie. The definition, according to Merriam-Webster:

  • money in coin

  • in specie : in the same or like form or kind ; also : in coin

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Coinage is generally made up to represent portions of a the smallest bill (also called a note) currency. IE: The amount of funds to be issued does not equal a whole bill denomination so coins represent that portion. For example: The smallest Euro denomination in paper note form is 5euro ... someone needing to pay 4euro will use coins to transfer the value. (in limited cases the smallest note/bill denomination is represented with a coin and in paper form...US is an example...in these instances the coins are rarely used.)

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There is no common term that commonly refers to what you are describing. "Coinage" could be used but it is an imprecise term and people still might not get your intention without explanation. Unfortunately the simplest explanation is simply to say "pence, cents, etc.".

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