The African country of Zimbabwe suffered a huge financial crisis back in 2008 which saw hyperinflation reach 500 billion per cent. The knock on effect being that citizens currently have bank accounts whose totals are in the quadrillions of dollars, but none of them are rich.
To put in context the poor state of Zimbabwe’s local currency and economy: the largest bank note printed was for 100 trillion dollars. However, that note alone is not enough to pay for a basic service, such as a bus journey or even to buy enough food for a meal.
With the situation as ridiculous as it sounds, the Zimbabwe government is kicking off a currency exchange program on Monday after deciding to dump the local currency. Anyone with a bank account full of quadrillions of dollars can opt to convert them over to US dollars. It will be quite the change and a bit of a shock. The first Z$175 quadrillion are worth US$5. If you have more than that, then the exchange rate is US$1 for every Z$35 quadrillion.
Anyone without a bank account and instead has been hoarding trillions of dollars under their mattress, first of all, well done for managing to fit it all under your bed. Now you need to get it out and transfer it into bags. For every Z$250 trillion brought into a bank they’ll get US$1 in return.
There will likely be a rush on the banks as the exchange program is only going to be open until September. I suspect some locals will have to make multiple bank trips in order to get rid of all those notes.