Rounding Up the Fils

Post by Mark


Last week I was at Boots and purchased two bottles of medicine at 880 fils each. When I went to pay the total was KD1.750. At first I thought Boots rounded up because the horrible mathematician in me calculated 880×2 to 1.740 and I was a bit bothered. But, the total instead was 1.760 and Boots had rounded down to 1.750. Then last night I decided to pay my phone bills, I’ve got two lines, my main line is with Viva while I have another line I don’t use as much with Zain.


My Viva bill was KD 17.502 and I ended up paying that exact amount with my knet card. On the other hand, my Zain bill was KD 1.994 but the Zain website refused to let me pay 1.994. Instead it kept rounding up my total to KD2.000. I tried to manually fix it but it would keep changing it back to 2.000 and in the end I was forced to pay that.


It doesn’t sound like a big deal, I mean it’s just 6 fils but if Zain are doing this with me they’re most likely doing this with all their customers. To give you a bit of perspective, they have over 45 million customers across their network and if they’re taking 6 fils from every customer then thats an extra KD225,000 profit every month!

Update: A reader made me realize the extra 6 fils goes back into my Zain account as credit. No idea why they’ve complicated things.

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36 comments, add your own...

  1. scooter says:

    Mark, I guess the 6 fils stays in your account as -0.006
    that used to happen to me when i pay my zain bill

  2. Raks says:

    I have gone through this for over 2 years now of my contract for iPhone with Zain. This is indeed a disclosure of the decade. I kept mum though.

  3. Mimi says:

    I just cribbed about this last week! Money Exchanges do the same thing and always round down the amount to be received to the nearest 50 fills. Its only 20-30 fills at most and I feel too embarrassed to ask for it, but still…

  4. Krs says:

    The mathematical rule is if the number is less than 5, e.g 4 they should automatically make it Kd 1.990. If it was 1.996 then they have the right to make it 2kd irrespective of the “balance” they leave in your alleged account.

  5. Nand says:

    Most of them still dont have softwares that can take in three decimal points….Biggest example is DHL

    • FromBahrainToKuwait says:

      I think this is the most plausible explanation. It has got to do with the way KD is denominated (I can only think of a few other currencies – BD and OMR – that behave similarly). So not much there for software developers to bother about tweaking.

      • rosy says:

        If the reason is two digit implementation, then 1.991 though 1.994 should have been rounded to 1.99 and 1.95 through 1.99 to 2.00. But here they are showing the figure as 2.000 i.e. three digits and hence it isn’t that software is unable to handle only two digits.

  6. aaa says:

    Actually on average you end up even. Canada has gotten rid of their penny and so prices always round up or down to the nearest $0.05 and it means a lot less useless coins, easier management of change,

    So that’s for the 0.01 coin which for us is actually the 10 fils equivalent… we have an even smaller coin! Stupid 5 fils.

    We got rid of the 1 fils so why keep the 5? Or 10? What can you actually buy for less than 50 fils? At the very least let’s drop a 0 and make things 10 fils. Make the new gas price end in a round number instead of a 5.

    I hate coins

    • Mark says:

      I wouldn’t mind dropping everything under 50 fils and also adding a KD50 note

      • aaa says:

        YES Who the hell has their largest note as like, $66. It’s even worse in Kuwait because combine it with things being paid entirely in cash and rents being super high and you need a stack of like, 30 bills to pay rent.

        I was really hoping they’d take the chance of the new bill design to do a 50.

      • ahmad says:

        no . how will i buy my irani bread for 20 fils then ?

  7. Safa says:

    i dont understand why some cashiers think its ok not to return 50 fils or even 10 fils. its not right and i’ll ask for it. dont look at me with that look. its my money, i earned it.

  8. aziz says:

    I can’t remember the technical details about K-Net, but if you paid with a credit card then this is because payment gateways don’t accept more than 2 decimal places. Think about it, how many countries use 3 decimal places in their currencies other than Kuwait? There aren’t many, and so payment gateways haven’t catered for us apparently. This is why Zain does this, I believe Alshaya does the same with credit cards.

    I used to work at Zain and I have implemented their credit card payment gateway.

  9. azizo says:

    also i have realise that zain internet coverage and speed went down from last month .. dunno why !! i used to see 720 HQ youtube videos but now i only can 240 =))

  10. Ben Dover says:

    you are the bomb for posting this!

  11. Sami AlAwadhi says:

    It’s money that went from your account to theirs. You can call it credit if you want, but for zain it’s 6 extra fils of profit.

    • Mark says:

      yeah, its like we are lending zain KD225,000 a month to invest or do whatever they want with it

      • aziz says:

        This doesn’t apply to all Zain operators, other operators other than Kuwait either live in a country with a currency with 2 decimal places (Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and others) so they won’t do the rounding, or they don’t support credit card payments at all.

        I don’t know what’s Zain Kuwait’s current customer base, let’s say it’s 3 million. Now assume all those 3 million pay through the website (which they are not); rounding up would be at most 9 fils, let’s assume that’s the case for everyone (it’s not). We are talking about 9*3*10^6 = 27,000 KD. This is with all the maximum numbers I have factored in. Reality is it’s probably half this number.

        Now you may argue, yeah but that’s still money they are taking from customers and it sums up to thousands. You are right, but then this number is easily offset by charges made against customers in less than a day. So your 1 to 9 fils is going against your charges, unless you immediately decide to terminate your subscription.

        In short, no this is not a behind the scenes plot to rip off customers. It’s merely a technical limitation of Visa and Mastercard combined with a special situation for Kuwait’s currency. That’s it.

        • Mark says:

          It’s charges they don’t need to be taking and it’s definitely not any kind of limitation or else Viva would have the exact same issue but as you can see in the screenshot above, with Viva you can pay up to 3 decimal places.

          • aziz says:

            Yes, it is a technical limitation. Search for “decimal digits”:

            The same applies to MasterCard.

            Did you pay using a credit card with Viva? Try it. Debit cards are fine, credit cards are not.

            • Mark says:

              in both cases i paid with knet as i mentioned in the post. With Viva I paid 17.502 while Zain would only let me pay 2.000. So if it was a limitation then Viva wouldn’t let me pay the 2 fils.

              • aziz says:

                The situation is like this: debit cards are ok, credit cards have this issue whether with Zain, Viva or any merchant in this country. Try it, I have just did. Viva won’t let you pay the 2 fils.

                Zain apparently has extended the scenario to debit cards as well, this has no significant reason. I have done enough explanation on their behalf.

        • Sami AlAwadhi says:

          They can always round down. Better PR and less negative publicity and conspiracy theories. Why don’t you pass this suggestion to your higher management?

  12. southp4w says:

    There’s a great app called Acorn that kind of does this. What it does is round up to the nearest dollar (so not sure if it would work in kuwait) when you pay for something and the difference from the transaction and that it adds into a little investment account for you. Its not much but over time can amount to more.

  13. shaan says:

    For me this happens to viva , when am going to cancel my connection i pay extra some money ..

  14. RJP says:


    Small drops make an ocean..

    Just think of your call charges.. Its calculated per minute and even if you talk for 59 secs, you will be charged for a minute and 1.01 minutes will be rounded off as a 2 minute call. So think of the fils they are getting… Just some weird mathematics..

  15. Saud says:

    Zain is actually fixing this as we speak, its a problem with the payment gateway that only accepts .00 (a la american cents). Fix should be up very soon. And why are you using and not or the app? *end plug*

    • Mark says:

      Well APP seems overkill just to pay my bill once a month. The website i didn’t know about until now but i checked it and there is no way to know how much my bill is.

  16. Does it Matter says:

    There is the option to pay 1.990 leaving a debit balance (you owe) of 0.004.

    The only problem arises when you are terminating the number/ porting it where you will end up paying possibly up to 0.009 extra.

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