Do minor currency units have a ISO standard?

ISO 4217 defines 3-letter currency symbols:

  • EUR
  • USD
  • LKR
  • GBP

Do currencies' minor units (cent, pence) have a ISO or similar standard, too, that defines codes for those sub-units like

  • ct
  • p



The standard also defines the relationship between the major currency unit and any minor currency unit. Often, the minor currency unit has a value that is 1/100 of the major unit, but 1/1000 is also common. Some currencies do not have any minor currency unit at all. In others, the major currency unit has so little value that the minor unit is no longer generally used (e.g. the Japanese sen, 1/100th of a yen). This is indicated in the standard by the currency exponent. For example, USD has exponent 2, while JPY has exponent 0. Mauritania does not use a decimal division of units, setting 1 ouguiya (UM) = 5 khoums, and Madagascar has 1 ariary = 5 iraimbilanja.


As for a better word, how does minor currency unit suit? Although, Wikipedia also refers to it as sub unit. Take your pick.

There is a table on that Wikipedia article listing the standard precision for the minor currency unit.

As a sidenote, Wikipedia provides the fractional unit name for all circulating currencies.

In the financial markets there's roughly two established industry standards.

The first one is really a case-by-case agreement, mostly enforced by exchanges that have their securities quote in the minor currency unit. This lead to:

  • GBX for British pence
  • ZAC for South-African cents
  • ILA for Israeli agorot

Probably pioneered by Reuters and Bloomberg, the second standard is far more wide-spread and consistent. The agreement is to lowercase the third letter to denote the minor units.

  • GBp, ZAr, ILs, USd, EUr, etc.

Related discussions:

You need to look at the standard itself.

From the ISO website:

ISO 4217:2008 specifies the structure for a three-letter alphabetic code and an equivalent three-digit numeric code for the representation of currencies and funds. For those currencies having minor units, it also shows the decimal relationship between such units and the currency itself.

ISO 4217:2008 also establishes procedures for a Maintenance Agency, and specifies the method of application for codes.

The key bit is:

it also shows the decimal relationship between such units and the currency itself.

So to answer your question, I couldn't find an ISO Standard that discusses minor units. Similar standards discuss Commercial Administration and Finance.

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