MPC (Military Payment Certificate)

GI’s used the MPC for Transactions in Vietnam

One of the first things we had to do in Vietnam was trade our ‘Greenbacks‘ in for MPC currency.

MPCs were paper money denominated in amounts of 5 cents, 10 cents, 25 cents, 50 cents, 1 dollar, 5 dollars, 10 dollars, and starting in 1968 20 dollars. MPCs were fully convertible to US dollars upon leaving a designated MPC zone and convertible to local currencies when going on leave (but not vice-versa), and were illegal for unauthorized personnel to possess, thus, in theory, eliminating US dollars from local economies.

Military Payment Certificates, or MPC, were used from the end of World War II until the end of the Vietnam War, between the years 1946 and 1973. MPC’s utilized layers of line lithography to create colorful banknotes that could be produced cheaply. Fifteen series of MPC’s were created but only 13 series were issued…




Filed under Vietnam War

25 responses to “MPC (Military Payment Certificate)

  1. Jim

    do you recall what year and month the MPC changed colors to stop the flood of black market. I believe it happened fo me in 1968.

    • clyde stearns

      It was august 17 1969 I was in Quain Tri I just got there accouple of days before the change SeaBees mcb74

    • jinflynn

      I think you are correct. I was in Cu Chi at the time. Can’t remember the month. Everything was locked down. The locals were at the gates trying to exchange the old mpc before we even knew about it. And we were in finance and accounting.

      • JINFLYNN;
        When did you get to Vietnam?
        When did you leave Vietnam?
        We were in Okinawa, and delivered MPC to Vietnam.
        Drop me an e-mail.

      • Jim Flynn

        Arrived Cam Rahn Bay 2:00am Jan 30 1968 destined for Pleiku. Reassigned sent to Bien Hoa mid day. Stayed there for 6 months then sent to Cu Chi for 8 months.

    • Dennis Sheppard

      I was involved in operation C-Day Sept 1970 IV Corps 292nd Finance Section Vinh Long Army Airfield

      • Chris Ness

        You were Vinh Long the year after I was. I was stationed in Sa Dec and they moved me to the airfield my last month.

      • Dennis M Sheppard

        I drove down to Can Tho, Sadec and Soctrang during my tour in 70 Welcome home it definitely was an experience for someone who was 20 like me and turning 21 while there. Lots of memories.

        Visit the Vinh Long page on FB search VinhLongArmyAirfield1970 [type just as it is shown no spaces]

      • terrence

        we had C day conversion sept 69 new MPC was Moon landing currency. we had a to day lock down no moneyexchange after 2 days and nothing over your monthly pay,

    • Larry Hladilek

      They also changed in 1970. I don’t remember what month.

  2. Charles S

    I also recall the change in August of 1969, while I was stationed near Qui Nhon. The sequence of events leading to the change were, in my opinion, particularly shameful. After encouragement by soldiers on leave in the town to accept MPCs for payment, the local merchants were left holding worthless MPCs on that day, when all bases were closed for 24 hours. All MPCs had to be exchanged during that time or deemed worthless after that. I distinctly recall the townspeople stretching arms full of soon-to-be-worthless currency through the barbed-wire fences, clamoring for someone to take them at far less than their stated value, rather than lose their total value. Needless to say, the trust in MPCs from that point on was virtually nil on their part, while the value of greenbacks skyrocketed. It was a sad state of affairs, just one more example of our loss of “the hearts and minds” of the populace.

  3. One thing no one has mentioned so far is the limit on how much you could exchange. It was limited to $200 for an EM. Even at out low pay rate in 1969, that wasn’t much. The presumption was that anything more was ill-gotten-gain, theft, gambling, or black market.It didn’t matter if you had been in the boonies all that time or merely been frugal, $200 was it. I keep expecting at some point the gov’t will do it again with out current money. Something like, “turn in all your Dollars up to $2000” for the new Amero. Anything else is worthless.



  5. Lazlo Toth

    I was there in all of 1967 and they switched the mpc colors sometime during that year. I learned later this is known as a benign switch, where you get one for one. When you get 1 new for 10, 100, 1,000 or more old it is known as a malign switch, like a reverse stock split.

  6. R. Tucker

    Charles S. What troop were you in in Quin Nhon. I was there at the same time with the 7/17th air cave at lane field

  7. Robert E. Dillon

    It was August 20, 1969 at Tuy Hoa AFB. I pulled KP that day at the chow hall. Vietnamese were not allowed on base. I went to my regular assignment late that afternoon and exchanged up to $200 dollars at the squadron orderly room.


  8. Kenneth Robinson

    I was at the 90th Replacement Bn in September, 1970. I was on TDA from the 101st. I worked in the Finance Exchange Unit and the currency conversion day was complete chaos. A lot of my buddies asked me to convert more than the maximum allowed. I would not because we were told if we did anything illegal we would have to go back in the field. I lost a lot of friends that day, but got to finish my year in a very secure location. I was married and had a one-year old baby girl back home. All I wanted to do is get back to them.

    • I was down in the Delta with the 292nd Finance Section at Vinh Long Army Aiirfield 1970. Operation C-Day in Sept took 3 days with hardly any sleep I flew all around the IV Corps collecting millions of old MPC and Issuing vouchers for new MPC. Vietnamese would charge the places I was at trying to get vouchers but I couldn’t give them any and like you I had soldiers ask me to do illegal exchange which meant LBJ in Long Binh not a place I wanted to go for sure. After the 3 day operation our unit was exhausted gave us a day to sleep before getting back to our jobs.

      Sgt Dennis Sheppard
      292nd Finance Section
      Vinh Long Army Airfield

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