If you imagine in the stock market prices are often quoted to many decimal places.

For example: USD 27.4955

This smells like a monetary value e.g. it has a currency code and a value however it doesn't look like money because of course if you asked me to give you $24.4955 I can't.

Is there a term in accounting that describes this sort of "approximate" value which seems a lot like money but isn't quite?

For clarity my definition of "money" is real world amounts specific to the Major and Minor units that that currency can be quoted in.

  • This could be pip. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Percentage_in_point In trading this is quite heavily used to mirror small movements and trying to profit from such small movements.
    – DumbCoder
    Commented Mar 4, 2013 at 16:12
  • 4
    Have you been to a gas station anywhere in the US recently?:)
    – littleadv
    Commented Mar 4, 2013 at 18:07

3 Answers 3


of course if you asked me to give you $24.4955 I can't.

No, but if I asked you to give me $24.4955 and you gave me a piece of paper saying "I O U $24.4955", and then this happened repeatedly until I had collected 100 of these pieces of paper from you, then I could give them back to you in exchange for $2449.55 of currency.

There's nothing magical about the fact that there doesn't happen to be a $0.001 coin in current circulation.

This question has some further information.

  • So the question remains is there something that describes this amount that cannot directly be considered "money"? Your answer doesn't really answer the specific question, although perhaps you're just saying there isn't a specific word for such as concept.
    – MrEdmundo
    Commented Mar 4, 2013 at 15:55
  • 4
    Perhaps I wasn't specific enough: it can directly be considered money, just not money for which there is a unit of currency in circulation. "Money" is a perfectly valid term for it. You must have seen petrol stations showing the price as "149.99p / litre" or whatever - nobody complains that this isn't money or that they can't pay for their fuel.
    – Vicky
    Commented Mar 4, 2013 at 16:05
  • That's a fair enough point, but you need to know in certain circumstances that they're two different things. For example in order for an amount of money to be transferred the amount needs to be denominated based on the rules for that currency e.g. two decimal places for USD. So if you decided to buy my piece of paper of me you would probably give me $24.50. That $24.50 is a different thing (maybe); it's a real amount of US dollars not a value used for approximating the value like $24.4955. Perhaps it's unimportant but we think we'd like to force understanding of this subtle difference.
    – MrEdmundo
    Commented Mar 4, 2013 at 16:13
  • 1
    OK, in that case I would probably use terms like "monetary amount" or "monetary value" for the $24.4955 and "currency value" or "rounded up/down/off monetary value" for the $24.50.
    – Vicky
    Commented Mar 4, 2013 at 16:16
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    As an aside, if you transfer money between currencies this is a normal problem, too, isn't it? You say "I've got GBP100 and I want to buy USD, how much will you sell me" and the bureau de change does some sums that come out at GBP100 = USD 124.3333 (or whatever) so they adjust both sides to get as close to a matching currency value as possible, and end up selling you USD 122.50 for GBP 97.80 or whatever. (Numbers pulled out of thin air, but you get the gist)
    – Vicky
    Commented Mar 4, 2013 at 16:18

The Coinage Act of 1792 of the Continental Congress established that the lowest money of account for the United States is one-thousandth (1/1000) of a dollar. This sub-unit is the mille (also written mil, mill). Other sub-units given by the act are the disme for one-tenth (1/10) of a dollar (for which, etymologically, is the origin of the word dime), and the cent for one-hundredth (1/100) of a dollar. The ten-thousandth of the dollar value is taken on account by a few financial organizations, but has no official given term. For the monetary value of USD 27.4955, it may be quoted as twenty-seven dollars, forty-nine cents, and five-and-a-half milles.

  • -1 This is not really a great answer as it only covers a specific currency and is not applicable, at least from information apparent in the answer, to other currencies.
    – MD-Tech
    Commented Jan 11, 2017 at 11:29

I recently bought a stock - enter image description here which was priced exactly as your question ponders, to the 1/100 cent. I happened to buy 2000 shares, but just a round lot of 100 would be enough to create no need for rounding.

It's common for industry to price this way as well, where an electronic component purchased by the thousands, is priced to the tenth or hundredth of a cent.

There's nothing magic about this, and you'll have more to ponder when your own lowest unit of currency is no longer minted. (I see you are in UK. Here, in the US, there's talk of dropping our cent. A 5 cent piece to be the smallest value coin. Yet, any non-cash transactions, such as checks, credit card purchases, etc, will still price to the penny.)

To specifically answer the question - it's called decimal currency. 1/10, 1/100 of a cent.

  • 2
    You've essentially made the same point I have: something with an arbitrary number of decimal places is still just money, and the thing with the special name (if anything) is the rounded up version that can actually be made up with current currency.
    – Vicky
    Commented Mar 4, 2013 at 16:53
  • 1
    Yup, agree with you vicky. I started composing an hour ago, as first answer, got distracted, and finally sent when I did. I then saw how close our answers were. Commented Mar 4, 2013 at 17:09
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    Canada has already dropped pennies, for what it's worth. A Canadian bank may still accept them, but nobody else does.
    – keshlam
    Commented Sep 20, 2016 at 3:12
  • I see that this is an old one, but what likely happened here was not 1 transaction at $0.8393, but two or more separate ones. For example, if one person had 140 shares to sell at a price of $0.83 and another had 1,860 at $0.84, you'd have paid a total of $1,678.60 for your 2,000 shares, or $0.8393 per share on average.
    – Randy
    Commented Jan 11, 2017 at 18:41

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