Smaller money coins are on their way out in the Irish Republic.
The one and two cent coins, although for the foreseeable future still legal tender, will be eliminated as change in most retail units from Wednesday, October 28.
Irish consumers will begin receiving change in cash rounded off to the nearest five cent coin as part of Ireland’s “rounding” initiative, which aims to reduce the use of one cent and two cent coins.
The rounding will only apply to cash payments with the total amount of any bill being rounded up or down to the nearest five cent mark. Rounding will be conducted on a voluntary basis while one cent and two cent coins will remain legal tender.
But, based on a trial scheme in Wexford introduced two years ago, it is expected that most shops and their customers will accept the changeover to a five cent unit as the smallest coin. The one cent and two cent coins are expected to eventually disappear from circulation.
The scheme in Wexford showed 85 percent of consumers and 100 percent of retailers in favor of rounding. A spokesman for Ireland’s Central Bank said he expected Irish people would adapt well to the change.
The cost of producing the small coins exceeds their face value. A one cent coin costs 1.65 cents to produce while a two cent coin costs 1.94 cents.
Six other European countries have already adopted a symmetrical rounding policy on smaller coins.
Two national charities have called on people to donate their hoarded one cent and two cent coins to charity.
The Central Bank has distributed packs to 20,000 retailers across the state which will allow businesses to indicate whether they are taking part in the rounding process.
Changes on a total bill will be rounded up or down to the nearest five cent on transactions.
For example a transaction of €10.21 or €10.22 will be rounded to €10.20; a transaction of €10.23 or €10.24 and €10.26 and €10.27 will be rounded to €10.25. A transaction of €10.28 or €10.29 will be rounded to €10.30.