Irish town ditches small change in rounding trial

Irish town ditches small change in rounding trial

More than 240 businesses in the Irish town of Wexford are preparing to ditch one and two cent coins in a rounding trial being run by the country's central bank.

Between 16 September and 17 November, all cash transactions at participating businesses will be rounded to the nearest five cents. Prices of individual goods and services will remain unchanged, with only the total bill rounded. Customers are free to refuse to take part.

The experiment is part of Ireland's National Payments Plan which was published earlier this year by the central bank as it looks to overhaul a system and culture still dominated by cash and cheques.

The bank says that one and two cent coins are inconvenient for the public to carry around; cost more to count and store than they are worth; and are also more expensive to make than their value.

The Wexford trial will help to test how reducing the number of coins in circulation through rounding works in practice and provide a chance to assess the reaction of consumers and retailers.

Ahead of the launch later this month, a major public information campaign is underway, involving leaflets, print and radio adverts, a dedicated Web site and a Twitter handle.

Senator Feargal Quinn says: "For many, one and two cent coins are a nuisance and I have questioned their relevance for some time. However, they are legal currency, so any proposal to change how we use them nationally needs to be well thought through and we must have resolved any practical problems that might arise."

Comments: (1)

Jan-Olof Brunila
Jan-Olof Brunila - Swedbank - Stockholm 04 September, 2013, 08:01Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

In Sweden the central bank some years ago disched all coins smaller than the equivalent value of 12 cents - and nobody died. The European Central Bank should consider scrapping the 1, 2 and 5 cent coins that are a burden to carry around and get rid of. Many vending machine operators in Europe have already blocked for the usage of these small coins. In the electronic payments market we can still pay on the cent and need not round up.