Totals to be rounded up or down, as one and two cent coins phased out

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One and two cent coins will be phased out from Wednesday week, as part of a Central Bank scheme.

From then when consumers get change in cash, it will be rounded up or down to the nearest five cent to reduce the need for the coins.

For example, if the total ends in 1 or 2, it will round to 0 - if it ends in 3 or 4, it will round to 5.

It will be on a voluntary basis, and the coins will remain legal tender.

It follows a trial period in Wexford in 2013, which was seen as successful amongst both consumers and retailers.

The National Payments Plan showed that 85% of consumers and 100% of retailers in Wexford who expressed an opinion wanted rounding rolled out nationally.

Five European Union members states have already opted to get rid of the coins - which cost more to mint than they are worth, with the direct average cost of producing a 1c coin approximately 1.3c.

The key features of rounding are:

  • Rounding will be conducted on a voluntary basis
  • 1c and 2c coins will remain legal tender
  • Rounding will apply only to cash payments
  • The total amount of any bill will be rounded down or up to the nearest 5 cent

The Central Bank has distributed packs to 20,000 retailers throughout the country - which will allow them to indicate participation in rounding.

Consumers will also be entitled to opt-out of rounding, and can always ask for their exact change.

Charities are taking advantage of the rollout to try and raise money for good causes.

For example, Change for Charity and Make-a-Wish both have national drives to try and persuade people to donate some of their hoarded coins.

The value of 1 cent and 2 cent coins that have been issued in Ireland since the introduction of the euro is €37m.
 

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