independent

Sunday 20 October 2019

Wexford trial could signal the end of one and two cent coins

maria pepper

Say goodbye to the pesky 1c and 2c coin as Wexford is chosen for a trial which could seem them removed from circulation.

The Central Bank has chosen Wexford town as the only location for a 'Rounding Trial' which will begin in mid-September.

Participation is voluntary but Wexford Chamber is encouraging everyone to take part.

Under the system, the price of purchases will be rounded off to the nearest 5c.

So if your purchases come to €10.53, for example, the amount will be rounded off to €10.55.

If your receipt shows €10.22, it will be rounded to €10.20.

In a case of swings and roundabouts, you will gain marginally on some purchases and lose on others.

The Wexford trial is being undertaken to guage public reaction to the kind of rounding system already in place or being introduced in other countries.

The 1c and 2c coins are effectively obsolete in Ireland anyway.

'How many times do we go into a shop, buy something for €19.99 and walk away without taking the 1c change,' asked Wexford Chamber CEO Madeleine Quirke who submitted the Wexford trial application to the Central Bank.

'I applied for it because it's good that we as Wexford people have a say in something that will have an impact,' she said.

'The trial will be rolled out or not rolled out around Ireland depending on the reaction in Wexford.'

Ms. Quirke said that from a retailer's point of view, 1c and 2c coins are time-consuming to handle and of little value.

'There is no purchasing power in 1c and 2c coins. They're outdated now and it's time to move on,' she said, adding that there are similar trials underway in towns in the Netherlands and Finland.

The majority of 1c and 2 c coins are lying unused in jars in people's homes.

Meanwhile, the Central Bank is forced to keep producing more, leading to unnecessary costs.

Wexford's selection for the trial has been welcomed by the Minister of Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin.

'It will reduce the number of 1 and 2 cent coins in circulation, test how rounding will work in practice and assess the reaction of consumers and retailers,' he said.

He commended Wexford Chamber and the Central Bank on the initiative.

'Once again, Wexford has shown itself to be a leader in the field of retail excellence and at the forefront of innovation,' he said.

Information will be provided to local households and businesses in the lead-up to the trial which will last approximately six weeks.

Minister Howlin said the Wexford trial will inform the Government's view on whether to roll out the trial nationally.

Wexford People

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