In 2013 some Wexford shops signed up to an experiment. They started trading without handling 1 and 2 cent coins. The amount to be paid at the till was rounded up or down to the nearest 5 cent. This did not affect the actual pricing of goods and the rounding bit of the amount due was done on the total amount to be paid. So, if the total bill was lets say €12.41 or €12.42, the customer was asked for €12.40 and if the total came to €12.43 or €12.44 the customer had to fork out €12.44.
This rounding up and down business applied to cash transactions only. Card transactions were unaffected.
After last year’s trial run in the east of Ireland over a few weeks, the Irish Government is now debating whether they should scrap 1 and 2 cent coins altogether. Seemingly, minting them is more expensive then the value of those coins. The price of a 1 cent coin is 1.7 cent, whereas a 2 cent coin costs 2 cent.
If the retailers want to do away with the 1 and 2 cent coins, they should adjust the prices accordingly and stop the nonsense of .99 cent pricing. I do not believe in advertising one price and charging a different one. Where is this going to end? Also, I believe that especially for young people it is a wrong signal. Once young children realise that the price quoted is not the price charged, it undermines their understanding of trading.
Furthermore, Irish schools do something like a copper hunt. During the copper hunts, the pupils are to collect “unwanted” copper from their homes. These little “worthless” coins make up a lot of cash for those schools. If those 1 and 2 cent coins are going to be faced out, then those copper hunts will be a thing of the past as well.