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Wexford Euro Coin Project

Do you ever get frustrated carrying small coins in your pocket or purse? Some people of course will say money is money.

About ten years ago, to express its unity, Europe introduced a common currency - the euro and 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 cents coins. People have now got fed up with those damn small 2 and 1 cent coins and have decided to be shut of them. To get the project off the ground the authorities have selected Wexford here to try out managing without these two small coins which cost more to produce than they are worth.

Under the trial which starts next week total transaction prices at the till will be rounded to the nearest 5 cent mark. €2.22 will be rounded down to €2.20 and €5.23 will be rounded up to €2.25.

I hope the project succeeds. It will make my pocket so much lighter and I will not have to put on my glasses to know which coins I'm searching for!



Australia did the same thing in 1992, back when I was still flitting between countries. I remember wondering how much of a difference it was going to make, then realising that it made practically no difference in terms of cost, but quite a lot in terms of coin purse weight!
I don't think anyone's really missed them here since we dropped them. I think by the end, the two cent coin had more value as a tiny screwdriver than it's nominal amount.

On being rid of the penny

Canada never had 2-cent coins, but did have 1-cent coins (the "penny") for as long as we've had currency.... until this past year. They did away with it, rounding up or down to the nearest 5-cents for cash transactions. No one misses it.

Key phrase is "cash transactions," of which there are fewer and fewer. For checks, credit cards, and debit cards, the full amount is due. Amazingly few people actually carry cash at all anymore; debit cards are very big here.
In the USA we have a 1cent penny. There is always talk of getting rid of it but it remains. We seem to like our penny.
I use mine regularly. Something I buy often costs$3.17. I regularly use pennies to make the cost. Sometimes only 2, sometimes 7, seldom all 17.
I like the penny.

As far as I know they don't take debit or credit cards at drive in windows.
The part of the country live in still functions on a cash economy.

Edited at 2013-09-08 15:47 (UTC)
We do have some drive ins here, but I've never actually used one so I don't know whether they take cards or not. Here the latest things are the contactless cards that you just hold near the reader and you don't need to sign or use a pin number. They only work for transactions of less than 20 UK pounds so are designed to be another step in doing away with cash altogether.
Is there resistance to cashless?
In the rural area I live in many men are self employed.
They prefer and the tradition is to pay in cash. It is not uncommon for a man to have with him several hundred dollars in cash at any time. $100 bills are common.
My neighbors would resist being cashless.
It's the same round here, especially when someone might have a job and do a bit of extra work on the side. Paying cash to workmen is frowned on by the authorities because it's a way of dodging tax. It's known as the "grey economy", not exactly illegal but not totally legitimate either.

So as you say, there is likely to be resistance, especially on the part of older people, but retailers like it because banks charge to handle coins and with electronic payments they don't have to worry about cashing up, security and physically carrying money to the bank.

The change is not going to happen overnight, but as people get more comfortable with things like PayPal and direct payments from one bank account to another, often via mobile phone, I can see cash slowly being phased out.

It's funny, at the time I was growing up (1950s and 60s), we looked to America as being much more advanced, almost futuristic. But now the UK and Europe seem to be much quicker to adopt new technologies and America is starting to look old fashioned. Perhaps the habit of tipping means that Americans want to hang on to cash, but over here direct tipping of staff is nothing like so common. We ate out the other night and I paid by card. During the payment process there was the facility to add a gratuity, which I did, choosing the amount I wanted to add. No cash needed at all.
If the tip is on the credit slip some unscrupulous businesses do not give it to the server. If it is on the slip the server has no control over if,how much or when they get the money. Cash is for the server's use immediately.
All very interesting. Sweden, I believe, never used the 2 and 1 cent coins in their system.
In Russia, too, get off of coins in denominations of 1, 5, 10 kopecks. The truth while in private, rounding prices up to about 50 cents (multiple)

В России тоже отделываются от монет достоинством в 1, 5, 10 копеек. Правда пока в частном порядке, округляя цены, примерно до 50 копеек (кратно)