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Another country is dumping its small change

The Central Bank of Ireland is to gradually phase out small copper change from circulation, becoming the latest European country to do so.

From October 28, when consumers get change in cash in shops, the amount of that change will be rounded to the nearest 5 cent "to reduce the need for 1 cent and 2 cent coins," the bank announced on Monday.

The move comes after a successful trial in one Irish town where 85 percent of consumers and 100 percent of retailers wanted to see the rounding scheme rolled out on a national level.


Bert Van den Broucke | Photonews | Getty Images

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

Ireland is the latest country to adopt a rounding policy; Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Hungary, The Netherlands and Sweden already do so.

Showing that the move could save the Irish mint (and ultimately taxpayers) money, the Central Bank of Ireland said a 1 cent coin costs more to make than its face value, at 1.65 cents to produce. A 2 cent coin costs 1.94 cents to produce, it added.

It could take a while for the coins to drop out of the system, however, with many copper cent coins presumed to be hoarded in piggy banks and jam jars. As of 12 June 2015, 1,096,853,216 two cent coins have been issued into circulation in Ireland, amounting to €21,937,064.32 euros (around $24.8 million).

Meanwhile, 1,384,491,236 one cent coins have been issued into circulation in Ireland amounting to 13,844,912.36 euros.

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