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Central Bank hopes consumers will stop spending a penny in shops

Published 19/10/2015

Shoppers will be encouraged to have one and two cent coins on their final bill rounded up or down
Shoppers will be encouraged to have one and two cent coins on their final bill rounded up or down

Shoppers will be encouraged to stop spending millions on pennies from the end of the month.

The Central Bank has confirmed plans to go nationwide with a scheme which allows retailers to round bills to the nearest five cents with the consent of shoppers.

Since 2001, 37 million euro has been spent on issuing one and two cent coins, with Ireland minting the coppers at three times the rate of the rest of the eurozone.

But the initiative to reduce the need for coppers is voluntary and consumers will retain the right to pay the exact bill and request their exact change.

Ronnie O'Toole, of the Central Bank, said: "The reaction so far to rounding has been fantastic.

"As a country we are good at making changes like this. We migrated to the euro ahead of most other countries, and the indications so far are that consumers and retailers alike will embrace rounding."

The Central Bank insisted rounding would only apply to cash transactions and not to credit card, electronic or cheque payments and it would also only be used on the final cash total of a bill and not to in dividual goods.

As an example it said final bills ending in one and two cents or six and seven cents would be rounded down to the nearest five and those ending in three and four cents or eight and nine cents would be rounded up.

Other rules on the rounding scheme include that one and two cent coins remain legal tender.

The nationwide initiative kicks in on October 28.

It follows a successful trial in Wexford in 2013, which showed that 85% of consumers and 100% of retailers in Wexford who expressed an opinion wanted rounding rolled out nationally.

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