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Scheme launched to reduce low value euro coins

Published 28/10/2015

Customers will have their change rounded to the nearest five cents, if they consent
Customers will have their change rounded to the nearest five cents, if they consent

An Irish scheme aimed at reducing the number of low value euro coins in circulation will be quickly supported, the Central Bank predicted.

From today customers will have their change rounded to the nearest five cents, if they consent, reducing the use of one and two cent coins which often end up stored at people's homes.

It follows a trial in Wexford in the Republic and similar measures in EU member states including the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Hungary.

Dr Ronnie O'Toole, an economist at Ireland's Central Bank, said: "Consumers may be surprised at first but, judging from the experience in Wexford, they will embrace rounding very quickly."

Since the euro was introduced in 2001 Ireland has spent 37 million euro issuing one and two cent coins - minting the coppers at three times the rate of the rest of the eurozone.

Bank bosses hope the change introduced today will reduce the number of one and two cent coins, which are often "stockpiled" in homes

The scheme was trialled in Wexford in 2013 and businesses and consumers supported the plans.

One and two cent coins will remain legal tender and the change will only apply to cash transactions.

The Central Bank said rounding would not apply 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 individual goods.

As examples 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.

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