Ireland could be getting rid of these coins forever, if a pilot scheme in one town later this year goes well. ben.chaney via Flickr
Cheques 'n Balances

One Irish town to experiment with scrapping 1c and 2c coins

The Central Bank’s new ‘National Payments Plan’ says Ireland could save €1bn by using more electronic payments.

ONE MID-SIZED TOWN somewhere in Ireland will play host to a trial scheme on abandoning the use of 1c and 2c coins in Ireland later this year.

The National Payments Plan, published by the Central Bank of Ireland today after two years of development, includes a recommendation that one town should be identified later this year to run a pilot scheme where 1c and 2c coins would no longer be in use.

The plan recommends that the scheme be trialled in one Irish town in December of this year – where retailers and shoppers will be encouraged not to bother carrying 1c or 2c coins, or offering them as payment for a transaction.

While merchants would still price their products or services to include the 1c or 2c coin, the price would be rounded to the nearest 5c if the customer is paying in cash.

This would mean that a bill of €49.38 would be rounded up to €49.40, for example, while a bill of €49.37 would be reduced to €49.35

Similar schemes are already in use throughout Finland and the Netherlands, where the small coins are still legal tender but rarely used in practice.

“Participation in the pilot will be entirely voluntary on the part of both the retailer and the consumer,” the report suggests.

“No recommendation will be made whether to apply this nationally until the outcome of the pilot is known.”

The report leaves it up to the Central Bank to identify the town which will play host to the trial, and to encourage customers and retailers to take part.

  • Do you think your town should be the one chosen for the pilot system – or can you think of the perfect place for the trial? Let us know in the comments.

As had been reported earlier this week, the plan also encourages the inclusion of €10 notes in ATMs, so that customers with balances below €20 would be able to access some of their cash without entering a bank.

The report also sounds something of a death knell for cheques, which are earmarked as a particularly expensive method of payment as they require the physical distribution of paper and manual oversight to process.

It recommends that the re-presentation of unpaid cheques should end from next February, while the Government and businesses are to stop sending cheques to each other by the end of 2014.

Elsewhere, the report encourages the use of mobile-based payment system, and says all taxis should be able to accept credit card payments by 2014.

Further, the country’s banks and the Department of Finance will work together to introduce a ‘standard bank account’ offering a minimal number of services for certain groups of society who do not currently have banking facilities.

The report finds that Ireland wares worse than the European average in terms of the total amount spent on payments costs, and that the public could save up to €1 billion a year by increasing the use of electronic forms of payment.

Read: Could Ireland ever abandon the 1c and 2c coins?

More: Could Ireland ever become a totally cash-free country?

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