Is the Republic of Ireland becoming a cashless society?

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The Central Bank of Ireland has today recommended the abolishment of its one cent and two cent coins. This follows on from a successful trial conducted in Wexford in 2013 where cash payments were rounded off to the nearest five cents.

The report from Wexford showed strong support for the rollout of the one and two cents rounding.

According to bank statistics, there were over 2.4 billion one cent and two cent coins produced in the Republic of Ireland by the end of October 2014.

When one takes into consideration that it costs 1.7 cents to make a one cent coin it makes sense to reassess the current system.

Furthermore, people tend to avoid actually spending the one cent and two cent coins, preferring to store them rather than go through the process of counting out exact change.

This means that the state’s currency centre actually has to produce more coins in order to maintain a healthy supply, which adds more cost to the state.

Under Central Bank of Ireland’s recommendation the rounding will be conducted on a voluntary basis and the one and two cent coins will remain legal tender.

The bank’s recommendation has put the country in a club of five other EU member states who have adopted a rounding policy – Finland, Denmark, Sweden, Hungary and the Netherlands.

Out of those five, the Nordic countries, Denmark in particular, have actually actively started to migrate towards a cashless society. According to the European Central Bank, Sweden ranked top of all EU countries for card payments, just above Denmark and Finland.

The Central Bank of Ireland has also created an infographic to better convey the astronomical amount of one cent and two cent coins.

ireland infographuic

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