This can be seen from the statistics. The Central Bank has produced 2.5 billion one-cent and two-cent coins since the Euro was introduced, equivalent to around 1,500 coins for every household. Yet no matter how many the Central Bank produce, retailers come back asking for more for one simple reason: they give the coins to consumers, but consumers put them straight into jam-jars.
Up and down
But a solution is on the way – rounding. This works simply. When a consumer is paying for a transaction in cash the total amount can be rounded down or up to the nearest five or ten cent. For example:
Many EU countries already operate rounding, including Belgium, the Netherlands, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Hungary, Norway, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. In fact, the Australians melted their old one-cent coins down and used them in the bronze medals at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games.
The initiative to bring rounding to Ireland came from the National Payments Plan (NPP). One of the recommendations of the NPP was to conduct a rounding trial in Wexford in 2013 to test consumer and retailer reaction. The trial was a resounding success with 85% of consumers and 100% of retailers surveyed believing that rounding should be applied nationally. Following on from the Wexford Trial, Rounding will be rolled out nationally from 28th October 2015.
“For rounding to happen both the consumer and retailer needed to be onboard, it’s been a resounding success. I would like to thank our customers in Wexford for their pioneering spirit in adapting to the process from the original trial in September 2013 right through to implementation now nationwide come October 2015. It makes sense to change, no pun intended!”
For rounding to happen, both the retailer and the customer must accept it; both will have the right to use exact change. Rounding only takes place on the total bill, not on individual prices, so existing price points (for example items priced at 0.99c) will remain unchanged. Rounding will not apply to amounts being paid electronically, such as by debit card, credit card or store card. Where a retailer is applying rounding they can apply it automatically without asking the consumer – it will be up to the consumer to say if they don’t want rounding applied.
So what will happen to support retailers in advance of 28th October? The Central Bank will co-ordinate a national consumer education campaign in advance of the launch date. Retailers should indicate that they are applying rounding through appropriate in-store signage. This could include, for example, a notice on entrance-doors or at the till. The Central Bank will be making suitable signage available to retailers in advance of the rollout on 28th October.
Informed well, Ireland will make this change easily. After all, we’re good at making these changes – the euro-changeover being a case in point. Rounding will soon become accepted, and pretty soon you’ll barely notice.
Rounding will be rolled out nationally from 28th October 2015.
Ronnie O’Toole is Programme Manager of the National Rounding Rollout in the Central Bank. For any questions or queries on Rounding, retailers can contact the Central Bank directly on firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Central Bank has provided two documents as guidelines:
|Rounding- Retailer Guidebook:||Rounding- A One Minute Guide for Retailers:|