Retail groups support initiative to eliminate 1c and 2c coins
15 June 2015
Retail associations, the CSNA and RGDATA, have expressed their endorsement of a government proposal to eliminate 1c and 2c coins from circulation nationally. The Irish Independent reports that the matter is to be brought before cabinet tomorrow by Finance Minister Michael Noonan, after a pilot scheme in Wexford was deemed to be a “massive success”.
CSNA chief executive Vincent Jennings said the association is fully backing the project, and has been involved with the initiative since it started in Wexford in 2013.
Jennings said the main challenge for the national project was that the Department of Finance will need to clearly communicate to the public that the rounding up and down to 5c at the till is not an attempt to drive prices up, and that it will not increase profits for the retailer or the Revenue Commissioners.
The pilot scheme, which ran from 16 September to 17 November, 2013, saw retailers round cash transactions to the nearest five cent at the cash register, thus removing the need for 1c and 2c coins at the register. The results showed strong support for the trial among both consumers and retailers. The National Payments Plan subsequently recommended last year that the scheme be introduced nationally.
Commenting on the initiative, RGDATA’s Tara Buckley told ShelfLife: “RGDATA members who took part in last year’s pilot in Wexford said they had no problem with the scrapping of one a two cent coins as long as the rounding system was explained clearly to customers with a comprehensive PR and marketing campaign. Consumers need to be clear that this is government policy, not just a whim of the shop owner. Of course, if the scheme is rolled out nationwide then independent retailers would like to see bank lodgment fees reducing as a result of this move.”
If the scheme is made national, Ireland will be the fifth EU member state to introduce a “rounding” policy, after Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Hungary. Estimates indicate that somewhere in the region of €35m worth of 1c and 2c coins are is stashed away in penny jars, baskets, and down the backs of couches across Ireland.
While business and government groups have expressed round support for the initiative, some charity groups have expressed concern that they would see a loss in revenue at checkout collection boxes, the Independent reports.