Hooray - we're getting rid of the penny!
Canada takes another small step into modernity with the news today that the penny will stopped being minted this fall. Seventeen other countries have already dropped their small currency coins. Jim Flaherty has taken a look at the case for keeping the penny and realized it was no longer worth it. First off, it costs one-and-a-half cents to produce each penny. We lose money with every coin. In total, it costs the Mint $11-million annually to produce it. And, according to one study it costs the private sector $150-million every year to store, transport, and count them.
So for that reason, not only will the penny not be minted any more, but the Government is actually taking them out of circulation. I can hear the moaning already - what will happen to those lost cents. Well, nothing if you pay by debit or credit. Those transactions will stay the same. But cash purchase will be rounded off, post-tax. Not rounded-up, but rounded off. So, anything that is 1 or 2 cents gets rounded down, anything with 3 or 4 cents gets rounded up. It works out as a wash for consumers, considering it's probably a coin-flip as to whether or not it gets rounded up or down. And then, only if you pay with cash.
How many transactions per week do you pay with cash? Five, ten, maybe twenty in an extreme case. Let's assume the worst, and say every retailer rounded it up to screw the consumer. The most you'd be out is four cents per transaction, or eighty cents per week. Now, over the course of a year, that's forty dollars. That's seems like a healthy amount. But that also assumes you met every retailer who broke the law in rounding up and not rounding off, and you failed every time to check the bill. Thanks to cell phones, everyone has a calculator now in their pocket. Seeing what the true price would take a matter of seconds. And, it assumes that retailers would risk the extremely publicity of gouging the public out of four cents.
Cash is becoming less and less popular. According to the Bank of Canada, the value of cash transactions is now below thirty percent. Because of convenience and security concerns, debit (and soon your phone) is the preferred method of transaction. So, what do you do with all those pennies you've hoarded? Easy, do what any sane person does and go to a CoinStar machine and get them turned into bills. But, Tom they take 10%. That's it? They take a nickel for every roll of pennies. That's the deal of the century. No sorting or rolling. Just dump them in and collect your cash. Or better yet, take that coffee can of copper and give it to a charity, They'll glad take it off your hands. Thank you Jim Flaherty for getting rid of this antiquated, useless coin.