From today, when consumers get change in cash in shops, the amount of that change will be rounded to the nearest 5 cent. This is to reduce the need for 1 cent and 2 cent coins.
This follows a successful trial that was conducted by the National Payments Plan in Wexford in 2013, which showed that 85% of consumers and 100% of retailers in Wexford who expressed an opinion wanted rounding rolled out nationally.
Rounding will apply only to cash payments and will be conducted on a voluntary basis and 1 and two cent coins will remain legal tender.
The Central Bank has distributed packs to 26,000 retailers throughout the country, which will allow them to indicate participation in rounding.
Charities are taking advantage of the rounding rollout to try and raise money for some good causes. Change for Charity and Make-a-Wish both have national drives to try and persuade people to donate some of their hoarded coins.
Six EU member states – Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Hungary, The Netherlands and Sweden – have already adopted a rounding policy.
The value of 1 and 2 cent coins that have been issued in Ireland since the introduction of the euro is €37m.
To view an infographic that explains how rounding will be conducted, click here.