Pennies will be a thing of the past as of May 29 in Canada.
The Canadian mint will no longer produce single cent coins, which, according to USA Today, cost 1.5 cents each to create. The change was spurred logically from the cost and general uselessness of the coin most commonly found in jars, childrens’ piggy banks and the bottom of public fountains. With American change costing even more to produce than its Canadian counterparts, the United States should follow suit soon in order to stop wasting change.
“Pennies are unnecessary and no longer have any function,” said Ralph Moyal, president of the Retail Merchants’ Association. Moyal said he supports the stop of penny production because he feels it will speed up transactions.
Cash transactions themselves will transition accordingly. For those paying in cash the price of goods will be rounded to the nearest nickel, according to The Huffington Post. So if an item costs $1.02, it will be rounded down to $1. On the other side of the coin, if an item costs $1.03, it will be rounded up to $1.05. Debit, credit and transactions paid for with checks will not be rounded.
Canada made the right decision in cutting the penny from the ranks of its coinage. They are a waste of money. Businesses rarely accept payment primarily in pennies as proven by “pennypranks” on YouTube. Fishing around for coins in a line at the checkout is not only time consuming, but generally gets you irritated looks from those waiting in line behind you — especially when dropping $10 worth of coinage into the coin chute at the self-checkout stands in Walmart.
There does not seem to be any other way to get rid of these weighty coins though. The Canadian government is recommending that citizens donate their pennies to charities or bring them into local banks to be melted down, according to The New York Times.
The Huffington Post states the penny will still be accepted as legal currency until it fades out of circulation, so those pennies gathering dust around the house will still be usable by those who insist on getting their money’s worth.
The U.S. is currently in a tighter spot with their penny values than Canada is. According to The New York Times, each zinc and copper U.S. penny costs 2.41 cents to make. That adds up to a loss of $60.2 million on penny production during 2011 alone, and the cost will continue piling up. The U.S. needs to follow Canada’s footsteps in annihilating negative value coins. The penny is not the only change costing more to produce than it is worth, as the nickel costs a whopping 11.18 cents to produce, according to ABC News.
We should take a lesson from Canada in their other money related endeavors as well — new tender will be constructed from plastic, and a new collectible quarter will feature the Pachyrhinosaurus lakustai — a dinosaur found in Alberta in 1972 — with a glow in the dark skeleton.
Maybe this is just my inner-dork talking, but selling a glow in the dark dinosaur coin for much more than it is worth — about $30 according to news.cnet.com — is definitely the most reliable way to save the economy. That, and cutting coins most people have stopped using anyway from the budget.