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German town says 'Nein!' to pennies


Starting today, merchants in the North-Rhine Westphalia town of Kleve, won't give you a penny for your thoughts...or take one as part of a sale. They're making themselves part of a movement to ditch Europe's smallest coins.

The town is just across the border from Nijmegen in the Netherlands, where one and two-cent coins disappeared from circulation several years ago, after a similar move by merchants in one town spread nationwide. The Kleve merchants hope to set off a similar move in Germany.

Other Eurozone countries that have ditched the small change include Finland, Belgium and Ireland. Sweden, not a Euro user, is moving toward an altogether cashless society. 

In Kleve, where 60 members of the merchant group have signed up, and more are expected, prices will be rounded up or down to the nearest five cents. Eventually, they hope that local branches of national companies will also join in. One factor that's driving the move: Banks are now charging sizable fees for accepting deposits of large numbers of small coins.

For more on this story from click HERE

For TG's previous coverage on Scandinavian cashless plans click HERE 


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Canada got rid of the penny over 3 years ago.  As Garry says, usually things are priced so that prices get rounded up to the nearest nickel, although they theoretically can also get rounded down.  The reason was basic economics -- it cost about 1.5 cents to make the 1 cent coin.  And a penny buys nothing any more.  I'm glad to be rid of them.

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The proposal to get rid of the penny keeps coming up here, too…and every time it does, it gets shot down by people who feel as if the ground will fall out from under the economy if there are no pennies. I wish we could follow Canada on that one (among other good ideas they’ve had).

I’ve got a tray at my desk with leftover coins from here and there, and I’m always amazed by some of the little ones: Italian centimo coins from when they were 1/100 of 1/616 of a dollar. As nearly as I can tell, by the way, while Cuba has a full range of coins (minted in Canada, by the way) in the Convertible Peso currency, in the ‘moneda nacional’ used by Cubans, the only coins in use are the 3 peso (about 12c), the 1 peso and the 20 centavos.
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