Soon, Canada will be penniless. Not in the poverty-stricken sort of way, but in a more literal sense: As of Tuesday, Feb. 5, the Royal Canadian Mint will cease distributing pennies. After more than 150 years in production, the last Canadian penny was minted in May 2012.
According to the Canadian Mint, removing the penny from circulation will save taxpayers there an estimated $11 million each year, as the coin cost 1.6 cents to manufacture, but has a worth of only 1 cent, reports Global News.
While the Canadian penny slowly exits circulation, a process that may take three to four years, businesses have been asked to round all cash transactions up and down to the nearest 5-cent increment. Items that cost $1.01 or $1.02 will simply be rounded down to an even $1.00, while goods that cost $1.03 or more will increase to $1.05, notes British Columbia-based news outlet The Province.
Business conducted with credit/debit cards and checks will not be rounded.
Canada isn’t the first country to have flirted with this idea, either. In the United States, groups like Citizens to Retire the U.S. Penny and Penny Free Biz have pushed for a similar fate for the U.S. coin.
What do you think? Should the United States discontinue production of the penny?