Canada is removing the penny from its currency from next year after the government announced that one cent pieces are too expensive to produce…

Each 1 cent, made from either copper-plated zinc (1997-1999 coins) or copper plated steel (2000-2012 coins) costs around 1.6 cents to produce, and scrapping them will save an estimated $11 million Canadian dollars a year…

The Royal Canadian Mint will produce its final penny next month, and stop providing the coin to banks and financial institutions in the autumn.

Pennies will remain legal tender, but the government said it hoped most people would turn them in to be recycled as scrap metal. Their use will become largely redundant, as companies and retailers have been told to begin rounding up sums to the nearest nickel (five cents)…

Pennies are not the only form of currency to be vanishing – Canada has already begun phasing out paper bank notes, replacing high domination bills with plastic versions.

In the last 35 years or so, Phillipines, Sweden, UK, New Zealand, Mexico, Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Israel, Netherlands, Hungary, Brazil, Argentina, India, Singapore and Papua New Guinea have done something similar. By the time the United States Congress authorizes a small sensible task like this we’ll already be making money transfers by quantum mental telepathy.

  1. msbpodcast says:

    Anything not to yell: Start the stamping machines and the intaglio presses … the $CDN is changing.

    Because it is well known that you can’t revalue your currency (like France did/does) to set a date when your old currency is worthless and your new currency is now worth next-to-nothing (something) again.

    Instead the Canadian Loonie (which, btw, is on par with the US dollar,) is heading the way of the Turkish Lira.

    Bodes well for future calculator app sales…

  2. kmfix says:

    I’m gonna bet that every retailer is going to price everything so it gets rounded up.

    • NiktheElectrician says:

      I’ve heard this from a number of people, but it just cannot be done. The prices are still based down to the cent. Only the total of all your items, not each item, after taxes is rounded up or down. There is no way mathematically for retailers to rig the numbers on prices in their favour, despite all the conspiracy theorists pointing to the contrary. Anyone who disagrees with this please show me some mathematical formula where this sort of gouging is possible, not just vague theories about it.

      Also, debit and credit card transactions will not be rounded up or down.

      I don’t understand why people are freaking out about this since gas prices have always been down to fractional amount per litre…currently 135.9 cents per litre here right now. These totals have always been rounded up or down after the amount is calculated to the nearest penny…it’s the same idea. Same thing with sales taxes…they would almost never come out to an even number with no fractions after the penny.

      • dusanmal says:

        Same idea, same scam: prices typically end in*9. Giving impression of “cheaper”. Added together it 6 times out of 10 can be rounded UP 4 out of 10 DOWN. Total – more likely UP.

        • NiktheElectrician says:

          but when you add a percentage based tax to it it cannot be fixed…also you cannot fix the number of items people choose to purchase…still not possible to rig

        • ± says:

          Wrong. .9 multiplied by 0 thru 9 yields 10 numbers ending with 0 thru 9, half of which get rounded down (0 .1 .2 .3 .4) and half of which get rounded up (.5 .6 .7 .8 .9).

          • jasontheodd says:

            not only possible, but rather easy….

            Method one: taxes are a fixed percent, if everything individually rounds up to whole number, total will also round up to whole number.

            Method two: round each item individually prior to total.

            Method three: have income tax subtracted from total on sellers end and sell at whatever price you wish, i.e. seller totals all sales at end of day and calculates total sales tax for biz. day as most movie theaters already do.

            Method four: Do it however the hell you like and laugh when the people accept it because they are more concerned by whatever pet political issue they have been pretending to actually believe in than the real issues that confront our nation…like why taxes are so damn high for so little return in the first place.

          • NiktheElectrician says:


            I’ll go thru the problems with each point you made one by one

            Method 1 – items do NOT individually round up…only the total which has a 50% chance of rounding down

            Method 2 – see Method 1, only the total after taxes of all items is rounded

            Method 3 – calculations after the fact, at the end of the day, cannot fix the prices higher at the POS for consumers

            Method 4 – agreed this is a small issue, and not important in the grand scheme of things, but sometime I wonder if commenters even bother to read the article, and not just make snap judgements after reading the headline

      • derf says:

        Also amounts paid by credit or debit card will still be charged the exact amount down to the cent, only cash payments will be rounded up.

  3. Cursor_ says:

    And so cries all the Scots in Canada.


    • Glenn E. says:

      There’s this old joke, that copper wire was invented by two Scotsmen fighting over a penny. They wouldn’t let go of their half. Get it?

      Just think of all the pre-1966 pennies that kids squished under train wheels, rolling over them. You can’t do that as well with later year pennies. Not so much soft copper in them. You can’t “squeeze the bad luck out of them”, and end up with a lucky charm in one piece (not split), that looks like a copper potato chip. A neat thing to have as a child. But who lives near train tracks anymore?

      BTW, if you still think “Trains Good, Planes Bad” isn’t true. See if a jet plane will make you a flattened copper good luck charm. Maybe if the plane happens to crash into a pile of pennies. But how would that make them “lucky”?

  4. Howard Beale says:

    so every thing on sale in Canada will be priced at $X.95 instead of 99

    when will we wise up and do the same pennies are a hassle

    • NiktheElectrician says:

      no…wrong…prices will still be by the cent on all items, and debit and credit card transactions will continue to be to the cent….only cash transactions will be rounded up or down, nothing will change…about time they did this

  5. Cap'nKangaroo says:

    “The cost for the United States Mint to produce and distribute the cent and nickel rose to their highest levels, and are now more than double the respective face values. For the fiscal year ending September 30, 2011, the unit cost for the cent was 2.41 cents and the cost for the nickel was 11.18 cents.”

    from Coin Update

  6. Glenn E. says:

    “Their use will become largely redundant, as companies and retailers have been told to begin rounding up sums to the nearest nickel…”

    We’ve known that this is possible. By virtue of product many manufacturers shrinking the standard sizes of things, rather than raising their prices, too sharply. The last straw for me, was the downsizing of toilet paper rolls, from the old 4.5″ width, to 4″ or less. And making the cardboard tube in the center, larger. Some store chains get their own custom sizes of products, so its prices seem lower than the grocery stores. So if all this product sizing manipulation is possible, to hide inflation. Then they can easily add a tiny bit product, to keep it “rounded” to the nearest nickel.

    But this is NOT why America holds onto the penny. Eliminating the penny, prevents to use of the “.99” trick. The psychological mind game of hiding the true cost of things, to the average person. Because the value “9” can not easily be processed by the brain. It’s more than five fingers, but not two hands full of fingers. So we never quite conceived of it properly, since childhood. Perhaps schools were told not to teach us this. A conspiracy? Wow!

    Most tend to see a “9” as a “0”. So a $1.99 item seems to only cost $1.00. Because we’d have to mentally round up the price, every time we see it. And often we can’t remember if we did this already, for something we remembered seeing. And a $0.99 priced item just doesn’t seem to cost a $1. So impulsively we’re more likely to buy it. So retaining the penny, helps retailers trick us into spending more. Because going to rounded amounts like $0.95 and $1.05, just won’t work as well.

    You may have noticed that all cash winning contests are ALWAYS stated in whole dollar amounts. Because they want to make damn sure there’s no confusion about that. But retail costs of even high end purchases, are stated in the xx99.99 range. Which is about .09% less than the whole dollar value. But retailers are willing to sacrifice this, because it fools the average shopper into thinking its 9 to 50 percent less. A $1999 price tag appears more like $1k than $2k, in our brains. That’s half of what it really costs. And $10,999 appears more like $10k, than $11k. That’s 9.1 percent less, than it really costs. And $29,999 looks more like $2k than $3k. That’s a $9,999 you were conned out of, because you were under pressure to buy it, before someone else does. And the someone else, was probably a dealer’s shill.

    So US retailers aren’t so easily going to allow Congress to phase out their sacred cow, the penny. You’d still see some big box store prices at $x9.95 without it. But the grocery and convenience stores would hurt the most, for the loss of the penny.

    Quite frankly, I’m sick of handling pocket change. I’d like to see a debit card, that stores and dispenses the value of coinage amounts. Allowing us to still use paper currency, but not need the metal coins to make up the difference. A coin debit card could hold up to $20 of value. Be converted to whole dollars any time. Recharged whenever near depletion. And used for snack machines and payphones. Cashiers or self-use debit card machines, could to this. And the lost of such a card would usually be no big deal, as it’s NOT a credit card, with our personal info on it. And usually represent only a $10 loss, on average. If that’s too much to loose, then keep only $5 of value on it. And be more careful!

    And BTW, yeah I know, Herman Cain’s “9-9-9” phrase. Why do think he used those numbers? Because as a former retail executive, he knew the deceptive use of “9”. So he’d protect the penny.

  7. StoogesThreeProducts says:

    > the unit cost for the cent was 2.41 cents

    Hey, we Canadians could sell the pennies we withdraw from circulation to you-all at a better price than that ! Even at 1 cent each, that’s probably less than we could get for scrap value, and think how much money you’d save. Dunno how well you’d like a picture of the Queen of England on your coins, however…

  8. Hiway Robbery says:

    The days of the $.99 app at the Apple App Store are numbered!

  9. NikElectric says:

    Digital transactions and debit/credit cards are still going be charged by the penny so prices aren’t going to change in iTunes or any other online service. Monetary values are not changing only the coin is not going to be produced. Only physical monetary transactions will be affected.

    • CrankyGeeksFan says:

      Eliminating all digits except 0 and 5 in the cents (or hundredths of a dollar) column for pricing calculations is the way that I’m looking at it.

      It’s another step towards a cashless society.

      In Florida, $30,000 worth of copper grounding straps were just stolen from a radio transmission tower.

      Income tax calculations in the U.S. are rounded to the nearest dollar.

      • NiktheElectrician says:

        but why would they eliminate the .04 they would lose from switching to .95 from .99? They won’t go to 1.00 because of the psychological effect of being .99.

        Besides, even if you try to make everything a multiple of .05, our percentage based sales tax would almost always muck it up making it no longer a multiple of 5.

        There is no way to fix this numerically in retailer’s favour. Nothing will change in pricing structures. Check out the guys rant above about the psychological impact of 9s in a price. Retailers are not going to give that up to maybe make an extra 2 or 3 cents…which i do not think is even possible.

        • CrankyGeeksFan says:

          The “5” will have to become the new “9”, I guess.

          Sales taxes might be trickier. Rates of .01, .05, .1, ….?

          Is a plastic penny, like the old video game tokens, possible?

  10. Gildersleeve says:

    Sorry folks, it’ll stay in one form or another. My first thought here was to run to Canada and gather as many pennies as possible for their collector’s value. But they’re probably are expecting a run on pennies for this reason. Look at all the pointless coins the US Mint stamps out that are either not circulated, or the less popular ones like the Sacagawea Dollar, or the State Quarters. These will be available for trade for the rest of the century and longer. What family doesn’t have a Eisenhower Dollar in its collection, or the Kennedy half Dollar?

  11. WmDE says:

    Visiting the web site in the Cap’n’s 7:51pm post shows that the US has lost money on the penny for the last 6 years.

    Why blame the penny?

    When you hold a penny in your hand you hold something that is worth at least its face value.

    The problem is that a US dollar is not worth one hundred pennies.

  12. Steve S says:

    That will never happen in the U.S. Pennies provide a vital service to the government. From The Simpsons episode “Who Shot Mr. Burns (Part Two)”:

    DNA Lab Guy: Ooh, nice eyelash. Yours?
    Police Chief Wiggum: No. We need to find out who it belonged to. We want a DNA test.
    DNA Lab Guy: Ooh, ooh, ee, ooh, ooh, that takes, uh, 8 to 10 weeks.
    Police Chief Wiggum: [sighs, hands him a carton of cigarettes]
    DNA Lab Guy: Did I say weeks? ‘Cause I meant seconds. [runs over to another machine, grabs a card from it; puts it in a computer]
    Police Chief Wiggum: What do you got, the whole town’s DNA on file?
    DNA Lab guy: Y’uh huh. If you’ve ever handled a penny, the government’s got your DNA. Why do you think they keep ’em in circulation?

  13. AlanB says:

    If I understand correctly, JC Penny, a large retailer in the US recently did away with pricing to the cent. It will be interesting to see if other large retailers follow suit.

    If the US does away with the cent it will likely be because large business drives it like they drive so much of what the govt does.

    The US public has not been particularly enamored with doing away with the cent but that may be changing. The biggest lobby against the discontinuation of the cent currently (as you can imagine) is the zinc industry. It will also be interesting which industry gets their way; retailers or zinc producers.

  14. Holdfast says:

    42 years ago, the UK changed its coinage. It moved from 240 pennies in the pound to 100 new ones in the same pound.

    From the point of counting, it made the sums easier – a bit like metric. For example, 1oo times 37 pence is 37 pounds. 100 times 37 old pence was 15 pounds 8 shillings and fourpence.

    It did have one widely predicted affect. It increased the minimum that prices could go up.
    For example, something priced at 5 shillings (60 old pennies) could be increased by a minimal 1 penny or 1.67%. When that changed to 25 pence the minimum increase was 4%.
    (I know there were half new pence but before, yhere were half old pennies and quarter ones as well so the effect was even more extreme. I just can’t be bothered to do the maths.

    A conspiracy theorist might wonder if those who consider themselves our masters benefit from increased inflation…

  15. deowll says:

    Military bases in Germany round off to the nearest nickle.

  16. c barber says:

    No worries about the App store or credit cards, they’ll still use penny pricing. This is just the first step to eliminate all cash…because ‘credit cards are so much more convenient….’

    • Glenn E. says:

      Actually I think they keep the burdensome coinage in use, just to encourage the use of credit and debit cards, in place of all currency. Otherwise the US would have phased out the penny by now, like others have. Either that, or it’s all about stupid, lame, political pandering to get votes. “The penny is truly an American icon, and I’ll save it if you vote for me”, scampaign promise.

  17. alexmor says:

    Canada has minted no pennies since last year, and now it has officially stopped circulating them as well. A similar move has been debated in the U.S. for more than 20 years, but a choice still remains in limbo.


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