Today is the last day where pennies will be actively traded in commerce in Canada. That is to say they will no longer be given out by stores as change. What started in 1858, ends as of today, February 4, 2013, your bill at the register will be rounded up or rounded down to the nearest nickel.A $1.01 or $1.02 total will become $1.00. A $1.03 or $1.04 total will become $1.05. If you use a debit or credit machine, there will be no rounding – you will pay the exact total.
So what do you do with your pennies?
They are still legal tender in Canada. If you handed over 5 or 10 or 20 of them to a clerk, they would still be accepted the way they always have. The only thing that has changed is they won’t be as active in the economy. So the mint will no longer make pennies, and they will no longer be added to the currency stream.
You can take your pennies to the bank and cash them in. You can look for a local penny drive and donate them to charity. You can turn them into flooring for your kitchen. You can make works of art. Or, most likely, you can continue to hoard them.
That’s the reason the penny has been removed from Canada’s monetary system – most of us never used them in the first place. We’d stick them in big juice jars or piggy banks at home instead of having them weigh down our wallets.
So the penny is no longer a part of our plans to save and earn, but apart from the rounding of receipts, nothing has really changed with how the penny can be used.
Image via M Scheltgen