No More Red Money!

Author : teriann

At the risk of revealing my age, I recently reminisced about going shopping and having one, two, five, ten and twenty dollar bills to spend. Of course back then those amounts of money could actually buy a lot of things.

I still remember taking a hundred dollars to the shop and getting quite a few items. The ever popular fast food treat the beef patty at one time was sold for $20.

Times Change

Fast forward to a few years and its much harder to imagine how those small denominations could have been used to buy anything at all! In fact they were changed to coins and soon hardly anyone remembers a time when we didn’t have them.

Items which originally cost $20 now have ballooned in some cases to several hundred dollars. In fact I am hard pressed to think of any item that costs less than $20 besides a mint ball or some other candy.

Red Money

Consumers are often not encouraged to pay for their purchases in coins. I have seen the look of annoyance on the faces of the cashiers at some establishments when coins are used by consumers as it is more time consuming to count. The coins which are the most unpopular are the ones who make up the lowest value of our currency. They are the one, ten and twenty-five cents.

Cashiers would offer them as change as there is a awkward calculation with the G.C.T (16.5%) that usually results in an odd number. Consumers were often not happy to collect all these cents with their change. Some consumers would throw them in their bags where they would remain and sometimes they would even refuse to take it. The coins could be seen being thrown out and if they fell out no one bothered to pick them up.  They simply were not worth the effort.

Recently it was announced that The Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) will soon demonetise the one, 10, and 25 cent coins.

What does this mean for consumers? Well the Bank will no longer be issuing these coins and eventually it will cease to become legal tender. The dollar therefore will be our lowest value of money.

What about the coins we still have?

What will this mean for those of us who have coins? Well the statement issued by the BOJ gives customers the opportunity to redeem the cash value for their coins at any banking institution. If you pay with a credit or debit card you will have no change to the nature of your transactions.  However when buying items for cash, the number will be rounded to the nearest dollar.

There is still some time before the announcement takes full effect. In the meantime, consumers are free to give and receive their coins. Of course they were never really wanted before so it’s hardly likely that anyone will miss them greatly. The system of rounding up to cost of the item the nearest dollar was already done in some establishments as it was often difficult at times to source the change that was required.

So are you ready to get rid of your coins? What’s your take on the issue?

Let me hear from you!

Teri Ann Renee Paisley

Gleaner online writer

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2 Responses to “No More Red Money!”

  1. Wanie says:

    If the rounding off of the amount is fair then there should not be an issue. Using the law of rounding in Math where the amount is less than 5 the amount remains e.g. 1500.43 the consumer pays 1500. However where the amount is over 5 then the amount is rounded up to the nearest 1.00 e.g. 1500.56 now becomes 1501. In such case no one loses in the end.

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