France considers dropping two smallest denominations

A French government committee established last October to research reform across five key areas is considering withdrawing France’s one- and two-centime coins in the first step towards a zero-cash economy.

Known as the Comité d’Action Publique 2022, the group published a report earlier this year recommending the abolishment of France’s two smallest denominations. In the same report, the French committee also suggested halting the use of cash, cheques and stamps for tax and social security payments by 2020.

“We propose to gradually move towards a society without cash like Sweden,” reads the report.

“We could start in the short term by putting an end to the circulation of one- and two-cent coins.”

If the plan is approved, France would join Canada, which dropped its penny in 2013, as well as Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands and Belgium.

According to reports in the French press, it costs 1.2 cents to produce each one-centime coin.

CANADA’S CENTS

The Royal Canadian Mint stopped producing one-cent coins in May 2012 and stopped distributing them on Feb. 4, 2013.

Although Canada has no two-cent coin, an economic study published by Desjardins earlier this year looked at the future of the five-cent denomination, saying it “will seem less and less useful because of its low purchasing power, and because of what it costs consumers and businesses.”

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