Little impact expected from penny’s demise

Change won’t affect credit card or debit purchases.

For Howard Kuenle, owner of Got Juiced in downtown Trail, the penny will always hold a special place in his heart.

After being a valued member of the Canadian economy for 155 years, the one-cent piece will officially retire next week.

“I will always save a penny,” he said. “Especially because I married one,” he joked and nodded to wife and co-owner Penny Kuenle.

On Feb. 4, the Royal Canadian Mint will no longer distribute the copper coin. In the 2012 economic action plan, the government announced it would phase out the penny to save taxpayer’s $11 million a year.

Elsewhere downtown, L’Bears Health Foods is uncertain if the discontinued currency will have any effect on business just yet.

“We haven’t talked about it much, but we’ll see how it affects us at the end of the day when cashing out,” said Amber Tadevic, employee of L’Bears.

“I was at my bank the other day and they hadn’t even heard anything about it yet,” she added.

The same can’t be said for the Trail branch of TD Canada Trust, as the bank has displayed posters explaining the demise of the penny to its customers for a few months now.

And for now, a penny saved will still be a penny earned, at least in the foreseeable future.

“Pennies will always be in currency,” said Joanne McQuarry, manager at the TD bank.

“We will always accept pennies,” she said. “In fact, we still see the old ones and twos (dollar bills).”

Unfortunately, doing away with the penny will not fuel any change for the price of gas, and motorists will continue seeing prices to the nearest one hundredth.

“No longer having a penny won’t affect the price of fuel,” said Brian O’Hearn, vice-president of the western division of the Canadian Fuel Association.  “At the till for cash transactions, we will round up or down.”

As pennies exit circulation, only cash payments or transactions will be affected.  The Government of Canada has adopted a rounding guideline that has been used successfully by other countries for its cash transactions with the public.   Cash purchases will be rounded either up or down, to the nearest five-cent increment.

Credit and debit cards, cheques and electronic transactions will continue to be settled to the cent.