People give their 2 cents on penny's demise

When the penny is officially removed from circulation next Monday, your thoughts might be the only thing the copper coin can still buy.
Come Feb. 4, copper coins will no longer be a part of the legal tender when paying cash for goods and services, or receiving change.

Next week, banks will stop distributing pennies and that has businesses scrambling to make sense of it all for their customers. 

Starting next Monday the Royal Canadian Mint will no longer distribute pennies. According to the mint's website, people will still be able to use pennies indefinitely for cash transactions with businesses that choose to accept them. 

"So as a result we’ll actually have to start rounding the transactions," said Tracey Clark, managing director of Bridgehead Coffee.

Though Clarke says Bridgehead won't change its listed prices, the cost of an item will be rounded up or down if customers pay by cash. But when they pay by credit or debit card — the price will be calculated to the exact cent. 

According to the Royal Canadian Mint's website, the government will be adopting a rounding guideline that has been used successfully by other countries. (Royal Canadian Mint)

"We're hanging on to our old prices because in reality there are significant number of transactions that happen that are credit and debit and those will continue to be denominated in exact amount," said Clark.

The mint's website states that only cash transactions will be affected by the change.

Customers in a downtown branch of the homegrown java franchise aren't going to lament the penny's demise. 

"The coin is just an extra weight in my pocket," said Brian Caines. "So (phasing it out) doesn’t bother me at all, I actually think it’s a wise idea."

Donna Henhoffer agrees.

"I'll be glad to get rid of it actually," Henhoffer said. "It does weigh you down and I don’t actually think there’s a need for it any more."

It costs 1.6 cents to make each penny, but some customers worry the phase out means they will no longer be able to penny pinch.

"I suspect it will always work in someone else's favour and not mine," said Geoff Rector.

While the Canadian Federation of Independent Business says merchants are nervous that customers will complain, federation spokesperson Corinne Pohlmann says if there's any debate about price, merchants will favour the customer. 

"They’re going to be very cautious about making sure that they’re rounding down when they’re supposed to round down and rounding up when they’re supposed to round up," said Pohlmann. "If anything they’re going to go to the side of rounding down in order to keep their customers happy."