Our habit for tap-and-go may mean bidding farewell to the humble 5-cent and 10-cent coins.
According to the chief executive of the Royal Australian Mint, Ross MacDiarmid, Australians are simply not finding much use for loose change anymore.
“People using coins now is something that is actually declining,” MacDiarmid told ABC Radio Melbourne.
Demand for coins has dropped by roughly 55 per cent in the last five years, and much of that was for silver coins.
“We've worked on the basis that somewhere in the next five to 10 years, the 5 cent coin will probably just cease to be used.”
And the 10 cent coin will likely go in the same direction, he said.
"Retailers more than likely would be the ones that would stimulate a decline in the demand for 5c pieces, because if you rounded up to 10 [cents] there's not really much need for a five."
“I think over time, they will die naturally.”
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Meanwhile, demand for $1 and $2 coins – and even the 20 cent piece – is still “reasonably strong”.
However, the 50 cent coin is “struggling along”. MacDiarmid claimed it was hampered by its overly large size that sees it denied by most vending machines.
“So that has got a bit of a special case as to why it's declining, perhaps at a faster rate than the 20 cent piece,” MacDiarmid said.
But, in the future, we might see a 50 cent coin that looks different to what we know it to be today.
“We are monitoring its use in circulation to see whether there's a need somewhere in the future for a different 50c piece to be produced,” he told ABC.
“It's not something we've necessarily raised with the government but it's something that perhaps could be raised in the future.”
However, a strength of the large coin is that it has more surface area, meaning it is well-suited for limited edition or collectable coins.
“It can depict an image in a way that some of the other coins can't.”
In December last year, Reserve Bank of Australia governor Philip Lowe signalled that cheques would soon die out.
“At some point it will be appropriate to wind up the cheque system, and that point is getting closer,” he said.
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