Enough already! Time to kill off the five cent coin

Angus Kidman 7 November 2016

5Cent_Shutterstock

It's a waste of space - and a waste of money.

2016 saw Australia introduce a new $5 note. It is ridiculously ugly:

$5 note Australia

To atone for this global crime against good taste, there is only one thing to be done: we must finally kill off the five cent piece.

There is absolutely no point to this piece of pocket shrapnel. Most vending machines now won't accept them, so you can't dispose of them that way. Stores which accept cash are supposed to take them. Under RBA rules, you can rock up with up to $5 in loose non-gold coins.

Yet as we've noted before, retailers aren't strictly required to accept cash at all. And in reality, if you show up at a cafe with 100 of these space wasters, good luck having that accepted by your hipster barista. They're going to end up back in an overflowing jar in your house.

But the most important point is this: on current metal prices, it actually costs more to produce the five cent piece than the face value of the coin. In an era where cash as a payment method is declining while contactless payments continue to grow, this is a total waste of money, in every sense.

There was a glimmer of hope on this front last week. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull suggested he wouldn't be averse to seeing off this unloved numismatic nightmare. Asked about a Tasmanian Liberal proposal to dump it, he commented: "You don’t see them a lot any more, do you actually? It’s a fair point."

That noted, the gap between what Turnbull sees as good ideas and what he's actually prepared to execute on has been growing wider during his term as PM. Realistically, we're going to see the new $10 note appear before there's any sign of the five cent coin being confined to its rightful place in the rusted cash register of history. But a man can dream, can't he?

Angus Kidman's Findings column looks at new developments and research that help you save money, make wise decisions and enjoy your life more. It appears Monday through Friday on finder.com.au.

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