This week, the Bank of Estonia (Eesti Pank) will start to issue new two-cent and 20-cent denomination coins dated to 2020 to cover the short-term demand from stores for small change. Two million two-cent coins, and 1.5 million 20-cent coins minted for 2020, have been produced by a Lithuanian-based mint.
The new coins will be available from the Omniva online shop from today and from the Eesti Pank Museum shop tomorrow. They are the same as earlier coins in design, but they have the minting year stamped as 2020.
An average of two truckloads of one and two-cent coins are brought to Estonia every year, the bank says, mainly because while these are issued as change in stores, the public tends not to re-use them, hoarding them at home or elsewhere, meaning circulation can be blocked and the coins often don't get returned to the central bank.
As a result, the central bank has started a discussion about introducing rounding-up (or down) regulations, which would apply when goods are paid for in cash at store registers.
The rounding up/down would be to the nearest 5 cents, under the plan.
Experience from other countries has shown that this does not raise prices overall, but it substantially reduces the need for one and two-cent coins, the bank says.
Card payments and other payment options would continue to make use of the listed store price.
While it would still be possible to pay with one- and two-cent coins under the proposed scheme, they would not be issued in change.
A Eurobarometer survey carried out last year showed that 71 percent of Estonian consumers support the idea of introducing rounding-off rules, the banks says.
Editor: Roberta Vaino