A “Penny for Your Thoughts” and “Two-Cents for Your Opinion” could be facing extinction as some Americans believe the penny coin is more of “pain-in-the-tuchus” in the face of a quickly rising “Cashless Society.”
The possibility of repricing a “Penny for Your Thoughts” and “Two-Cents for Your Opinion,” to a nickel or dime, respectively, is possible.
The U.S. Mint estimates each penny cost 1.5 cents to make and last year cost more than $50 million. The penny is the most expensive coin to make, relative to its face value, now hovering at 50% over face value.
But Americans’ support for keeping the penny in circulation has remained strong and steady over the last seven years. Polls have consistently found about two-thirds of Americans want to keep the penny in circulation.
American Common Cents
The Americans for Common Cents (ACC) notes strong support for the penny comes at a time when stores are experimenting with cashless payment. In response, some cities and states have passed laws to stop stores from refusing to accept cash and coins. Legislation in many US cities to allow customers to still use cash is rooted in historic barriers to credit and banking services for certain nonwhite consumers.
In a recent ACC poll 80% of African Americans and 70% of Hispanics support the continued circulation of the penny.
The poll also found strong penny support with those making less than $100,000 per year. Over 72% of Americans making under $50,000 want to keep the penny. Around 74% of Americans making between $50,000 and $100,000 want to keep the coin.
The ACC says particularly vulnerable parts of society, such as the elderly, immigrants, and homeless may not have a bank account and are more likely to still depend on physical money.
According to the federal government, around 25% of the population are either unbanked or under-banked, typically those with low incomes who lack the minimum balance to open checking and savings accounts.
British Favor Card Over Cash
Across the pond more than two in five British people are ready to completely give up using cash altogether if card payments were accepted everywhere. Mastercard figures show that 62% of Britons now prefer to pay with card or other forms of electronic payment than cash. And more than two-thirds of people (69%) say they use card or other electronic payment methods more often. Those aged 25 to 34 are most keen to stop using cash, with 62% saying they would pay only with card if it was universally accepted. More than half (53%) of people aged 16 to 24, and from 35 to 44, felt the same.