World Coins

Belgium makes rounding mandatory, limits use of small change in circulation

Belgium’s practice of rounding cash purchases to the nearest increment of 5, further decreasing use of 1- and 2-cent coins, is now mandatory, more than five years after a soft implementation of the practice began.

Images courtesy of the European Commission.

Belgium on Dec. 1 became the latest country in the eurozone where merchants are now mandated to round all cash purchases to the nearest increment of 5. 

Though rounding of purchases in Belgium has been common practice since Oct. 1, 2014, it was not mandatory until now. 

Rounding was implemented to reduce demand for the 1- and 2-cent coins, which cost more than face value to make, and which weigh down pockets and purses. 

Many examples are not recirculated, according to Belgium’s Economic Office, at

The 1- and 2-cent coins will continue to be legal tender. They will not be withdrawn from circulation, or lose their value.

Companies cannot refuse to take them in payment, provided that they are used in a reasonable quantity (maximum 50 coins per payment).

Similarly, consumers may not refuse the coins when received in change, up to the maximum amount.

In addition to Belgium, Finland, Ireland, and the Netherlands have discouraged use of the smallest coins and are also rounding to the nearest increment of five cents.

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