Question of the Day: Are the New $1 Coins a Good Idea?

Posted on 19. Feb, 2007 by in Saving & Investing

$1 Coins WashingtonNow that the new $1 coins are in circulation (and being sold for a premium on eBay), I thought I would ask the readers to weigh in on the usefulness of the new coins.

Personally, I think they have a certain “cool” factor to them, but in reality I would never use them. I hate carrying change in my pockets. But in Europe, for example, they’re used to carrying $1, $2, or even $5 coins with them – and even the guys carry a “change purse” for all of that change. Americans, however, are moving in the opposite direction. We don’t even carry cash anymore because everything can be bought with plastic.

Another thing to consider is the confusion that the new coins might cause. Reader Richard recently commented:

Merchants hated the $2 bills because they were odd; the registers were not setup for a stack of them; and checkout clerks too often accidentally accepted them as fives and made change accordingly.

Similarly, the customer learned to hate the $1 coin because it had the same instant look and feel as a quarter, and was often accidentally handed to checkout clerks as a quarter. Clerks readily accepted them as quarters. Customers had to be on their toes. The “mistakes” were good for clerks, but bad for customers. The same will be true with this new quarter-sized , quarter-shaped $1 coin.

So what do you think? Are the $1 coins a good idea, or just another waste of taxpayers’ money?

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3 Responses to “Question of the Day: Are the New $1 Coins a Good Idea?”

  1. Carey

    26. Feb, 2007

    Personally, with a certain bias, I’d prefer to see currency more in the opposite direction, towards credit/debit cards and whatnot.

    The only benefit I can really see for coins is that maybe it will cause people to pause and reflect a bit more before handing over that physical coin — you always notice the money being spent when it is shelled out physically, versus a quick swipe of a card.

    I have to agree with you though; I’ll never use them, and think most people are like us…so it was a waste of taxpayer money.

  2. Jason

    26. Feb, 2007

    Not really a waste of money…maybe. These coins that ultimately become a novelty are collected by coin collectors. The gov’t spends about %0.12 stamping them out (last I heard) and distributes them for $1. When they are taken out of circulation, the gov’t actually keeps the $0.88 as “profit”. If they do get used then they reduce the number of $1 bills that have to be printed. $1 bills last months while coins last decades. On the other hand, I don’t have a lot of cash transactions. Personally I would like to see all coins eliminated except $1 and dimes. That way we could round everything to 1/10 rather than 1/100 $. People won’t accept it as they feel that merchants will make everything round up like most gas stations still do (ie 2.339) The credit/debit card will make this irrelevant anyway.

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