Over a fifth of Brits don't want to spend a penny

Over a fifth of Brits don't want to spend a penny

Just over a fifth (21%) of Brits say they would be happy to see the penny and 2p coins removed from circulation, leaving the 5p coin the lowest denomination in the UK.  

Research by Gocompare.com, showed 68 per cent of people empty their purses and pockets of copper coins rather than spending them or carrying them around. Only a third (32 per cent) surveyed said they make a deliberate effort to use small coins to pay for items, while 24 per cent use coppers in their everyday spending. Women (29 per cent) are more likely than men (18 per cent) to use 1p or 2p coins to pay for items in their day to day shopping.

Women are more likely than men to spend 1p or 2p coins

Young adults (aged 18 to 24) have the least affection for copper coins – with a third saying they would be happy if the 5p coin was the lowest value coin in circulation (21 per cent for all adults).  More than three times (18 per cent) as many 18 to 24 year olds never spend pennies or 2p coins than all adults (5 per cent).

The survey also revealed that 61 per cent of people drop any copper coins they receive into a savings or coin jar, with the average jar containing £15.40 worth of 1p and 2p coins. And 3 per cent of Brits have dropped copper coins in the bin (8 per cent for 18 to 24 year olds).

Commenting on the research findings, Matt Sanders, Gocompare.com’s money spokesperson, said; “Our survey suggests that for many people, especially young adults, copper coins have had their day. In a world of higher prices, plastic cards and contactless payments, copper coins seem increasingly worthless and irrelevant.”

Copper facts

  • The penny and 2p coin came into circulation in 1971 when a pint of milk cost 5p, a white sliced loaf 10p and 15p would buy you a pint of beer
  • 1p and 2p coins are only legal tender for any amount not exceeding 20p. So, you’ll contravene the Coinage Act 1971 if, in a single transaction, you try to pay for an item with more than twenty 1p coins or ten 2p coins.

Find out about the new coin released to mark the Queen's reign here.